By Drew Packham, NBA.com
LAS VEGAS – A rookie stole the show Thursday, taking over the scoring lead and proving his doubters wrong.
Point guard Damian Lillard, who many thought was a stretch for Portland with the No. 6 pick, scored 31 points (see more below) in the most captivating performance (and 84-78 win over Atlanta), and Kemba Walker finished off the night by leading the Bobcats to a 99-86 win over the Nuggets.
Walker scored 19 points with 10 assists and had his smile and swagger going in helping his ball-hawking Bobcats improve to 4-0 with the victory. Denver’s second-year swingman Jordan Hamilton continued his impressive play, putting up 21 points and nine rebounds in the setback.
Non-rookie of the day: Walker’s double-double was impressive, but for the second straight day Tobias Harris kept up his stellar play, notching another double-double (21 points, 12 rebounds) in Milwaukee’s 88-77 win over the D-League Select team. The Bucks’ sophomore looks polished and the big game follows his 24-point, 12-rebound showing on Wednesday. Other notables: Sacramento’s Jimmer Fredette closed out his five games with 19 points on just seven shots (4-for-7, 9-for-10 on FTs), while Lakers forward Christian Eyenga had 22 points to help L.A. get a win (its first) in its finale, beating the Clippers 75-69. Minnesota’s Derrick Williams also had a big game, scoring 23 points by getting to the line 16 times (making 11) to offset a 6-for-14 shooting night in the Wolves’ 75-68 win over Cleveland.
Rookie of the day: Lillard, Trail Blazers. The No. 6 overall pick continues to shine, putting up 31 points and seven assists in the Blazers’ 84-78 win over Atlanta. The Hawks had no answer for Lillard, who got to the rim at will and finished 11-for-22 from the floor. “I just want to win games,” said Lillard who says he always plays with a chip on his shoulder. “Not to say there aren’t real players here, but I know it’s a whole other level up in the NBA.” Other notables: Boston’s Dionte Christmas continued his solid Summer League, scoring 19 points with three steals in a loss to Sacramento, who got a double-double from Thomas Robinson. The KU product had his best game in Vegas with 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Kings’ finale.
Coming up: Four teams wrap up their Summer League action Friday: the Knicks, Cavs, Nuggets and Bobcats. Four games will be televised live on NBA TV: Knicks-Cavs at 4 p.m. ET, Grizzlies-Bobcats at 6:30, Bulls-Warriors at 8:30 and Mavs-Hornets at 10:30. Also showing on NBA TV replay: Nuggets-Blazers at 1 a.m. ET and Heat-Spurs at 4 a.m. ET.