LAS VEGAS — After 10 days of basketball and 60 games, Summer League action came to a close Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas with just three games and a familiar face once again stealing the show.
Adam Morrison, who earlier in the week was heckled by a few fans, got nothing but cheers – and even a short-lived “M-V-P” chant – after he took over in his finale, scoring 26 points and hitting four 3-pointers to lead L.A. to a 92-77 win over the Celtics.
“I’m used to it,” Morrison said of the heckling. “For some reason, people see me as a polarizing figure. I don’t know what it is. I’m a nice guy, I’m not rude or anything like that. Some people just like to pick on me, which I understand. It’s their right. But I guess I did OK to keep ‘em quiet for a little while.”
Morrison did more than OK in his five days here. After Sunday’s performance, Morrison boosted his average to 20.0 points and 5.0 rebounds and shot 55 percent in 33 minutes per game. The All-Summer League Team was announced — without Morrison on the list — before Sunday’s game, but Morrison is just trying to show he still belongs in the league.
“To be honest with you, it’s all about pride really,” Morrison said. “Obviously I want to make it to the NBA, but I wanted to say that I gave it my best shot. If it doesn’t work out, I can turn the page and do something else with my life.”
LAS VEGAS — The last full day of seven games featured several returning players putting up big numbers.
Phoenix’s Markieff Morris wrapped up his solid showing, putting up 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Suns to a 96-87 win over the Grizzlies. Morris was 10-for-17 from the floor, hit a pair of 3s and looked like the best player on the floor, impressive considering Josh Selby did his thing again for the Grizzlies, scoring 23 points to maintain his scoring lead (27.5 ppg) over Damian Lillard (26.5 ppg).
Non-rookie of the day: Malcolm Thomas, Bulls. For the fourth straight game, the SDSU big man dominated the boards, pulling down 16 to go with 21 points in Chicago’s 77-74 win over the Clippers. Thomas is opening eyes in Vegas and should find himself on a roster this fall after spending most of last season bouncing around the D-League.
Other notables: Wes Johnson, Wolves. Minnesota’s swingman is looking confident with his shot and scored 28 points Saturday to increase his scoring average to 22.7 (fourth overall). “I just need to relax and play basketball the way I know how,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I’ve lost anything.” Jimmy Butler, Bulls. The second-year guard out of Marquette scored 23 points on 6-for-10 shooting. In four games, Butler has topped 20 points three times and is sixth overall in scoring at 20.8 points to go with 6.5 boards. His role could increase this season, so Chicago fans must love seeing these numbers.
Rookie of the day: Will Barton, Trail Blazers. Portland’s second-round pick (40th overall) has been overshadowed by the team’s two lottery picks (Lillard and Meyers Leonard) but has quietly been doing a little bit of everything. Saturday, though, with the Blazers resting their top players, Barton played all 40 minutes, scoring 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting. “I’m a role player, but when I get the opportunity to be the man, I take it,” Barton said.
Other notables: Jae Crowder, Mavericks. Crowder closed out his impressive showing with 21 points and six rebounds in Dallas’ 82-76 overtime win over San Antonio. Crowder, a second-round pick (34th overall) out of Marquette, finished with five-game averages of 16.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. Crowder could be a steal out of the second round. Kendall Marshall, Suns. The point guard taken 13th overall has looked terrible here, but closed out with his best game yet, scoring 15 points (on 6-for-10 shooting, 3-for-4 on 3s) and handing out 10 assists, giving him the overall lead in assists at 6.5 per game. Also, John Henson had another good game for the Bucks (22 and nine) in an 88-87 win over Boston.
Coming up: Summer League comes to an end Sunday with just three games on the slate. Two games will air live on NBA TV — Celtics-Clippers at 6 ET and Grizzlies-Wolves at 8 ET — while the Bulls-Bucks game will be shown on replay at 4 a.m. ET. The All-Summer League teams will be announced at the end of the day.
LAS VEGAS — For many, Sin City is all fun and games.
But for five sets of brothers, Summer League is a chance to reconnect.
Those brothers – Marcus and Markieff Morris, Austin and Jeremiah Rivers, Tyler and Luke Zeller, Klay and Mychel Thompson, and Cory and Devoe Joseph — are all on different teams, which means the siblings often have to make an extra effort to watch and support their brothers.
Devoe Joseph, who is trying to find a spot in the league, played for Toronto, where he and his brother Cory (who is in his second season with the Spurs) grew up.
“We’re pretty close, so this is like a little family vacation for us,” Devoe said. “He’s up there in the stands now. It’s nice having someone you know, someone that makes you feel more comfortable and can help me know what to expect. It was special.”
Jeremiah Rivers – older brother of Austin by four years — was a part of the Knicks’ summer league team, averaging 3.5 points in four games while trying to earn an invitation to a training camp. The chance to spend the week with family was a bonus.
“We’re spread all over the globe,” said Jeremiah, who played in Serbia before having surgery on both ankles in February. “So for everyone to come out – my brother, dad, mom, sister — It’s just good to share this as a family.”
LAS VEGAS – The Raptors’ top pick in the 2012 Draft admitted he was tired.
Still, after his five games in Las Vegas, Terrence Ross said he can’t wait to get back in the gym.
“I had to fight through some fatigue,” Ross said after scoring five point in just 17 minutes in his final Summer League game. “Now I know what I need to work on.”
Ross, taken with the No. 8 pick in the Draft, says he’ll travel back to Portland, Ore., and begin his preparations for his rookie season, focusing especially on his conditioning. The shooting guard out of Washington averaged 14.4 points in five games, but shot just 37.1 percent from the floor, admitting his shot suffered because of his tired legs.
“That’s a big part of being a shooting guard is fighting through adversity,” said Toronto coach Dwane Casey. “As a shooting guard, you’re getting bodied, you’re getting held, so you’ve got to be able to fight through that takes a lot of energy. He’s got to learn how to fight through that.”
LAS VEGAS — Adam Morrison looked like the Adam Morrison of old Wednesday night.
And as the player of few words put it, “the shots just went in.”
Morrison scored 23 points to help the Clippers to an 86-80 win over the Spurs, going 9-for-13 from the field (2-for-3 from beyond the arc) and was aggressive in both taking the ball to the hole and hitting the step-back jumpers that drew raves since his days at Gonzaga.
“I got it going, and guys did a good job passing me the ball,” said Morrison, who played 31 minutes for the second straight game in Las Vegas.
Morrison, trying to make a return to the NBA, latched on with the Brooklyn Nets in Orlando, averaging 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game. Here, though, he’s seeing more playing time and through two games is averaging 17.0 points and 5.0 rebounds.
“I’m just trying show people I can play,” Morrison said. “Move around, show them I’m healthy. We’ll see what happens.”
Non-rookie of the day:Tobias Harris enters his second season trying to find a spot in the Bucks’ rotation. The small forward made a nice case Wednesday, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the Bucks’ 78-75 loss to the Wizards. Other notables: Jimmy Butler scored 24 points with seven rebounds in the Bulls’ 96-88 loss to the Raptors, a night after putting up 25 and seven in a loss to Boston.
Rookie of the day: The nod goes to John Henson, the Bucks’ No 14 pick, who had 20 points and nine rebounds. Henson looked nice in the low post, controlling the boards and showing off some nice interior moves. Henson missed Milwaukee’s first game with the flu, so this was the NBA’s first look at the long big man out of UNC. Other notables: Houston’s Royce White had a double-double in his final game of Summer League, tallying 15 points and 10 rebounds. Other Rockets stood out in their win over Chicago: Terrence Jones had 17 points and nine rebounds, Jeremy Lamb scored 16, while undrafted point guard Scott Machado had 20 points and six assists. Raptors rookie Terrence Ross scored 21 in Toronto’s win, while Atlanta’s John Jenkins scored 21 in his finale for the Hawks in their 67-61 win over Dallas.
Coming up: Two teams wrap up their Las Vegas schedules Thursday: Raptors (4 p.m. ET vs. Knicks, NBA TV) and Kings (6:30 vs. Celtics, NBA TV). Two other games will be televised on NBA TV: Clippers-Lakers at 8:30 and Bobcats-Nuggets at 10:30. Also showing on NBA TV replay: Cavs-Wolves at 3 a.m. ET.
LAS VEGAS — Nolan Smith’s scary injury put a damper on a busy and exciting Day 5 on Tuesday. Portland’s second-year point guard had 27 points before being carried off on a stretcher with 42 seconds left in the Blazers’ 99-88 loss to the Rockets. Smith was fouled hard on a breakaway and remained down on the floor for several minutes before being taken off the court. Smith reportedly suffered a concussion, and the injury overshadowed Smith’s second straight solid performance, in which he was 10-for-16 from the floor with five rebounds and five assists.
Non-rookie of the day:Josh Selby of the Grizzlies lit up the scoreboard with 35 points on a 12-for-21 shooting night. Even more impressive were the seven steals Selby racked up. Selby had 20 points in Memphis’ Summer League opener and is making a strong case to take the minutes left by departing free agent O.J. Mayo. Other standouts: Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and eight rebounds, looking like a man among boys in the Spurs’ 92-81 win over the Lakers; Markieff Morris had 24 points and 17 rebounds in the Suns’ 89-74 loss to the Cavs; and Byron Mullens capped off the night by scoring 33 on 13-for-24 shooting (3-for-5 on 3s).
Rookie of the day: Several rookies shined Tuesday, including Portland’s Damian Lillard (27 points including 5-for-10 on 3-pointers) and Jeremy Lamb (23 points), but it was another Houston rookie who gets the nod. Terrence Jones, whom the Rockets took 18th from Kentucky, had 24 points and 12 rebounds while hitting 11 of 20 shots. Jones also matched up well with Portland’s rookie big man Meyers Leonard, doing a good job keeping him in check.
Coming up: Four games will be televised Wednesday on NBA TV: Bucks-Wizards at 4 p.m. ET, Kings-Raptors at 6:30, Hornets-Suns at 8:30, Warriors-Heat at 10:30. One game will be shown on delay: Hawks-Mavericks at 4 a.m. ET.
LAS VEGAS — Just because it’s Summer League, don’t think for a second The Manimal is taking it easy.
Kenneth Faried, who became a vital piece to the Nuggets in his rookie season, had 16 points and 15 rebounds to lead Denver to an 85-81 win over the Knicks on Tuesday afternoon.
“It doesn’t matter (that it’s Summer League),” Faried said. “It’s going to show guys that even the best player on the team can go out and still get down and dirty.”
And Faried definitely got down and dirty. Faried had five blocks and two steals in his 35 minutes of action, diving for loose balls, slapping the floor after a tumble and keeping balls alive with his hard work on the boards.
LAS VEGAS — If it’s not one Rockets rookie, it’s another.
Houston has a plethora of first-year players trying to break trough in Las Vegas.
So far, they’re all making their cases well.
Three Rockets are among the top 13 rookies in scoring through four days of action, which must make management happy as they try to take the franchise into a new era which potentially includes the addition of Dwight Howard. With the young players excelling, the pieces must look more and more enticing to Orlando, if Houston does decide to go that route.
No. 12 pick Jeremy Lamb is proving to be an even better scorer and slasher than advertised — and holds a top spot in the most recent Rookie Ladder — with a 20.3 point averaged on 51 percent shooting.
No. 18 pick Terrence Jones out of Kentucky has been a beast, averaging 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.
Houston’s Draft night pickup from 2011, Donatas Motiejunas, is proving to be quite the asset as well. Motiejunas has been up and down in the three games, but is averaging 15 points and 6.3 rebounds.
No. 16 pick Royce White, known for his versatility, nearly notched a triple-double in Monday’s victory over the Kings. White scored 11 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists in his best game of the summer.
White says it’s a quick learning process as he tries to adjust to the new level.
“It’s a different pace, a different length,” White said. “But it’s still based on the same principles, the same fundamentals. The coaches are just telling us to play hard and have fun. Sometimes I get too caught up with wanting to do well and the team doing well and we just need to have fun.”
When they’re playing like this, there’s plenty of fun to go around.
Vegas, Baby: Fans in Las Vegas apparently missed their Summer League action.
Saturday’s action at Cox Pavilion sold out midway through the day, with officials cutting off ticket sales for the day.
“This is the strongest start we’ve ever had,” said Gail Hunter, the NBA’s Sr. Vice President of Events. “Usually it builds, but we started really well.”
Hunter says the lack of a Summer League last year (due to the lockout) could be a reason for the increased excitement.
“There’s nothing like the intimate feel,” Hunter said. “The fact fans can see players in the stands and get so close to the game is so unique.”
Fans shouldn’t have a problem Sunday, with seven games throughout the day going simultaneously in both Thomas & Mack and Cox Pavilion. The arenas are connected and fans can alternate freely between the two venues.
Non-rookie of the day: Golden State’s Charles Jenkins was impressive, racking up 24 points on 9-for-12 shooting and had three steals in the Warriors’ 95-74 win over the Nuggets. “I love Charles’ game,” said teammate Klay Thompson, who had 17 points himself. “He’s one of the best mid-range shooters I’ve seen, and that’s no fabrication. He’s automatic and he’s developing into a great point guard. He’s gonna be a great player in this league for a long time.”
The first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas closed out a marathon day of hoops (Just ask Lang Whitaker, who was a trooper and blogged the whole thing for NBA.com). We got our first look at several lottery picks, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals to help the Bobcats blow out the Kings 121-87 in the nightcap. Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker was an animated backcourt for the Bobcats, bringing a lot of energy, laughing and clapping throughout the game. (This is what winning feels like, Kemba.)
Rookie of the day: Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets. The Rockets’ 2011 draft night acquisition scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his first action with the team. Motiejunas was aggressive and showed off his shooting touch, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
Non-rookie of the day: Klay Thompson, who came on in the second half of the season, scored 24 points to lead Golden State’s 90-50 dismantling of the Lakers. The second-year guard out of Washington State was 6-for-8 on 3-pointers and showed why the Warriors were willing to deal Monta Ellis to the Bucks last season.