Its the tenth day of the Long Beach Summer Pro League and the Washington Wizards upped the ante in their last game by playing Iron Man basketball. They only dressed 6 players which left only Scottie Pippen look-a-like Jon Rogers as the lone backup off the bench. Despite having 7 DNPs in the boxscore, the Wizards played some impressive basketball (shooting 53% overall), but couldnt overcome their lack of defense to win the game, ultimately losing 132-123 to the Los Angeles Lakers. After a cold start they rallied and led at the half, but fatigue kicked in on the defensive end allowing the Lakers to shoot a ridiculous 60% from the field for the game.
Andray Blatche Blatche scored 26 points on 7 of 12 shooting and went 3 of 4 from behind the arc. He also pulled down 10 boards (4 offensive) and hit 9 of 10 free throws. The downside was that he picked up 7 fouls for the second game in a row and turned the ball over 6 times. He led in transition on several occasions and went to his behind-the-back moves, impressing the crowds. He also threw a behind-the-back pass while on the break to Julian Terrell for a layup and foul, and on another play stole the outlet and threw a wrap-around pass to Cornelius Scooter McFadgon. He got juked pretty badly by Devin Green on one play allowing Green to get a dunk, and he stole the ball from Andrew Bynum only to have Andrew steal it right back on the other end. He also got called for a technical after hooking a guy on the offensive end. Despite these negatives, Blatche had a very nice game and it was fun to watch a guy his size handle the ball as well as he does at times.
Cornelius McFadgon Cornelius, or Scooter as they call him, had a monster game scoring 36 points on 14 of 23 shooting. He hung in the air catching a ball on a rebound and swung his arm around for a beautiful put-back finger-roll that had the crowd cheering. It was just a pretty play, and one you rarely see. He was 9 of 13 in the first half with an array of midrange shots between the college and NBA arcs. He hit a contested teardrop floater over Lakers big man Andrew Bynum and knocked down a 3 from just past the halfcourt line as the halftime buzzer sounded. Despite a predominantly Laker crowd, fans were cheering for him every time he got the ball with shouts of Scooter! and even a section of fans chanting MVP on several occasions. It was a great way to finish up his stint at the SPL this year.
Jermaine Walker Jermaine finished 9 of 18 from the field for 23 points, but his scoring came in bunches as he would catch fire and light it up. He shot numerous fadeaways and jumpers in the 18-22 range and was unstoppable when in the zone.
Andrew Bynum Bynum went 10-10 from the field today en route to 25 points. He also grabbed 11 boards, dished 3 assists and blocked 2 shots (one of which was a monster). With half the Wizards team sitting this one out, there was no one left to guard the seven-footer. Washington spent most of the game with 69 Julian Terrell and 611 Andray Blatche guarding Andrew and it showed as Bynum used his height and hops to score at will. If any of the Lakers outside of Farmar could throw a decent entry pass Bynum would have gone for 40. On one particularly nice play, Andrew jumped and deflected the ball from the right side of the hoop off the glass and then jumped backwards and caught it two-handed on the left side of the hoop for a put-back dunk. The competition wasnt very tough out there and he made the most of it, something coach Kurt Rambis echoed after the game. Rambis also mentioned that he foresees Bynum becoming not just a back-to-the-basket center, but also being able to face up from 10-15 with a reliable jumper; something he has not displayed thus far in Long Beach outside of warm-ups. After the game Andrew mentioned that Kareem Abdul-Jabar has been waiting for him to show his left-handed hook, but he hasnt gotten a chance yet and is hoping to show it off tomorrow.
Jordan Farmar Farmar looked much healthier today and was moving freely and without any noticeable sluggishness. It showed up on the stat sheet as well as he scored 16 points and dished 11 assists in 31 minutes of play. He threw a nice alley-oop to Bynum in transition, threw another oop off the backboard to Devin Green, spun off contact for a dish to Bynum for a dunk and tossed another nice pass to Green for a layup and And-1 opportunity. Offensively he hit a 10 baseline jumper, made a very athletic left-handed reverse layup while cutting on a pass from Kasib Powell, threw a 12 floating teardrop up while on the baseline and showed a nice running hook off the glass from a good distance outside the paint. Farmar was heard repeatedly telling players where to go in the offense and directing players to their proper positions. Hes done an excellent job this summer leading both on and off the floor, and the coaching staff has been impressed.
Devin Green Green scored 26 points today on a very impressive 12 of 14 shooting. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 4 assists. He slammed home a huge dunk in transition, showed his improved midrange game again between 18 and 20, and faked his man off the block and did a pretty step-through move to finger-roll it in. A very solid game from Green, something weve come to expect.
Marcus Slaughter Slaughter deserves a mention today for his continued hustle and underrated athleticism. Hes had numerous weakside blocks erased this summer due to careless fouls by the defenders, made a lot of impressive hangtime layups and dunks out of broken plays, and consistently worked the boards on both sides for extra possessions, all while defending 1-4 on switches and in transition. Slaughter has shown time and again that he deserves to be on an NBA roster this year. Although its unlikely hell make the Lakers as theyre scrambling to find spots as it is for Green, Wafer and Pinnock, he should make another team where he can get some time in the gym to bulk-up and improve his game.
Nile Murry For those of you on the Nile Murry Layup Watch: Nile went an impressive 2 of 6 today, scoring his first buckets since Day 4. Its also the first game he shot over 30%. Congratulations Nile! For those of you keeping track at home Murry has now upped his shooting percentage from 17% to 18%, since the last time we checked, going 7 of 38 so far this summer.