Cavaliers vs. Trail Blazers
Final Score: Cavs 79 Portland 74
Halftime Score: Cleveland 45- Portland 43
Sebastian Telfair- Telfair looks healthy to me after sitting out the 2nd half of Portlands last game, and he is certainly playing like it here. He is once again the best player on the floor for either team. Telfair is getting into the lane whenever he pleases to either finish the play himself or find one of his teammates with a beautiful lob or bounce pass. His ball-handling and stutter steps are too much for his matchups (Gilchrist or Stepp) to handle, he gets by his man with his eyes closed, tucks the ball in like a running back and finger rolls it in with the greatest of ease. He was also stroking the ball very well from mid-range and behind the arc, which is huge for him considering that this was always his biggest weakness along with his size. If that wasnt enough, he is also playing fantastic on ball defense, getting in his mans chest, moving his feet quickly and letting his outstanding hands do the rest. Hes already picked Gilchrist and Stepps pockets a couple of times and taken it all the way for the basket. There isnt much more to say really, this kid is just the best PG you will find here in Vegas, and hes only 19 years old on top of that which is just flat out scary. You can tell that he wants to be great. Gilchrist tried to get into a pissing match with Telfair and challenged him possession after possession. I dont think I even need to hint at who won that one.
Telfair had a much tougher time in the 2nd half. Like many high school players, Telfair seems to have a tough time stringing together two straight consistent halves of intense and focused basketball. He was outsmarted time after time by the savvy Blake Stepp, forced into taking bad shots and make decisions, and had a tough time fighting through the screens that set up Stepp for the money ball three pointer.
Travis Outlaw- Outlaw rebounded a bit from two poor previous outings and seems to be finding a way to put the ball in the hoop and doing the other things that he does extremely well. He seems to have good chemistry with Telfair and started off the game emphatically with a superb finish on an alleyoop lob. He also did a good job knocking his shots down from outside at a decent clip and also really challenged a lot of shots around the rim.
Outlaw was very good in the 2nd half once again. He played almost the entire game for the Blazers and just doesnt seem to tire. If hes limiting his off-balance fadeaway jumpshots he is a really nice player. His skill set still needs to improve in a lot of areas, but hes got as big of an upside as anyone here in Vegas.
Martell Webster- Webster continues to fade as the week goes on. Everyone seems to have found out that all this kid can do is shoot right now, and therefore hes been extremely easy to shut down even by the weakest defenders here. Too often he just parks in the corner and waits for Telfair to create an open three for him. Thats just not going to work in the NBA, especially not when you are coming into the game billed as the #6 pick. Defensively he was murdered time after time by Luke Jackson, his average quickness was just too much for Webster to handle. Everytime Martell tried to put the ball on the floor he was completely exposed here. Hopefully things will go a little better for Webster in the 2nd half because he doesn't look like a top 10 pick at all.
Webster somehow managed to play even worse in the 2nd half, parking himself so far in the corner on every offense that he may as well have just sat down on the bench which was just a foot behind him. His defense was horrendous once again and he couldnt manage not to turn the ball over every time he tried to put the ball on the floor. Worst of all, Webster just didnt seem to care that much, jogging up and down the court and not putting much effort into anything he did today. Hopefully this was just a one time deal for Webster today because thats not going to cut it in the NBA playing under a coach like Nate McMillan.
Luke Jackson-From the looks of things Jackson may be back to his old self. The passing and overall decision making has come around in the last few games and Jacksons shot has started falling today. At the end of the 1st quarter Luke threw in an almost half court shot that tickled nothing but twine. Luke hit two threes with little effort and has been finding cutters all game long. He better take over at point guard in the second half because Telfair is killing the Cleveland backcourt.
Jackson tempered his own scoring enthusiasm in the 2nd half, but continued to show a point guards eye with his heads up passing. Jackson has total court vision, rarely forcing a pass thats not there, making many tough to complete dishes. Taking his perimeter shooting for granted, Jackson may be able to fill the roll of backup point guard for Cleveland this season, which would alleviate the need to trade him. Can play 3 positions on the court and has really captained his squad and kept them competitive with a tough Blazer team.
John Gilchrist-Got smoked by Telfair and was removed. Came back trying to challenge him in the 2nd quarter and got smoked again.
Gilchrist had an absymal 2nd half to cap off a very forgetable game as far as he is concerned.
Blake Stepp-Smoked by Telfair a couple of times, but has fought through it to put up a decent first half. Stepp continues to be deadly from the arc when his feet are set and knows how to read the court, but his handle and lack of athleticism was never more evident than when he has Telfair in front of him.
Blake really took it to Telfair in the 2nd half. Sebastian used his speed early to hurt Stepp, but Blake battled him with a bunch of different approaches and took the upper hand by the 4th quarter. Stepp backed off Telfair a bit and took jab steps at him to make Telfair think. On offense Blake used his teammates well and made about 4 threes in the half. Stepp also had some nice passes and coupled with Jackson to get his team the advantage.
Jeff Varem-Varem is playing solid defense again. He switched off onto Outlaw and made him miss for the first time in the game. Varem still hasnt displayed any type of perimeter or mid-range game, but hes quick to the basket and can handle the ball really well for a player of his bulk.
Olumide Oyedeji-Oyedeji continues to impress in this game. Though hes been solid all week the word is he just isnt a system player. Oyedejis had stints on Seattle and Atlanta, two teams in need of front court help, but hasnt produced in either. Despite the warnings weve heard about him, Oyedeji has produced every game weve seen and really exploded in this game, putting up a strong double-double. Hell most likely get a contract from someone off his performance here and it will be up to him to prove the naysayers wrong.
Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Final Score: Clippers 74 Kings 68
Halftime Score: Clippers 40 Kings 33.
Kevin Martin- Martin was settling almost exclusively for the outside jumper in the first half. This is not his strong point right now and it wasnt falling for him. He continued to rebound strong and play defense, and was again playing unselfishly. Martin was shooting 58% from the field before this game started, well see what his average ends up at if he keeps settling for fadeaways like he has so far in the 1st half.
Martin got minutes but didnt help himself out too much in the 2nd half either. You get the feeling like hes proven himself enough here this past week and is coasting a bit in this game here. Later on in the game we found out that Martin injured his arm and wasnt even supposed to be playing here today. He was held out of scrimmage yesterday and was questionable to participate in the game today. There were a couple of easy shots he missed around the basket that told you that something certainly wasnt right with him. He stepped aside and had no problem letting Garcia take over this game.
Francisco Garcia- Garcia on the other hand looks a lot better than he has in previous games for the Kings. His jumper was falling for him for once and he combined that with his trademark tough defense, getting in the passing lanes and even coming up with a couple of blocks.
Garcia continued to have his best game here so far. He was being very aggressive on both ends and was rewarded for that with good looks offensively and a few steals and blocked shots on the defensive end. He finished the game with around 20 points, although he was forcing things big time at the end trying to win the game all by himself. Garcia finished with 23 points on 9-19 shooting.
Chris Kaman-The book is out on Chris. Hes got all the moves, a nice shot, and great size. All Chris needs to do to be an impact center in the NBA is figure out when to do what. Kaman has hit the mid-range jumper, he has gone inside with some nice footwork, and hes blocked a few shots. I love his skillset and he is easily the best player on the court right now, but hes made no progress in his shot selection over the course of the week and needs to maximize his efficiency to impress me anymore.
Kaman had a very efficient 2nd half, too his credit. Kaman is dominating the boards in this game and will most likely finish around 15 or more for the game. His hands are very good and he looks like hes got a number of moves that hes worked very hard on. That may be the thing, Kaman often looks like hes decided what move he wants to do in advance of the play actually developing. While hes gotten to the line six times in this game he could have gone a lot more if hed use some more fakes to set up his defender. If Chris becomes more comfortable with NOT getting his shot off cleanly on every attempt and uses his strength and footwork to manufacture points hell be hard to stop. Has more ability than Brad Miller, just needs to put it together. He finished the game here with 28 points and 16 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Washington Wizards vs. Orlando Magic
Final Score: Wizards 73- Magic 65
Halftime Score: Washington Wizards 40- Orlando Magic 34
Donell Taylor- Taylor is having a nice little game for himself once again. He started off nailing the 18 footer from a couple different spots on the court, taking the ball strong to the basket and finishing, playing defense and even blocking a shot.
Taylor didnt do much in the 2nd half unfortunately, partially because of a lack of a minutes and partially because he just wasnt that good.
Peter John Ramos- Ramos showed some sparks here and there, but overall he is a pretty frustrating player to watch. His basketball IQ is low and he makes mistakes in almost everything he does. The problem is, the next time down the floor hell make an unbelievable move for a guy his size.
Hiram Fuller- Fuller has quietly had a pretty nice summer league for himself. He continued with that by having an excellent first half against the Magic. He was super active on the glass, he played good defense and blocked or challenged a number of shots, he used his athleticism and length on both ends of the floor and generally just did a good job down low for the Wizards.
Fuller finished with a double double thanks to his excellent effort in the paint and tenacity.
Andray Blatche- Blatche had another up and down game here today, showing a lot of the same things that he showed in the first few games, doing a lot of nice things from the perimeter but struggling a bit to maintain a consistent level of concentration throughout his time on the floor. He rebounded very well, though.
David Hawkins- Hawkins did more of the same of what weve been talking about him all along the week here, scoring in bundles, getting to the hoop with ease, playing defense and showing a great attitude and feel for the game. There isnt much more to say about him really.
Travis Diener-Diener has taken full advantage of Jameer Nelsons early retirement from the summer league. Diener has been hitting his outside shot with consistency and hasnt needed much space to do so. Travis has also displayed good control of the offense and has collected assists off of a variety of passes, both difficult and fundamental. Though slight of build, Diener hasnt been exposed on defense to any large degree. On offense, Travis has not had any trouble bringing the ball up against his opponents pressure. Best player for his team by a wide margin.
Diener was solid in the second half. He always puts the ball in a good position for his teammate to score in. Travis had a few really beautiful assists and even made some trips to the basket. Diener needs to add strength if hes going to be effective long term, but after starting the summer league off slow hes shown NBA potential in the last couple games.
Jerome Beasley-Jerome has had a pretty solid game for the most part. Beasleys shot is not falling for him in the first half, but his moves have been fluid and decisive despite being matched up against a variety of different sized defenders. Beasleys best attribute has been his rebounding. Jerome also was very vocal with his teammates and has tried to be a leader on the floor. Seems very active so far and is getting a long look now that Howard has left.
In the second half Jerome got his shot to fall a bit more, but all his moves to the hoop have been solid so its no surprise. Beasley rotated well defensively and really tried to get involved on both ends of the court.
Roger Mason Jr.-Roger really had his game working for him today. Masons outside shot was falling with regularity and his drives to the hoop were composed and effective. Roger doesnt really make anyone elses game better, but he showed judicious shot selection and moved the ball when he didnt see an opportunity. Good game for him.
New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls
Final Score: New York Knicks 79- Chicago Bulls 77
Halftime Score: New York Knicks 44- Chicago Bulls 37
Jonathan Givony and Eric Weiss
Eddie Basden- Was being a little bit more aggressive today on the offensive end, but not forcing things as usual. Basden knocked down a deep mid-range shot and took the ball strong to the basket in the first half, also rebounding strong and playing very good defense.
In the second half Eddie really upped his defensive intensity. Basden stripped at least two different Knick ball handlers and went in for a sweet finger roll where he hesitated at the cup, while in the air, to avoid the defense and then dropped the ball in with a delicate release. Some people are comparing him a young Bruce Bowen, and defensively it is a sound comparison, but if Eddie continues to explore his offensive game he could be much a much more dynamic player.
Basden must refine his perimeter shooting to take his game to the next level, but with his attitude and work ethic this shouldnt be a problem. Eddie will also have Ben Gordon as an example to work with and Gordons offense is a perfect compliment to Basdens defense and if the two hit it off they could really help develop one another.
Mario Austin- Austin was passing the ball extremely well once again, not forcing the issue one bit and always looking to make the right play rather than the play that would benefit his statline the most. He scored two very nice baskets in the first quarter and one in the 2nd, but for some reason did not get credit for it on the score sheet. He plays a little too laid back and under control for a competition like this.
Jared Reiner- You would never guess that Jared Reiner is one of the few players on this team with a full NBA season under his belt from the way he as been playing here, hes shown absolutely nothing on either end of the floor here in any of the games.
New York Knicks
Eric Weiss and Jonathan Givony
Channing Frye- Channing started the game off very strongly for his club, may have been the best player. Frye started the game off with a couple nice post moves, a hook shot with contact and a leaning one-hander. Frye has looked comfortable fighting for positon inside against the Bulls frontcourt and has grabbed a few solid rebounds.
Frye continued to play well in the 2nd half and probably had his best all around game here in Vegas. He ran the floor hard time after time and presented himself well for the pass and easy finish, dunking the ball with authority every time, which is great to see out of him. He had a couple of very strong moves around the basket to finish with his trademark jump hook shot, looking very confident and smooth in the process. Really looked solid outworking his opponent for rebounds down low.
Nate Robinson-Robinson has started this game off a bit out of control, as his 3 turnovers will attest. Still, Robinson continues to show off consistency from long range, hitting his only 3 attempt of the game.
A little more of the same from Robinson in the third quarter, making one good move and then neutralizing it by making a bad one the next time down. It wasnt a bad game for Nate here, just not as good as weve gotten used to seeing out of him in the amazing week hes had here so far. An alley-oop pass to Trevor Ariza was probably his most exciting play of the game, a far cry from the walking highlight reel we saw in the previous four games here. Still, Nate displayed his excellent court vision on more than one occasion and has a great touch on the spectacular pass as well as the simple. There is a growing consensus around here that Robinson may have gone much lower than his skill set warranted.
David Lee-Lee has gotten extended minutes at the small forward position in each of the last two games and has looked comfortable doing so. Despite a hesitance to shoot from the outside, Lee has made effortless trips to the basket against his opponent thanks to his nice handle and strong lateral movement. When David hasnt finished with power hes shown a soft touch around the basket, even switching hands and twisting his body to put himself in a position to finish. Lees court vision is a huge plus for a player his size and his ability to come across the lane for rebounds make him a valuable asset.
Lee continued to work his butt off for every second he was on the floor in the 2nd half, being extremely active off the ball and trying to help out as much as he could on the defensive end as a SF, where he is clearly a liability. He proved the scouting report wrong by knocking down a 20 footer from the baseline, but then came back and missed two free throws in a row. Really showed a great sense of spacing and decision making in the open court, as did most of his unit.
Trevor Ariza-Ariza has shown a lot of energy today. Hes been able to tip a few rebounds to himself over taller opponents and get the ball out in transition with speed.
The second half was similar to the first for Trevor. Ariza does everything well, although he doesnt stand out in any one area. Arizas got great length and shows nice vision, especially on the break where he can fill any role required to make the play happen.
Brent Wright- In limited minutes, Wright is putting together a nice little game for himself here. He hasn't done too much in Vegas so far, partially due to the fact that the Knicks aren't giving him minutes and partially due to the fact that he is being played at his NBA position, the three, rather than his true position, the four. Regardless, you can tell that this guy just knows how to play. He is strong, smart, skilled and willing to do whatever it takes to help his team out. He has great hands and feet and can do a little bit of everything out there on the court.
Jackie Butler-For all the Knicks fans who like this kid theres good news, Jackies better than he was last year and has worked to improve his conditioning. Always soft with the touch around the basket, Jackie really showed some nice passing both as a high post man and down on the box. Butlers range isnt extensive and he must continue to work on sculpting his body and increasing the speed of his decision making but, as a 20 year old with no high level experience, hes come a long way.
Accurecruit.com will have all of the Vegas Summer League games on their site for you to view. Right now there are select games along with a great free three minute highlight clip of some of the best plays seen in Vegas. Head over to Accurecruit.com's website and check out what they have to offer. On Tuesday, July 26th the entire Summer League will be up for you to view