2013 Las Vegas Summer League: What to watch on Day 9
The 2013 Las Vegas Summer League is here, and we've got the players and teams to watch for on Day 9. Here are the developing storylines.
The consolation day games have finished and we're left with a tournament of just eight teams remaining. In Friday's action, we saw a big scoring effort from Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings . He had the big dunk you see above and scored 19 points in the third quarter, finishing with 27 points and 9 rebounds in the Kings' only win of the summer. Austin Rivers had 23 points in a loss to cap off a very nice summer league week for him. Jeremy Tyler, Nate Wolters, Reggie Bullock, and Andrew Goudelock all broke the 20-point barrier for their final games.
Saturday, we're left with four games to determine which four teams play for a chance on Sunday to make the championship game. What are the big stories for the eight remaining teams at the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League? Let's discuss them:
4pm ET -- Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Is it possible this is part of the revenge Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert once promised when LeBron James left his franchise for South Beach? When James signed with the Miami Heat, Gilbert promised the fans of Cleveland that they would win a championship before James ever did. If the Cavaliers can win their next three games, they’ll be the Las Vegas Summer League champions well before LeBron James ever gets a chance to win one with the Heat.
As for the players in this game, Dion Waiters looked great scoring the ball in the past game. He went for 27 points on 12 of 23 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in the process. He stopped overpassing and got into a rhythm shooting the ball that opened up the lane for him. It will be interesting to see if the Heat put James Ennis on him to bother Waiters with lengthy defense. It would also be a great test to see how Ennis’ defense is against a scorer like Waiters.
6pm ET -- Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns
The Raptors may be shutting down Jonas Valanciunas for the rest of the summer league session, which puts the majority of the scoring onus on Terrence Ross . It would be interesting to see how Ross handles the load of both being a scorer and a playmaker for the Raptors in an environment like this. He’s struggled to make shots and his 3-point shot is really off right now. He also hasn’t had an assist in two games, so he could stand to be more aggressive with the ball.
If the Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris continue to play in the summer league, they could prove to be too formidable of a duo for many of the remaining teams, including Toronto. The Morris twins have combined for 25.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in their four games. Marcus Morris has struggled to make shots (35.1 percent) but Markieff Morris is making a blistering 58.3 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from downtown.
8pm ET -- Charlotte Hornets vs. D-League Select
It feels like the Bobcats have too much talent to fail in a game like this. If everybody from their summer league core ends up continuing to play, they’ll have four legitimate NBA rotation players in the game with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist , Jeff Taylor , Cody Zeller , and Bismack Biyombo . Taylor has dominated with his play almost every game and Zeller has done a great job of learning the ropes in his first summer league action. The Bobcats should win this game if everybody plays.
And yet, this D-League Select team has been slaying everybody in front of them. The term D-League Select gives people the connotation that they’re a worse team than the NBA teams out here, but the reality is the majority of players here are D-League quality. They’re as good as any other team here and they’ve proven that behind the play of Stefhon Hannah. He’s scoring 14.8 points per game on 54.8 percent from the field and has been leading them perfectly. Kyle Weaver, Elijah Millsap, Brian Butch, and Ron Howard have been really good supporting players and they’ve played tough defense as a unit. This team has done a great job of getting its players noticed this week by going 4-0.
10pm ET -- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors
Last summer, Josh Selby set the Thomas & Mack Center on fire with incredible scoring performances that made it look much more like a charity game effort from the defense. This summer, Selby has been nowhere to be seen. He's gone from earning co-MVP honors with Damian Lillard last summer to shooting just 18.2 percent from the field and averaging 2.5 points in 13.5 minutes. And with this matchup against the Warriors, it seems unlikely that Kent Bazemore would let him reignite the fire in his shooting stroke.
Bazemore sparked the comeback for the Golden State Warriors Thursday by dunking on Dallas Mavericks ' big man Jackie Carmichael. In the final 3:20 of the game, the Warriors went on a 17-2 run thanks to the defensive tone set by Bazemore and the monster dunk that woke up the team. The Warriors have now won 11 straight summer league games dating back to 2010. What does that mean exactly? Nothing really. But everybody loves a good streak.
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