Countless young stars are looking to emerge at the Las Vegas Summer League, but just 16 teams will remain after the Day 6 slate.
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum and T.J. Warren have already lit up Las Vegas but still hope to continue their great summers.
Eight games took place on Day 6, with a chance to advance in every one. As some of the best young players put it all on the line, NBA fans caught a glimpse of what the future might hold for the league.
Below is a look at every game as it happened and a breakdown of each during the Vegas tournament.
|Matchup||Score/Time (ET)||High Scorer|
|Timberwolves vs. Suns||Timberwolves, 86-77||T.J. Warren, 26 pts|
|Hornets vs. Mavericks||Hornets, 82-81||P.J. Hairston, 18 pts|
|Hawks vs. Warriors||Hawks, 68-65||Dennis Schroder, 17 pts|
|Bucks vs. Spurs||Spurs, 100-71||Giannis Antetokounmpo, 20 pts|
|Clippers vs. Heat||Heat, 96-87||Justin Hamilton, 18 points|
|Raptors vs. Rockets||Rockets, 93-77||Donatas Motiejunas and Isaiah Canaan, 18 pts|
|Nuggets vs. D-League Select||D-League, 87-75||Tony Mitchell, 26 points|
|Lakers vs. 76ers||76ers, 85-63||Sean Kilpatrick and Elijah Millsap, 19 points|
|New York Knicks||3||0|
|San Antonio Spurs||3||1|
|Portland Trail Blazers||2||1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||2||1|
|Golden State Warriors||2||2|
|Los Angeles Clippers||1||3|
|NBA D-League Select||2||2|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1||3|
Recaps and Highlights
Minnesota Timberwolves 86, Phoenix Suns 77
The first big surprise of the Vegas tournament was a huge one.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, who haven't won a contest during the summer, overcame a first-quarter deficit to down the Phoenix Suns. Led by first-round pick Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng, the T-Wolves advanced to the next round of the tournament with an 86-77 win over the Suns.
LaVine finished with 20 points while Dieng contributed an additional 13 points and 19 rebounds.
As for LaVine, the former UCLA player is already making his mark during the Summer League. The 19-year-old came in with supreme athleticism and has proven he can translate that into points against other young NBA players.
LaVine showed off that athletic ability in the fourth quarter against the Suns with this emphatic throwdown.
While the Suns' efforts in Vegas fell short in the first round of the tournament, several young stars showed up on Wednesday. Warren tallied 26 points for his third 20-plus point game out of four during Summer League action. He shot 11-of-18 from the field in just under 30 minutes of action.
The former N.C. State forward was sensational for Phoenix and should be a crucial piece this coming season. Suns Summer League coach Mike Longabardi spoke about Warren's performance this summer, per Kurt Helin of NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk:
He’s got (scoring) down, that midrange (jumper). He’s got a good instinct for the ball, he got a couple rebounds. And he really does well in transition, we get the rebound… and advance it to him and he’s great. [...]
We knew what we were getting when we drafted him—a scorer.
Warren also had a highlight play during the game, putting up a ridiculous shot in the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves advance to face the Sacramento Kings in the next round. Sacramento has also put together a strong summer season, but Minnesota has momentum after a win against Phoenix.
Charlotte Hornets 82, Dallas Mavericks 81
It was already a great day for the Charlotte Hornets, but it got even better in Vegas.
Charlotte fans learned the team reportedly signed Lance Stephenson away from the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday morning, per ESPN's Chris Broussard. Later on, the Hornets' young talent showed up in an 82-81 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks.
The biggest shot of the afternoon came from an unlikely player as backup point guard Roberto Nelson knocked down a buzzer-beater to win the game.
Nelson finished the game 3-of-5 from three-point range to finish with 11 points, but also turned it over five times. As for the team's two first-round picks, P.J. Hairston and Noah Vonleh contributed 18 and 14 points, respectively. Vonleh also added 10 rebounds
Hairston had a forgettable shooting day (4-of-18), but made his mark from the free-throw line going 8-of 9. Vonleh completed the double-double, but also had a memorable block on Wednesday and two blocks total.
For the Mavericks, guard Gal Mekel put up 17 points and six assists to lead his team to the next round. Along with Mekel, Chris Goulding and Bernard James combined for an additional 24 points (12 points each on 4-of-9 shooting) as the only other Dallas players to register double-digit points.
Goulding was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while James was 4-of-6 from the line.
Mekel had a good day all together, but came up short at the line late in the game to give the Hornets a chance. The NBA's Twitter account provides another look at the final shot for Nelson:
The Hornets now advance to face a New Orleans Pelicans team that comes in as the No. 7 seed. With two lower seeds already advancing out of the Summer League tournament thus far, Day 6 in Las Vegas is already shaping up to be an exciting one.
Atlanta Hawks 68, Golden State Warriors 65
Through three games in the Vegas tournament, all three of the higher-seeded franchises bowed out.
Despite a strong fourth quarter that pulled them within three points at the end of the game, the Golden State Warriors fell to the Atlanta Hawks, 68-65. Golden State outscored Atlanta in the final frame, 17-8, but it wasn't quite enough to advance.
Atlanta had four different players in double digits, including starters Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala, who combined for 31 points on 4-of-8 from three-point range. The NBA points out how first-round pick Adreian Payne fared in the contest:
The Hawks also got good production from their bench, with Trevor Releford shooting 4-of-6 from the field and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe to finish with 14 points.
Despite out-rebounding the Hawks, 40-28, the Warriors were ultimately undone by poor shooting as they finished with a 36.5 team shooting percentage. While Atlanta wasn't much better (38.3 percent), it went 9-of-25 from beyond the arc to clinch the win.
The lone highlight for Golden State came in the form of an early dunk from James Michael McAdoo, who took an inbounds pass for a huge slam.
McAdoo finished 3-of-4 from the floor, but went just 2-of-8 from the free-throw line. Teammates Justin Holiday and Nemanja Nedovic made a big impact with 15 and 14 points, respectively, but combined to go 10-of-25 from the floor.
Atlanta advances to take on the No. 6 seed Portland Trail Blazers in the next round. With C.J. McCollum shooting the lights out lately—he scored 28 points on Tuesday—the Hawks will have their hands full with the now healthy star.
San Antonio Spurs 100, Milwaukee Bucks 71
Houston, er, San Antonio, we have a blowout.
Following a day filled with close contests, including a buzzer-beating nail-biter, the San Antonio Spurs' young talent shined in a massive 100-71 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. It looks as if the San Antonio youth is following the precedent this year's championship squad set to a T.
Steady, well-rounded scoring guided the Spurs to the decisive victory, but it was Kyle Anderson who paced the team with 14 points. The former UCLA Bruin shined much like Zach LaVine, going 4-of-9 from the field, hitting two threes and sinking 4-of-4 from the line.
Watching Anderson get his made Dan Favale of Bleacher Report wonder if the Spurs have an unfair advantage:
Watching Kyle Anderson, I’m officially convinced life—not just the NBA, but life—is rigged so the Spurs can do no wrong.— Dan Favale (@danfavale) July 17, 2014
The reigning NBA champions also got welcome contributions from Vander Blue (12 points) and Marcus Denmon (11) off the bench as the only other players in double digits. San Antonio out-rebounded Milwaukee, 37-28, and shot 89.5 percent from the charity stripe, compared to 66.7 percent for the Bucks.
It wasn't all bad for Milwaukee, though, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker combined for 36 points and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, they also tallied a combined 13 turnovers, more than the Spurs had collectively.
With young talent will sometimes come mistakes, but both the Greek Freak and the former Duke forward will embrace their roles as the go-to guys in Milwaukee this season.
For the Spurs, it looks like their tournament run will continue with a date against the Utah Jazz on Thursday. The flashy trio of Trey Burke, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum will be on the court for Utah looking to build upon what's been a great summer thus far.
Though it likely would be a blowout in the regular season, expect a great showdown between the Spurs and Jazz on Day 7 in Las Vegas.
Miami Heat 96, Los Angeles Clippers 87
The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers treated fans to the type of back-and-forth affair that many expected in the tournament portion of summer league ball.
In fact, there were five ties in the opening two quarters alone and eight lead changes. Appropriately, the contest was tied at 41 at intermission.
Miami gradually opened up a lead in the second half and enjoyed an 11-point advantage in the fourth quarter before eventually winning by nine. Shabazz Napier may be the player that most people have their eyes on when Miami laces it up in the summer league, but he did not play against the Clippers Wednesday.
Instead, it was a balanced attack that earned the victory. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel pointed out just how many Heat players got in on the scoring action:
Heat 96, Clippers 87 in Vegas summer league. Justin Hamilton with 18 points on 8 of 12. Larry Drew 10 assists, Tyler Honeycutt 15 rebounds.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) July 17, 2014
Justin Hamilton turned some heads with 18 points for Miami, while Keith Benson led the way for the Clippers on the losing side with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Miami will look to get some more of that balanced scoring Thursday when it goes up against the No. 4 seed Washington Wizards in the next round.
Houston Rockets 93, Toronto Raptors 77
Somebody forgot to tell the Toronto Raptors that halftime was over in their 93-77 loss to the Houston Rockets Wednesday.
Let Jaryd Wilson, the social media coordinator for the Atlanta Hawks, describe the action:
Just watched the Rockets beat the Raptors 27-5 in the third quarter. And they're still losing. #NBASummerLeague— Jaryd Wilson (@JarydWilson) July 17, 2014
That’s right, the Rockets outscored the Raptors 27-5 in the third quarter and were still losing heading into the final quarter. That’s because the Toronto completely dominated the first half to the tune of 56-30.
However, Houston continued its impressive play in the final quarter and outscored Toronto 36-16 to walk away with a 93-77 victory. To call it a tale of two halves would be a complete understatement.
Houston had five players finish in double figures in the scoring department. Isaiah Canaan and Donatas Motiejunas led the way with 18 points each, while Andre Dawkins added 13 and Nick Johnson and Robert Covington scored 12 apiece.
As for the Raptors, Dwight Buycks poured in 24 points but also turned the ball over eight times.
NBA D-League Select 87, Denver Nuggets 75
So would this be the NBA equivalent of the junior varsity team upsetting the varsity squad in a high school scrimmage?
The NBA D-League Select ignored the Denver Nuggets designation on the front of their opponents’ jersey and went to work Wednesday. They held off every charge from Denver and held on to win 87-75.
Denver cut into the lead and only trailed by five heading into the final quarter, but the D-League Select controlled the last 10 minutes and won by double digits. Tony Mitchell led the way with an incredible performance. He finished with 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting and found the basket almost every single time his team needed a big play.
The NBA D-League made sure to give the game’s best player a shout out and also recognized Kevin Jones for his performance off the bench:
Stretch big man @KevJones5 has been huge off the bench. 19 points on 8/10 shooting as our Select squad is up 8 with 4:32 remaining v. DEN— NBA D-League (@nbadleague) July 17, 2014
The Denver Nuggets were outplayed by Mitchell and company, but they did receive solid showings from Gary Harris and Erick Green. Green led the team with 17 points, while Harris tallied 15 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds.
Philadelphia 76ers 85, Los Angeles Lakers 63
The game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers was close for a while. Then the second quarter started.
The 76ers outscored the Lakers 32-10 in that decisive second quarter and eventually won 85-63. It was never in doubt after intermission, although Los Angeles did play better in the third quarter before ultimately folding in the fourth.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Philadelphia’s dominating win was the fact that it did so without any minutes from Nerlens Noel or Jordan McRae. Noel has been incredible during much of the summer league action, particularly on defense, but he got the day off.
Instead, Sean Kilpatrick and Elijah Millsap led the way for the 76ers with 19 points apiece. Both came off the bench and likely turned some heads with their performances.
As for the losing Lakers, Julius Randle scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds but shot less than 50 percent from the field and turned it over three times. Kevin Murphy also scored 12 points but he turned it over four times.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: