Then there were eight.
The 2014 NBA Summer League tournament in Las Vegas is heading into the stretch run as we enter the quarterfinals, and the one-and-done format puts extra pressure on the prospects who are hoping to earn additional chances to impress front offices across the league.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Saturday’s schedule and broadcast information, as well as the game to watch.
Las Vegas Summer League Info
Watch: NBA TV
Stream: NBA Summer League Live (subscription required)
Where: Thomas & Mack Center; Las Vegas, Nevada
Bracket: An updated bracket can be found at NBA.com.
|Date||Matchup (*denotes live on NBA TV)||Time (PT)||Location|
|Sat., July 19||Charlotte Hornets vs. New York Knicks||1 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
|Sat., July 19||Atlanta Hawks vs. Houston Rockets||3 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
|Sat., July 19||Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls||5 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
|Sat., July 19||San Antonio Spurs vs. Washington Wizards||7 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
Game to Watch: Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls
The last time the Chicago Bulls had a dominant one-two punch that ran rampant through the league, they put six championship banners in the rafters.
Alright, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tony Snell and Doug McDermott have been nothing short of excellent during the summer league, but they aren’t exactly Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen dominating the '90s. This is just summer league after all.
Still, Chicago has been quite formidable in Vegas behind these two playmakers and earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Bulls have won all four of their games by double digits and have completely outclassed the competition through extended stretches.
In fact, they won back-to-back games against the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves to the tune of 103-76 and 107-73.
Snell has led the way with nightly averages of 20 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He is also connecting on 50 percent of his three-pointers and hasn’t had to give Joakim Noah a chest bump yet.
McDermott has held his own as well and posted nightly averages of 18 points, four rebounds and 2.8 assists through four games.
The Creighton product has drilled 44.4 percent of his threes and 95.7 percent of his free throws as well. If he is that automatic from the charity stripe when the regular season rolls around, the Bulls will win a lot of close games down the stretch.
The team as a whole is lighting it up from downtown and has made 47 of its 103 attempts.
The Bulls need offense this season, and it has to be encouraging that their two young players are hitting their stride in Las Vegas. McDermott spoke about what he can do, per Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago:
I feel like that's my biggest strength right now. I feel like I'm trying to add things to my game every day. I feel like I'm a lot more than a shooter. I think I'm a complete player, and having a coach like Tom Thibodeau, he's only going to help me.
McDermott and the Bulls have been more impressive than any team in Vegas thus far, but don’t overlook the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings earned the No. 8 seed and quietly racked up three wins in four tries. They have won three straight after their initial loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Leading the way in the scoring department is Kansas product Ben McLemore with 15.5 points a night. As the team’s Twitter page noted, he has been in the right mindset in Vegas:
"I had the mindset to just go out there and play, have the game come to me and have fun." - @BenMcLemore— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) July 17, 2014
Despite McLemore’s play, many eyes are glued to No. 8 pick Nik Stauskas whenever the Kings take the floor.
He is averaging 10.8 points, 2.8 assists and two rebounds a night and, most importantly, has connected on 50 percent of his shots from downtown.
There is plenty of pressure on the Michigan product's shoulders after hearing his name called so early on draft day. Thus far, he has been solid enough in the summer league, and he could ultimately compete for a starting job once the season approaches.
If Chicago hopes to continue its impressive play in the summer league, it will have to contain these two in the backcourt.