By Alec Johnson
The Summer League is almost at an end, and tonight marks the first ever Las Vegas Summer League championship game, which will be contested by the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns. Before we get to that, let’s take a look at how we got to this point starting with the Mad Ants’ players and their teams involved in the consolation round on Friday.
Friday’s Consolation Round Games
New York Knicks (Tony Mitchell) 91, LA Clippers (JaJuan Johnson, Vernon Macklin) 80
The Knicks rounded up their NBA Summer League tournament with a win, led by a 20-point effort from Jeremy Tyler. Tony Mitchell also played a big part in the win with a 15-point effort, according to the NBA.com recap. An 11-4 start to the second quarter helped the Knicks establish a lead that they would hold onto for the rest of the game. LA’s Reggie Bullock led in scoring for all teams, scoring 22 points for the Clippers. Johnson added 4 points and Macklin added 2 of his own. New York finished 2-3 while the Clippers finished 1-4.
Memphis Grizzlies 91, Denver Nuggets (Luke Harangody) 84
Luke Harangody put up 17 points for the Nuggets on Friday, but it wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies downed the Nuggets to end the Summer League for both teams. The game was close until the fourth quarter, when the Grizzlies went on a 12-2 run late in the game to seal the win, according to the NBA.com recap. The Grizzlies were led in scoring by Gerald Robinson and Dante Greene, who each had 16 points to lead Memphis, who finished 2-4. Denver finished 1-5 in Summer League play.
Minnesota Timberwolves (Demetri McCamey) 72, Portland Trail Blazers 66
The T-Wolves managed to finish at .500 for the Summer League with a win over the Trail Blazers on Friday night. Despite giving up 25 points to the Blazers’ Terrell Harris, the T-Wolves managed to keep it close and took the lead for good on a Othyus Jeffers’ drive to the basket that resulted in a made basket and a free throw, according to the NBA.com recap. Leading the scoring for the T-Wolves was Lorenzo Brown, who scored 13 points and added 8 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Minnesota finished 2-3 for the Summer League, and Portland finished at 1-4. McCamey had no points in this game.
Charlotte Bobcats 85, D-League Select (Ron Howard) 75
The D-League’s perfect run came to an end Saturday night, as they lost to the Charlotte Bobcats, who had four players score in double digits. Leading the scoring for the Bobcats was Abdul Gaddy with 17, followed by 13 for Troy Daniels and 12 for both Jerome Dyson and Jamie Skeen, who also had 11 rebounds, according to the NBA.com recap. Elijah Millsap and Darnell Jackson each had 12 points to lead the D-League, and Kyle Weaver added 10 points as well. As for Ron Howard, he had 11 points and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Charlotte moved on to face the Warriors on Sunday in the semifinals and improved their record to 4-1 while the D-League finished their Summer League campaign at 4-1.
Golden State Warriors (Cameron Jones) 83, Los Angeles Lakers 77
It was the Kent Bazemore show in this contest, as he put up 26 points to lead the Warriors into the semifinals of the Summer League tournament. Down by 12 at one point, the Warriors fought back and remained perfect in Summer League play, according to the NBA.com recap. Cameron Jones also chipped in with 18 points, and Draymond Green scored 12 points and added 11 rebounds. The Warriors improved to 5-0 and advanced to play the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday night. As for the Lakers, they ended their campaign at 3-2.
As for the other two games, the Miami Heat defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, 82-76, and the Phoenix Suns defeated the Toronto Raptors 103-98 to advance. The Heat would end up playing the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.
Sunday’s Semifinal Games
Golden State Warriors (Cameron Jones) 75, Charlotte Bobcats 67
The Warriors advanced to the first ever NBA Summer League Championship Game with an eight-point win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Leading the way for Golden State was Cameron Jones with 16 points, followed by Draymond Green with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The win extended the Warriors’ win streak in Summer League play to 13 games, according to the NBA.com recap. Kent Bazemore also chipped in 13 points to help the Warriors’ efforts. Leading the scoring for the Bobcats were Troy Daniels and Brandon Triche with 13 points. Golden State advanced to play the Phoenix Suns in the championship game tonight. They remain perfect at 6-0.
Phoenix Suns 91. Miami Heat 89
As for the Suns, they defeated the Miami Heat 91-89 to advance to tonight’s championship game. They won with a 19-point effort from PJ Tucker, and the Morris brothers helped as well, with Marcus scoring 17 and Markieff scoring 10. As for the Heat, James Ennis scored 25 points and James Nunnally scored 24 points, according to the NBA.com recap. They dominated the second half, outscoring the Suns in both the third and fourth quarters, but it wasn’t enough to stop Phoenix, who also remained perfect at 6-0.
Championship Game Preview
It’s a battle of the unbeatens as the Warriors take on the Suns in the first NBA Summer League championship game, starting at 9 PM ET tonight. Both teams possess players who can score, the Warriors with Kent Bazemore, Draymond Green and Cameron Jones, and Phoenix with the Morris brothers, PJ Tucker, and Dionte Christmas. It should be a high-flying, offensive showdown, and I think it will come down to who can get more points in the paint and who can make the key plays at the right time. So tune in tonight, either on NBA TV or online at http://www.nba.com/summerleague.