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NBA Summer League: Wednesday, July 17th

Denver 87 New Orleans 82

The Nuggets held on to beat New Orleans, led by Jordan Hamilton and Quincy Miller. Hamilton, who has played sparingly in his first two seasons in Denver, dropped 23 points (8-14 FG, 3-3 FT), and displayed a nice outside touch, hitting 4-7 from three. With Andre Iguodala gone, Hamilton has a chance to play himself into the rotation. Miller, another long wing, had 17 points (6-10 FG, 5-5 3Pt), and five boards. He’ll be worth keeping an eye on, but unfortunately Denver happens to have other long forwards that can shoot it.

For the Pelicans, Darius Miller showed his sweet stroke en route to 23 points (8-15 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 5-6 FT). Miller has been impressive throughout the summer, but will struggle to find consistent minutes behind newly acquired Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, as well as incumbents Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers, who tallied 16 points (5-14 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 5-7 FT).

Memphis 90 Washington 83

Tony Wroten and his 23 points, six assists, and four boards led the Grizz, while Jack Cooley put up a 20 and 12, displaying the same rebounding prowess that allowed him to average a double-double last season at Notre Dame. The Grizz, of course, like bruisers, and Cooley could make the squad if he continues to play blue-collar, hard-nosed ball.

For D.C., Jan Vesely continues to give reason for slight optimism with another efficient game from the field (15 points, 6-9 FG), in addition to grabbing nine boards. Chris Singleton, as expected, led the way with 16 points and five boards, while second-round pick Glen Rice Jr. needed 13 shots to get his 14 points, looking particularly unreliable from downtown. Still, the Wiz will give all three a chance to make an impact once camp opens up.

Sacramento 54 Minnesota 92

Sacramento had a rough go on Wednesday, with the great Will Clyburn being the only player to crack double figures (15 points, 5-9 FG) despite posting the worst plus/minus on the the team (-28, go figure). Notably ineffective was lottery-pick Ben McLemore, who continues his up-and-down debut week. After a bounce-back game on Tuesday, McLemore scored just one point in 21 minutes, shooting 0-8 from the field. It’s early, clearly, but he certainly has looked erratic and unpolished so far.

Shabazz Muhammad, on the other hand, had his first solid game for Minny, finally cracking double-digits with 17 points (6-10 FG, 2-4 FT), four boards, and displayed the ability to knock down the three, going 3 of 4 from distance. Obviously, the questions about Muhammad are more related to his ego and motor rather than talent, but it’s still promising to see him score in different ways, and he’ll be a much more productive player in Rick Adelman’s system if he can knock down the corner three.

Portland 70 Atlanta 69

For the second straight day, C.J. McCollum and Thomas Robinson, both of whom will factor into the team’s rotation and success this season, led Portland. The rookie, McCollum, threw in 19 points after scoring 27 on Tuesday. He’s only 13-29 in the two games, but summer league is more about showing off skills, rather than field goal percentage, considering how raw and unrehearsed the offenses are, and C.J. can clearly fill it up. He has as good a chance as any rookie to start and make an impact from day one. Robinson, a former no. 5 pick, continues to clean up the glass, notching 17 boards (and 13 points) after grabbing 18 on Tuesday. Robinson is on his third team in two calendar years, partially because of his tendency to play outside his game. His one elite skill, though, is rebounding, and if he continues to focus on that aspect of his game, he could tally great per-48 glass numbers.

Dennis Schroeder contributed 16 points (4-11 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 7-8 FT), five dimes, and three steals, and continues to look good this summer. He’s still raw, and wasn’t an efficient player in Europe, but has nice explosion, which will allow him to be tough on pick and rolls, get to the line, and wreak a little havoc on D. Could be a nice backup from the start.

Miami 113 New York 66

It’s hard to read much into a summer league game this lopsided, particularly with Miami’s balanced scoring, but Travis Leslie at least turned some heads. He added 23 points (9-13 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 4-7 FT) off the bench, although his playing time increased because of the score. Rookie James Ennis had 12 points in 13 minutes, and while none of these players are expected to play much for the champs this season, one of these competing wings could make the squad now that Mike Miller has been amnestied.

For the Knicks, with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert still out, Jeremy Tyler got some more minutes, and capitalized with 18 points and eight boards. Point guard Toure Murray, previously endorsed by Mike Woodson, was ineffective again, as was C.J. Leslie (four points, five turnovers). Without Hardaway and Shump, it’s fair to say this Vegas roster isn’t exactly bursting with potential.

L.A. Clippers 89 Dallas 95

Once again, it was target practice for rookie Reggie Bullock, who led the Clips with 20 points (8-15 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 3-6 FT). It wasn’t the most accurate day for the shooting guard, but everyone knows he can drain it, and many considered him to be the best shooter in the draft. In fact, it was more promising to see him accrue 20 points without his three-ball necessarily falling, as well as add five boards and four assists. He should be a nice fit off the bench this year, and will get his chances to heat up playing off Chris Paul and Darren Collison kick-outs.

Jackie Carmichael (23 points, 9-14 FG, nine boards), Josh Akognon (24 points, 6-9 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 8-8 FT), and Jae Crowder (18 points, five rebounds, five assists) pitched in for the Mavs on Wednesday. Of those three, though, Crowder is the one to pay attention to, as he figures to take a step forward this year and really factor into Rick Carlisle’s plans, if he can show some consistency.

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