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If the rest of the bracket play at the 2018 NBA Summer League is anything like the first day of action on Wednesday night, Las Vegas will be the site for plenty of must-see basketball.
Players like Trae Young and Collin Sexton used the opening day of the playoffs as their own personal showcases. Sexton’s 25 points and seven assists led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 96-84 victory over the Sacramento Kings, and Young’s 23 points and eight assists led the Atlanta Hawks to a 107-101 come-from-behind win over the Indiana Pacers.
In addition to the Cavs and Hawks, the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors will be moving on to the round of 16.
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Thursday will see the likes of Kevin Knox and the New York Knicks face the Boston Celtics and DeAndre Ayton’s Phoenix Suns take on the Philadelphia 76ers.
There are eight games on Thursday’s schedule, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for this year’s crop of rookies to light up Sin City and put the rest of the league on notice that they are coming.
Here are the Summer League stat leaders.
Points: John Collins, Atlanta Hawks (24.0)
Rebounds: Amile Jefferson, Minnesota Timberwolves (13.5)
Assists: Wade Baldwin IV, Portland Trailblazers (8.0)
Steals: Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks (3.0)
Blocks: Zach Collins, Portland Trailblazers (4.0)
For complete summer league stats, head to NBA.com.
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Thursday Schedule (tournament seeds in parentheses)
Miami Heat (26) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (7),4 p.m. ET
New York Knicks (23) vs. Boston Celtics (10), 4:30 p.m. ET
Memphis Grizzlies (27) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (6), 6 p.m. ET
Philadelphia 76ers (30) vs. Phoenix Suns (3), 6:30 p.m. ET
San Antonio Spurs (19) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (14), 8 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Clippers (17) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (1), 8:30 p.m. ET
Utah Jazz (22) vs. Orlando Magic (11), 10 p.m. ET
Atlanta Hawks (18) vs. Portland Trailblazers (2), 10:30 p.m. ET
Bracket view can be seen here.
It was all about the guards on Wednesday.
First, it was Collin Sexton lighting up the Kings with an array of crafty moves to the basket, and-1s and floaters for another strong showing for the Cavs.
Then it was Trae Young, helping his Hawks rally from a 27-point deficit to defeat the Pacers. He rattled off three-pointers, floaters and executed pristine drive-and-kicks to put on a show for Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was sitting courtside.
Young’s big night came on the heels of his breakout performance on Tuesday night, when he showed off his range from deep, draining 7-of-13 from behind the arc. It was a welcome sight for Hawks fans after watching him go 6-of-35 on long balls before his matchup against the Bulls.
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Chicago’s Antonio Blakeney went off for 28 points and four assists in a 95-83 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Wendell Carter Jr. added 19 points and nine rebounds, while Chandler Hutchinson poured in 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulls’ balanced attack really bodes well for their youth movement this upcoming season.
OG Anunoby was the high scorer for the Toronto Raptors. The second-year wing helped Toronto, who trailed the Denver Nuggets by as much as 12 in the third, rebound to an 85-77 win with a game-high 22 points and four rebounds.
It was a low-scoring game between the Detroit Pistons and the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the all-around play of the Pistons’ second-round pick Bruce Brown was a bright spot. The rookie out of Miami finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals.
The Golden State Warriors may be the talk of the league with the signing of DeMarcus Cousins, but they were blown out in Vegas by the Charlotte Hornets. Led by Willy Hernangomez’s 18 points and 13 rebounds, the Hornets stung the Warriors with an 87-69 win.
Rounding out the night was the Houston Rockets’ Zhou Qi, who led the way to a 109-102 win over the Brooklyn Nets with 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. If Qi continues to improve, he may be able to play his way into some of the minutes left open with the departures of Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza.