Brooklyn Nets Summer League: Nets 88, Wizards 85
Rookie Claxton and point guard Gray combine for 31 points, 15 rebounds
LAS VEGAS — The thing Josh Gray was worried about after the Brooklyn Nets beat the Washington Wizards 88-85 Monday afternoon in NBA Summer League action at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center was that he had scored a little too much.
The point guard led Brooklyn with 19 points in the win that improved their record to 2-1 and kept them in the mix for a spot in the eight-team championship tournament with one preliminary game remaining.
It’s not what he actually came here to do.
“My goal was to come in and show these GMs and scouts that they could trust me with their unit on the third string,” said Gray. “Come in, be a floor general, run my unit, take care of the ball and make the right plays. That’s what’s going to get me a job, and that’s more realistic instead of trying to go out there and score 30 points.”
Gray added eight rebounds against Washington and also had five boards against Dallas on Friday, showing an ability to rebound above his 6-foot-1 height. And he shot well against the Wizards — 6-for-12 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line on aggressive drives to the rim.
The former LSU star played two seasons in the G League and a pair of 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns before playing last season in Korea. He’s started all three games and played more minutes than any other non-roster player here with the Nets by far.
“He’s just stable,” said coach Adam Harrington. “He’s obviously a little older, played professional basketball. So that was one of the reasons we really wanted him on the team, was obviously we’re giving him a great look but he would bring stability to the team, especially with some of our roster guys, because that point guard position is so important. We play with an offense with multiple ballhandlers, and he was having a good game tonight. And we sort of rode on the back of him, and he did a great job for us.”
CLAXTON COMES THROUGH
With Jarrett Allen sitting out Monday’s game, there was an opportunity for rookie Nic Claxton to make an impression, and he seized it.
After coming off the bench in the first half, the 6-foot-11 big man got the call to start the second half.
“I thought his energy and sprit, and just his athleticism and length really caused disruptions on both ends,” said Harrington. “So it was really good seeing a rookie in the couple weeks he’s been with us his growth, and have success like that. So we’re really excited to see what a day off tomorrow will look like for him and then another game the following day.”
Claxton played 20 minutes, his longest stint of Summer League, and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, making all six of his shots. He showed an ability to put the ball on the floor on the perimeter, get to the rim and finish.
“The game is starting to slow down, and I’ve been working on my touch a lot since I got in Brooklyn and today that really showed,” said Claxton. “I was shooting hooks with my right hand, that’s something I usually didn’t do in college. I continue to work. I’m just scratching the surface right now.”
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