LAS VEGAS — A look at top performers from Day 10 in Las Vegas:
Jarnell Stokes, Portland Trail Blazers
In the first of Day 10’s two semifinal matchups, the Memphis Grizzlies got off to a fast start, jumping ahead to a 19-point first half lead and going into halftime up 45-38. But things flipped in the second half, and Portland closed the gap behind strong play from forward Jarnell Stokes. A native of Memphis who had two stints in the NBA with the Grizzlies, Stokes repeatedly powered his way to the basket and teamed with Portland’s other bruising big Caleb Swanigan (15 points, 11 boards) to carry Portland to the 87-82 win. Stokes finished with a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds, earning a literal pat on the back from Portland head coach Terry Stotts, who was sitting courtside.
Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies
After winning five straight games at the Las Vegas Summer League, the Grizzlies’ loss to the Blazers ended their Summer League experience. After strong performances all week from Wayne Selden, today the Grizz got a nice performance from swingman Dillon Brooks. A second-round pick out of Oregon in the 2017 NBA Draft, Brooks showed off a versatile offensive game, scoring 16 points in 21 minutes as well as adding four rebounds and four assists.
Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers
The highly anticipated matchup between Ball and Dallas point guard Dennis Smith, Jr., mostly lived up to expectations. As he has shown throughout the Las Vegas Summer League, Ball has a singular ability to link his teammates together, keeping the basketball in motion and always finding the open man. While he has shown terrific touch and completed several long-range passes, he can also exhibit restraint and will make short, fundamentally sound passes when the play calls for it. Defensively, Ball’s off-ball awareness is impressive, as he manages to simultaneously keep an eye on his man and the ball. While posting a first half stat line of 14 points, 10 assists and four rebounds, Ball helped L.A. to a 26-point first half lead, and an eventual 108-98 win. A third quarter calf injury limited Ball to just 21 minutes of total action, but the Lakers probably figured it was worth resting Ball for tomorrow night’s championship game against Portland.
Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks entered the game a perfect 5-0, and their catalyst throughout Summer League has been rookie point guard Dennis Smith, Jr. After a subpar offensive game yesterday, Smith bounced back with a terrific night in defeat, finishing with 21 points and six assists in 29 minutes. Smith displayed a confident mid-range game, explosive athleticism, and an ability to get to the free throw line (7-10 from the line). Smith’s competitiveness helped keep Dallas in the game in the second half — the Mavericks cut the Lakers’ lead to one with just over 2 minutes left to play — and Smith clearly rose to the occasion playing on the biggest stage of Summer League thus far.
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