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Sunday, July 20, 2008
NBA Summer League: Liveblogging Day 10


By Maurice Brooks

Where's the Love?

When the summer league schedule was released, Knicks vs. Timberwolves was a must-see matchup. Without New York's Danilo Gallinari (his back is still sore) and Minnesota's Kevin Love (sore Achilles) it is simply game No. 49 of 53.

Love posted a double-double in three of the four games he played in. The one game he didn't was Saturday when he was on the floor for just 18 minutes before getting injured. He led the tournament in rebounds per game and his final averages are: 18 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 48 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the foul line.

Here are his game-by-game points and rebound totals:

Game 1: 18 points and 13 rebounds
Game 2: 18 points and 17 rebounds
Game 3: 26 points and 15 rebounds
Game 4: 10 points and nine rebounds


Non-Stop Cheering From Nate

While the game is pretty lackluster, New York's Nate Robinson, who is not playing today, has been fairly entertaining with his non-stop chatter from the stands. While his teammates appreciate his words of encouragement, I'm sure head coach Mike D'Antoni, who is seated directly in front of him, probably wishes he'd quiet down.

Minnesota's Pops Mensah-Bonsu (21 points) is letting his athletic ability shine through. His hops around the basket and his trips down the lane for buckets are the best thing about this otherwise unwatchable game.

Just like yesterday when they got blown out by the Bobcats, the Knicks have decided to let the Wolves rough them up today.

Showing off a nice touch from the outside, Anthony Roberson has 15 points for N.Y., which is down 20 in the fourth quarter. And yes, despite the deficit, Nate is still talking.

Speaking of Nate, this is his fourth straight year of playing summer league ball. At halftime there was a brief ceremony at center court where his No. 4 jersey was retired. I guess that explains why the jersey of the 2007 summer league MVP could be seen hanging underneath the far-end scoreboard this afternoon.


Lopez Switches Teams

Phoenix's Robin Lopez is not with the Suns for their game against the Wizards because he practiced with the select team earlier today.

The Suns' Judson Wallace is having a game to remember. He hit his first four shots -- including three 3-pointers -- on the way to 11 points. He also has three rebounds and two steals.

After his hot start, Wallace has missed six of his last seven. Phoenix's Alando Tucker has erupted for 10 fourth-quarter points and leads all scorers with 20.

The Wizards quit playing in the fourth quarter, getting outscored 30-6 on the way to an 88-69 loss.

Dee Brown was the only Washington player in double digits with 10 points. Tucker netted 25 and D.J. Strawberry added 20 for the Suns.

Here is what Tucker told me after the game.

On how he performed:

"I feel like I did a good job creating off the dribble, but I'm trying to get better and be more consistent with my jumper. Critics were saying last year that my jumper wasn't consistent."

Comparing last summer to this summer:

"I'm always trying to learn from my mistakes. I think I did a lot better this summer than I did last year. The coaches wanted me to take on more of a leadership role and that's what I tried to do."

On his approach to defense:

"That's something else I've been trying to get better at. Defensive intensity is what I tried to focus on out here."

On the Suns' coaching change:

"I wish [Mike] D'Antoni all the best, but he only had seven or eight players in the rotation. Terry Porter will give me a better chance to play more and I think I will show what I can do."


No Bayless Tonight?

There is a chance that Jerryd Bayless' 36-point special against Phoenix on Saturday will be his final shining moment at summer league. According to a summer league official, the Portland rookie, who was added to the select team today, attended the noon practice, but did not participate because of pain in his hand. He had an MRI and the results were negative.

(UPDATE 1: I just spoke to Bayless and he says the hand is fine and he is playing.)

(UPDATE 2: Did Bayless lie to me? The game just started and instead of playing he's sitting on the sidelines with a bag of ice on his left hand. While the Hornets and Blazers were warming up for the game, Bayless was presented with the T-Mobile NBA Summer League Top Rookie award aka the MVP trophy.)

"We came in here looking to get better as players and individuals and to get our team better and I think we did that," said Bayless after the game. "We won three and lost two and now we can move on and start getting ready for the regular season. My hand is OK. It's a little sore. I'm not sure what happened."

In four games, Bayless averaged 29.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists, while shooting 48.5 percent.


Who Needs Security?

When Carmelo Anthony walked into the arena, two huge body guards walked closely behind him keeping an eye on his every move. Meanwhile, fellow superstars Deron Williams, Chris Paul and O.J. Mayo today and LeBron James on Saturday moved around the arena body guard free. 


Wesley Has Shown Up

Arriving just in time for USAB training camp is "basketball icon" William Wesley. He took a courtside seat next to Chris Paul for the Hornets vs. Blazers game.


Brown's In A Giving Mood

Hornets' point man Bobby Brown is going out in style. The ball is in his hands on every play and he continues to make the right decisions. Too bad there wasn't an all-tournament team because he deserves something for his outstanding play. He has nine points and seven assists at halftime.

If the Hornets thought they were going to have an easier time because Bayless was out of the lineup, they were mistaken. J.R. Pinnock started in Bayless' place and had a Bayless-type performance. He went 11-for-19 from the field (4-for-5 on treys) and finished with 30 points and six rebounds as Portland rolled 78-63. 

Brown had 13 points, 10 assists and four rebounds.