After a closely fought match-up Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, The D-League Select Team stays undefeated (2-0) after an 81-77 victory. Like a majority of the match-ups that take place during Vegas Summer League, the afternoon affair was both strange and compelling for a variety of different reasons.
- After a fantastic opening game against Minnesota on Saturday, Stefhon Hannah continued to shine on both ends of the floor against Los Angeles. Matching up for a majority of the game against fellow D-League alum Maalik Wayns, Hannah showed off his trademark defensive tenacity.
- In what could be one of the strangest performances I've ever seen on a basketball court, Elijah Millsap scored a game high 21 points, despite only putting up five shot attempts. Each time Millsap touched the ball, he was persistent on breaking towards the basket to draw a foul. While that may not be the most exciting playing style, it was still extremely effective. Besides his barrage on the free throw line, Millsap looked very effective on the defensive side of the ball, preventing Clippers' first round pick Reggie Bullock from getting comfortable around the perimeter.
- Former Reno Bighorn forward Samardo Samuels continues to show off that tenacious edge that he showed last season as he works with the Clippers. While he will never be the quickest guy on the court, Samuels was mobile enough to work off screens and get open inside the paint for easy buckets. In Sunday's game, Samuels did a majority of the damage by drawing contact which lead to a few easy trips to the free throw line. The real downside of Samuels performance would be his work on the defensive side of the ball which looked a little lackadaisical at times as he struggled to defend the opposition from cutting to the basket.
- Despite only playing together for two games, there was a real connection between guard Jerome Randle and forward Vernon Macklin. The moment after they hopped off the Clippers bench, Randle and Macklin were in sync by working together multiple pick and rolls to perfection. It might have been because of Randle's court vision or Macklin's mobility but they were to successfully work through the D-League's solid post defense to pull off some pretty fancy plays (video below).
Los Angeles Clippers vs D-League Select Summer League Recap (via NBA)
- On the cusp of truly breaking in to the NBA, forward DaJuan Summers looked pretty solid on the offensive side of the ball as he continued to work around the perimeter. Shooting 3 for 8 from the three point line, Summers was able to find solid spot-up opportunities which allowed him to be very effective. The big man was recently waived by the Clippers, but could find a second chance with the team because of their lack of front-court depth.
- The final thing to note would be the solid defensive effort of the D-League Select team. While Millsap and Hannah were the key captains who engineered the ship, the whole team was effective because of their work inside the paint. Solid rotations and close-outs were the key to their success as they were able to defend on any Clipper who was working their way to the basket. Defense will be huge for the team's success as they continue to make their way through various Summer League opponents.