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Pistons 80 (5.5 Pts) Heat 78 (2.5 Pts)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been the headliner over the past four days at the Amway Center practice facility, and for good reason. He entered Tuesday's game with the Heat averaging 28 PPG, 8 RPG, 2 APG, 4 SPG and shooting 18-39 from the field, 6-13 from three and 14-16 from the line. However, today's first half didn't exactly follow the same script, as KCP went into the halftime break limping after an ankle injury and a 1-7 shooting performance. The Pistons struggled behind their Summer League leader, "entering the locker room" down 38-30.
Things changed after the break, however, and KCP's struggles wouldn't last long. The 7th pick in the 2013 draft went on to hit 7 of his next 13 shots, scoring 24 second half points, none bigger thanwhat would prove to be the game-winner, with 6.6 seconds left on the shot clock:
That's as cold-blooded as a Summer League dagger is going to get. On a side note, did Miami not expect the OSL's leading scorer (by a wide margin) to get the ball right back off the inbounds pass? That wasn't the only highlight KCP provided on the day, check out this Vine of KCP crossing Tyler Johnson like a shallow river in the Oregon Trail:
Caldwell-Pope finished the game with 26 points on 8-10 shooting (3-10 3p, 7-8 ft) to go with 7 rebounds and an assist. It's really saying something that a game he finished with that line and the highlights he provided was arguably his worst game in this year's summer league so far. KCP wasn't the only player to have an injury scare in the game, as Peyton Siva left action early with an apparent hamstring injury. I haven't seen any official reports, but if the Pistons are planning on keeping him around for this season, expect him to sit the rest of the week. Just my speculation. Ian Miller did a nice job filling in for Siva, finishing with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists on 6-10 shooting in 23 minutes. There's not really room for Miller on the Pistons roster, but I'll be selfishly hoping he doesn't get an NBA offer. He would be a nice addition to the Grand Rapids Drive in their inaugural season.
DeAndre Liggins had yet another solid game for Detroit, finishing with 14 points on only four FGA, hitting three of four beyond the arc to go with 3 rebounds and 5 assists. I didn't see the whole game, but it's fair to assume Liggins once again played lockdown defense. He's had ugly, ugly off-court issues and isn't really the kind of guy you seek out to put in the locker room, but there's a case to be made for giving him a camp invite, or even a contract. He's been that good at both ends of the floor so far. Tony Mitchell was quietly good again today, scoring 8 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and blocking 2 shots, including an alley-oop attempt. He seems like the perfect D-League candidate for this season, but you can really tell the potential is there. He's still only 22, so there's plenty of time to continue learning the game at both ends. David Lighty, Justin Harper and Christian Watford all struggled from the floor, combining to shoot 4-21.
Miami witnessed another shaky performance from LeBron's hand-picked PG, Shabazz Napier. After a solid performance on Sunday night against Brooklyn, Napier shot 3-11 from the field and had more turnovers than assists. Rookie PGs seem to struggle more than other rookies in summer league games, but there still has to be some level of concern over Napier's play. Miami was led in scoring by newly-signed Tyler Honeycutt with 12 points. The swingman just signed a deal to play for Khimki in Russia. Justin Hamilton and Eli Holman both also scored in double figures, with the UD-Mercy grad Holman finishing a rebound shy of a double-double. Miami's next contest will be on Thursday afternoon against the Pacers, and the Pistons will play Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics.
Grizzlies 80 (6 Pts) Magic 73 (2 Pts)
The Grizzlies managed to pull out a win despite an 0-6 performance from 22nd overall pick Jordan Adams. Memphis was led in scoring by Kalin Lucas with 14. Jarnell Stokes registered a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in only 24 minutes of action, adding to his solid showing in Orlando. Former Pistons' 2nd round pick Terrico White scored 10 points, and Florida State rookie UDFA Okaro White scored 11. Okaro White's performance came on the heels of a camp invite; fellow OSL teammate Scottie Wilbekin also got a camp invite.
Orlando was led in scoring by Dewayne Dedmon with 13 points, which was accompanied by 11 points from Victor Oladipo and 10 points from Cameron Jones. 12th overall pick Elfrid Payton played a low-key role, scoring 6 points, dishing out 3 assists and grabbing 2 rebounds to go with 2 steals. 4th overall pick Aaron Gordon struggled once again, going 0-3 from the field and grabbing 0 rebounds in 25 minutes played. Gordon has appeared to be every bit the project that his detractors said he would be, which likely lowers his expectations going into training camp. Orlando will play next against Boston on Thursday night, while the Grizzlies will play the Rockets on Thursday night.
Sixers 92 (7 Pts) Rockets 71 (1 Pt)
The Sixers put five players in double figures in a thorough victory over the Rockets summer league squad. Casper Ware led the action with 16 points, although he only went 5-14 from the field in the process. Second round picks KJ McDaniels and Jerami Grant scored 13 and 12 points respectively. Hollis Thompson scored 14 and UDFA JaKarr Sampson scored 13 and grabbed 8 rebounds. Nerlens Noel returned to action after sitting out the Sixers' 2nd game of the OSL. He scored 8 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in 24 minutes.
Houston struggled to an 0-3 start and now have a league-low 3.5 points in the standings. Undrafted rookie PG Jahii Carson led the Rockets in scoring with 18 points on 4-9 shooting, propping his day up with 11 free throw attempts. Fellow undrafted rookie Jabari Brown also turned in a nice performance, scoring 16 points in 28 minutes. Second round pick Nick Johnson, who starred in Houston's narrow loss to the Pistons, scored 11 points, but was only 4-14 from the field and turned the ball over 4 times. Chris Crawford turned in another solid performance with 10 points. Houston's next game will be on Thursday against Memphis, while Philadelphia will be taking on Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon.
STAR OF THE DAY
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 26 pts (8-20 fg, 3-10 3p, 7-8 ft), 7 reb, 1 ast
This is the third time I've named KCP the star of the day, with little doubt surrounding any of the selections at the end of the day. However, around halftime of today's Pistons game, it looked like he was the dud of the day. Sitting at 1-7 from the field with a rolled ankle, it would have been easy for KCP to chalk the day up as a loss and take a seat. Instead, he willed his team to victory with 24 second-half points, another strong defensive effort and, most importantly, the game-winning three with 6.6 seconds left. Caldwell-Pope is now averaging 27.3 PPG in the Pistons' three performances, to go along with an excellent 7.7 RPG. It's getting harder each day to write KCP's performances off as a matter of Summer League competition.