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Summer Leauge Game 5 Recap: Blazers 78, Hornets 63

Another win! A nice way to end the 2008 Summer League. To the team’s immense credit they got the victory without Jerryd Bayless. On the other hand it was against the Hornets, who couldn’t score in the Mustang Ranch with Paul Allen’s credit card. They fought hard, stuck with it, ran plays, found the open man, and basically played decent basketball. In Summer League that’s enough.

The Blazers are being slightly coy about Jerryd Bayless’ hand. The coaches right now are saying they’re not sure what’s up and Bayless himself reports a little pain but he’s otherwise fine. Neither seems to know how the injury happened. However the word a little closer inside is that it is a sprain of the left hand. He’s still expected to practice with the national team. This is the most significant potential story right now and it seems like a non-story at this point.

In Jerryd’s absence neither of the other big two distinguished themselves completely. Petteri Koponen did a credible job of running the point, with 3 assists, 2 turnovers, and 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting. His strongest attribute this game seemed to be getting back defensively whenever the Hornets tried to run. Again he showed his willingness to work and run. A couple of his passes were inspired and he has impressed plenty of onlookers at this level. However he’s still a ways away from being able to make a difference in the big leagues. Batum shot 3 of 6 and had isolated moments of offensive effectiveness. He had 4 assists himself plus 4 rebounds. He showed his team game tonight. His most impressive attribute is definitely his fluidity. He has farther to go than Petteri if he is to contribute.

J.R. Pinnock scored 30 points on 11 of 19 shooting in taking over for Bayless in this game. Pinnock has always had the ability to score but this really says as much about Summer League as it does about J.R. Still, it was a wonderful effort. He looked good. Steven Hill had 4 blocks and 8 points on 3 of 4 shooting. The cheers from the crowd were good-natured and he seemed to enjoy the attention and take it with the right sense of humor. Nice guy. Bernard Robinson snagged 10 rebounds, helping to keep us from getting obliterated. Keep in mind with all of the forwards and centers that nobody with incredibly bright prospects would sign up for the Blazers’ Summer League team because of the big man situation on our main squad. There were no spots to be won here. That made a difference.

This is not the end of our Summer League coverage. Ben has a brief interview with Nicolas Batum to add. After I get back home I will post a rundown of thoughts and assessments from the week. Right now I need to get on the long road back home, so I will leave it at that.

It was a great week. We saw some meaningful performances, learned a bunch about our young prospects, and had some fun in the meantime. Special thanks to everyone who contributed to make this trip possible, to Ben Golliver, Casey Holdahl, the Oregonian guys, Maunu Anhava, Mike Born, the Trail Blazers staff, players, and coaches, and everyone who read and commented. Blazersedge is in debt to you all, as am I personally. Talk to you on Tuesday!