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Vegas Summer League Recap: Spirited Blazers Fall to Bulls in OT, 80-78

Finally, a Summer League game where the Portland Trail Blazers actually held your attention. Send your 'Thank You' cards to Claver and Robinson.


UPDATE: The Blazers' first (?) playoff game is Wednesday evening at 5:30pm against the Atlanta Hawks. If they win, they'll play in the next round. If they lose, they'll play one consolation game to close out their Vegas stint. We'll update with TV coverage info when we know, but it will probably be in comments first (you guys rock btw). Based on its starting time, I'm guessing it won't be televised on NBA TV. -- Tim


The Portland Trail Blazers looked way better all night, even if the score wasn't reflecting it for three quarters. But they came alive in the fourth, mounting a comeback that gave them a chance to tie in the final seconds. And CJ McCollum calmly nailed a three-pointer to send the game into overtime!

In a short, two-minute overtime, the Bulls hit two shots, and that was enough to hold on for the win when Claver failed to get off a shot. The Blazers will still take the two playoff points.

After two straight abysmal games, this contest was an oasis in the desert. And despite all the focus on McCollum, it was Victor Claver and Thomas Robinson who garnered the most attention until the game-tying three.

Random note: If a Summer League game goes to double-overtime, it's a hockey-style sudden death overtime, where the first team to score wins. I can't deny that I love that concept.

The Players

Thomas Robinson is simply a Summer League rebounding machine. If a ball went toward the rim at either end, you knew he'd be near it. In fact, with more minutes, he might have set the Summer League rebounding record. You can see why there is hope in his future. His offensive game is definitely a work in progress, but he even showed a few good signs there. If you have high hopes for Thomas Robinson, this was the game for you. 12 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 5 fouls, 4 turnovers.

Ahhh, Victor Claver. I can't deny it, I like this kid, even when he didn't launch the final shot. He looks like he's in control at all times, and shows signs of being a stabilizing influence on the court. In Summer League, you want your guy to look better than everyone on the court. Calm, relaxed, and a stabilizing influence. Someone who looks like a pro, because he's been there before. A "man amongst boys," if you will. That was Victor tonight. He had the look of a rotation player next season. Let's see if he can prove it this fall. 10 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers.

CJ McCollum showed some signs of picking up his defense at times, but still struggled to defend the three against the pick. And at the offensive end... another rough night (8-25 shooting). But he came on strong late, especially during the comeback when they needed him the most. It was so nice to see him rise to the occasion and hit a three with the game on the line. However, it's hard to say if he'll have the amazingly smooth NBA transition that Damian Lillard pulled off. 27 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers.

Meyers Leonard is hurting my head. Seriously, I feel a headache coming on when he's in the game. He had some nice shooting tonight, but it masks the bigger problem: He stunk. He bobbled passes. He missed defensive assignments. I'm not sure he understands that when someone shoots, you're allowed to chase after that ball if it doesn't go in the hoop. 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers.

Joel Freeland found his sea-legs today. He looks like a guy a little more comfortable, and a little more in control. He had a few nice put-backs, and at one point did a masterful job of driving to the hoop, drawing two defenders and dishing to Leonard for a free dunk. It looked like gradual long-term improvement, not a "he had a good day at Summer League!" game. He didn't look like a star, but he did look like he could be a supporting cast member. After his disappointing season, that's an upgrade. 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers.

Allen Crabbe had a nice reverse layup early in the game. He also hit a three. Otherwise, he looks like a long-term project, especially at the defensive end where he was burned in overtime. 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers.

What's Next

The Summer League playoffs start tomorrow, and the Blazers will likely be playing. We'll have info as soon as it's available. For info on how the Summer League Playoffs work, check out OregonLive's informative article. See you tomorrow! -- Tim