The Portland Trail Blazers got their first Summer League victory of 2015, leading most of the way en route to a relatively easy 93-80 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Blazers are now 1-1 in Summer League play.
The Blazers fell behind a bit early in the first quarter, as most of their offense was running through Tim Frazier and Dallas was whipping the ball around to find open shots, to mixed results. Frazier was willing to get into the lane and draw contact, and used his body well on a pair of floaters, the second from behind the free throw line.
2nd-year power forward Noah Vonleh started 0-5 from the field and looked a bit uncomfortable before hitting his next few shots, showing soft hands and mobility in the pick and roll that should serve the Blazers well. Rookie Pat Connaughton hit a triple and absorbed the contact for the and-one, and along with Tim Frazier, looked like the most engaged Blazers on the floor.
A 9-0 run gave the Blazers a five-point lead after one, 21-16, during which they grabbed their first lead of Summer League since the first quarter of last night's game.
The Blazers allowed a bit of a run from Dallas, allowing the Mavs to get within 2 to start the second quarter. But Frazier, Allen Crabbe, and Vonleh (who shook off his first-game jitters) led the Blazers to a run of their own, aided by 8 straight Allen Crabbe points after being fouled on a three, hitting a three, then hitting a floater. The lead swelled to double digits, and even though the Blazers botched their final possession, they still strutted into the locker room leading 48-32 at the half.
Crabbe (14), Frazier (10), Vonleh (10), and Connaughton (6) led the Blazers in scoring at halftime, Vonleh and Daniel Orton both had 4 boards, and Frazier had 5 assists. The Blazers were shooting 53% to the Mavs' 39% from the field.
The Mavs opened the third with 5 straight points, capping an 11-0 run stretching to the first half that pulled them within 11. Unfortunately for them, Crabbe and Malcolm Thomas felt like they needed to do more to prove their worth, as they both chipped in 5 for the quarter. Newly-acquired Luis Montero banked in a three (sources could not confirm whether he called the bank), and the Blazers kept the Mavericks at bay to lead 69-53 after three.
The fun for the Blazers didn't stop in the fourth quarter, as Crabbe scored in another 5-point burst, then swatted a shot with the force of 1000 suns, flying into the bench. He would quickly duck into the locker room holding his shoulder, but came back to the bench pretty quickly.
The Mavericks looked like they had given up, and by the time little known Summer League players like Andre Dawkins and Arnett Moultrie started buoying the Blazers' lead, the game was out of reach. The Blazers won 93-80, and took home their first Summer League win of the year.
Tim Frazier (14pts, 5rbs, 8 ast) can run an NBA offense. There were no flickers of fear, no awkwardness to be seen, and his stats weren't empty: when he was in there, the offense was running through him. He can manage others and does a great job of attacking when he wants to. He can also finish effectively in traffic. It wouldn't be a shock to see him contribute meaningful minutes next year.
Pat Connaughton (11pts, 6rbs) has no confidence issues, either. Whether it's pulling up for three, going off the dribble, or running into the teeth of the defense, Connaughton looked totally at ease and showed a high motor all game. Small sample size, but he looks like he could contribute regular spot minutes from what we've seen so far.
Noah Vonleh (13pts, 7rbs) was hesitant and a bit awkward in his first Summer League game after missing yesterday with an ankle injury, going 0-5 and looking uncomfortable. As the game wore on, he realized that he was taller and more athletic than the bulk of players on the court, and started playing like it. He made the rest of his shots, finishing through traffic, effectively navigating a number of pick-and-rolls, and showing a little ball handling from the top of the key down the lane. He also showed soft hands, but did have trouble boxing out cleanly on defensive rebounds if he wasn't already right next to someone. That will come in time.
Allen Crabbe (24pts on 9-12 shooting, 3 rbs, 2st) was playing like he meant it. Threes? Check. Mid-range jumpers? Check. Drives? Check. Neil Olshey was on the broadcast with the announcers just as Crabbe hit a three, and Olshey pointed out that Crabbe is hesitating less as he matures. Given the Blazers' roster situation, Crabbe will get minutes this year to prove he's a solid rotation player.
35-year-old Keith Bogans didn't show it in the box score, but he looked fluid and spry despite missing both his shots. Whether he makes the roster remains to be seen, but the Blazers would probably appreciate a veteran presence that didn't steal minutes from developing players.
The Blazers get a day off, then face the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday at 12pm PST.