clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Recap: Blazers Wilt In Summer League Debut, Fall By 20

New, comments

Detroit took control early Saturday afternoon, and Portland never fully recovered.

Detroit Pistons v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers’ NBA Summer League title defense is off to a tough start. They dropped their first game against the Detroit Pistons 93-73. (Box Score). Detroit got hot early and built a lead Portland simply couldn’t overcome, no matter how close they got.

Game Notes

  • Hot shooting propels Detroit to early lead. Detroit was one of the weaker three-point shooting teams last season, making threes at a 34.8 percent clip. Someone forgot to remind their Summer League team about that, with Detroit starting 7-10 from three in the first quarter to get to a quick 33-19 lead. They ended up 10-17 from three in the first half, generating a ton of open shots through quick ball movement and lax defense from Portland. Detroit wing Svi Mykhailuk remains a Summer League stud with 18 points on 40 percent shooting from three. Bruce Brown Jr. was a pitbull, notching a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists and playing solid defense.
  • Blazers almost get over the hump. A combination of cold shooting from Portland and the Pistons getting NBA Jam hot made it a lot tougher for the Blazers, but they didn’t go down easy. Jump-started by the offense of Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. and high-flying antics of Jaylen Hoard and Devin Robinson, the Blazers were able to bring it within seven going into the fourth.
  • Then they rolled back down that hill. After bringing the score within four at one point in the third, the Blazers went cold in the fourth. Swift ball movement and suffocating defense from the Pistons allowed them to outscore the Blazers 25-16 in the final quarter.

Key Players

  • Simons shows flashes of what he could be. While other Blazers struggled offensively, Anfernee Simons took over right away as the alpha on that end. He had 13 points in the first half, doing a good job both drawing contact and pulling up from all over the court. He struggled in the second half however, as the pull-up stopped falling with Detroit honing in on him. He finished with 15 points on 5 for 14 shooting, with just 1 assist and 2 turnovers. Still, the flashes in the first half makes it clear why Portland is excited about what he can do.
  • Could Jaylen Hoard be an option at forward? The Blazers signed the undrafted rookie to a two-way contract and he impressed in his debut. He sniffed out opportunities for put backs and was aggressive attacking the hoop. Steve Dewald noted how he could be an interesting option for a Portland team lacking post players. Even with the loss, this was a good start to Hoard’s summer. He scored 9 points on 4-6 shooting and grabbed 6 rebounds.
  • Nassir Little struggles in his debut. The first round draft pick out of North Carolina scored only once in his first game as a Blazer. He forced some tough contested jumpers and failed to finish around the rim. However, he showed some good spurts of energy on defense, even if he still doesn’t make all the right decisions on that end. Overall impression after one game? He looks like the raw prospect we expected him to be, but there’s plenty of basketball left to be played. He shot 1-6 for 2 points, with no assists.
  • ... And the rest. It’s encouraging to see Gary Trent Jr. shooting confidently, even if the overall percentage wasn’t great (3 for 12 shooting for 10 points). He had some nice spin moves and could crack the regular season lineup if he shows improvement. No Skal Labissiere today also, as he’s nursing a shoulder injury suffered in a scrimmage in June. The Blazers will most likely need him in the frontcourt rotation this season, so hopefully he’ll get back to healthy soon. Also, no minutes for Mike Daum. I might be the only one sad about it, but still.

What’s Next

The Blazers face off against Houston at 7 p.m. PDT Sunday on NBA TV.

More Coverage

Steve Dewald, Miles Custis, and Dan Marang are on site in Vegas, and will have plenty of coverage from Summer League. Stay tuned.