Due to other engagements the writer could not be present for all of Summer League this week so Gary Campbell ( @GCampbell33 ) was kind enough to step in for the game reports. Any comments can be sent in his direction!
Spurs v Heat
Credit must go to the Spurs Summer League GM, who, via sensible Draft choices has assembled a team of 15 giants built around franchise player Niall McDermott. McDermott, having been issued multiple technical fouls in week 1 decided to channel his inner Antoine Walker in week 2 and launch more “early in the shot-clock, ill-advised 30 footers” than I care to remember. The Spurs captain’s poor shot-selection was masked by the ruthless work-ethic of his henchmen however, whom the Heat “bigs” had great difficulty matching up with.
A valiant second half effort by ESPN NI All-Star Kevin Stanley (19 Points) was not enough to make up a 20+ point deficit, Spurs roll over the Heat 50 – 30.
Celtics v Spurs
Game 2 saw the Spurs face another ESPN NI All-Star in the form of Daryl Harkin. The pride of Rosemount came out swinging in the opening minutes, and accompanied by some stifling defence from Emmett Harkin and Sean McGowan, had the Spurs reeling. Feeling the effects of the dreaded back-to-back, the Spurs lacked the cohesion they showed in game 1, however, this didn’t stop them racking up another double-digit victory by a score of 33 – 54. McDemott led the way for the Spurs with 17 points while Harkin had 14 for the Celtics.
Heat v Celtics
Both Kevin Stanley and Daryl Harkin came into this matchup licking the wounds of the absolute hiding the Spurs gave them earlier in the day and both players came out strong hoping to avoid a 0-2 week. It was evident early, that this game would be won by the respective supporting casts, Sean McGowan looked to be the man in form for the Celtics as time and time again he used his speed to penetrate the Heat defense and get all the way to the basket. Young Nathan Brown was proving he could mix it with the big boys and 10 points from the 17 year old helped the Heat stay level with the Celtics up until the half. It’s often said that good offense beats good defense and that was the case in the second half as Stanley drilled about 5 off-the dribble J’s right in Harkin’s eye. Emmett Harkin tried in vain to keep the Celtics in touch but Stanley was in the form and the Heat pulled out a 45 -39 victory.
Lakers v Knicks
Both the Lakers and Knicks went 1-1 in week 1, setting up what should have been a close, exciting game, however both teams struggled to find any scoring rhythm whatsoever and the Knicks turned out to be slightly less terrible on this day, winning by a score of 31 – 24.
Mavs v Lakers
Like a fine wine Ciaran Stevenson seems to be just getting better and better with age. Despite having not touched a basketball since this time last year Stevenson showed that he still has the midas touch with an offensive clinic versus the Lakers. It looked as if this 17 point performance for the ages would seal the deal for the Mavs however the pesky Lakers just wouldn’t go away and with only minutes remaining it was a tied game. McGuinness and Campbell had been chipping away for the Lakers but in the final minutes it was Johnny McIntyre that would step into the light as he used all of his superleague experience to ensure that the Lakers squeaked out the three point win, 43 – 46
Knicks v Mavs
Todd Gfeller, the summer league enigma. He can win or lose you a summer league game in a matter of minutes and in this case he almost accomplished both. The sneakiest player on the hardwood Gfeller is capable of offensive explosions and he seems to have the ability to score from the most impossible of angles. In this game Gfeller had to step up to the mark as Simon Ward was still out with a foot injury and Niall Toland had reverted to his standard summer league form, firing from deep and missing. Todd had single handedly kept the Knicks in the game with 15 points in this low scoring affair. With six seconds to go and the Knicks down by three everyone knew he ball would be in the hands of the American, what everyone did not know is that Gfeller would pull up from the HALF WAY line and launch a Jackie Moon style between the legs three point attempt with six seconds remaining on the clock. The ball arched towards the rim as everyone looked on in astonishment at what was sure to be the greatest summer league shot of all time . . . . but, alas, it missed by a solid four or five feet. Todd Gfeller, the summer league enigma.