NBA Summer League 2019: Grizzles, Timberwolves Win to Set Up Championship Game User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Some of the NBA’s brightest young stars have the opportunity to add a championship to their resume before stepping foot on the court for their first regular-season game thanks to the Las Vegas Summer League.
Attention turned to the semifinals on Sunday, as the New Orleans Pelicans—minus an injured Zion Williamson—took on the Memphis Grizzlies before the Brooklyn Nets faced the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Grizzlies were in full control with a 15-point lead in the third quarter, but New Orleans came charging back to tie it with a Nickeil Alexander-Walker jumper with less than five minutes left. That set up a back-and-forth that saw Trevon Bluiett give the Pelicans a one-point lead with an and-1 with 17 seconds remaining before Alexander-Walker notched a steal and assist to stretch the lead to three.
Not to be outdone, Tyler Harvey drilled a three-pointer with four seconds left for Memphis to force overtime, where Brandon Clarke’s dunk gave the Grizzlies the lead for good with 11 seconds left.
It appeared as if the Pelicans were going to cruise to victory when they jumped out to a 10-1 lead behind the tandem of Alexander-Walker and Jaxson Hayes.
Alexander-Walker, who was the No. 17 pick out of Virginia Tech, hit the game-winning free throw in the overtime win over the Miami Heat in the quarterfinals on his way to 34 points, while Hayes, the No. 8 pick of the draft out of Texas, added a double-double of 15 points and 12 boards.
They were not as impressive Sunday with Alexander-Walker shooting 5-of-23 from the field on his way to 14 points and Hayes notching nine points and six boards.
They also couldn’t counter Clarke, the No. 21 pick out of Gonzaga, who spearheaded the win with 23 points and 14 rebounds. He consistently slashed into the lane, drew contact and worked in pick-and-rolls with the guards, which helped get Hayes into foul trouble while Memphis built its double-digit lead.
It was fitting his final dunk came on a pick-and-roll since the Pelicans struggled with it throughout the contest.
Minnesota Timberwolves 85, Brooklyn Nets 77
The Brooklyn Nets had no answer for Minnesota Timberwolves big man Naz Reid as the former LSU Tiger dropped 20 points, six rebounds and three blocks in an 85-77 win.
The undrafted 6’10”, 250-pound forward shot 6-of-12, made all six of his free throws and hit a pair of three-pointers.
A balanced scoring attack supplemented Reid’s efforts. Jordan McLaughlin added 12 points and six assists, and Mitchell Creek scored 11. Jordan Murphy and Tyus Battle each had nine.
Minnesota trailed by as many as nine points in the first quarter, but the Wolves bore down and outscored the Nets by 16 from that moment until halftime. A 24-11 third-quarter edge nearly put the game away, with the Wolves leading by as much as 25.
To their credit, the Nets’ defense proved stout in the final frame as the team crawled back into single digits, but Brooklyn couldn’t cut the deficit to less than eight.
The Wolves won despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the field, a feat made possible because the Nets were even colder. Brooklyn made only 31.5 percent of its shots, and all Nets not named Jarrett Allen or Josh Gray made only 16 of 69 field goals (23.2 percent).
Allen dominated in his limited court time, contributing 15 points, 14 boards and two blocks in 20 minutes. The former Texas star averaged 10.9 points and 8.4 boards in 80 games played last season, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the Nets’ full-time starting center crush the summer-league competition.