The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Charlotte Hornets in their opening game of the 2021 summer league 93-86. The Blazers had a sow start with the Hornets taking a short lead 5-2. before the more experienced Blazers team took over. The Hornets did make a 8-0 run to start the 2nd half, but the Blazers answered and kept the lead. Kai Jones threw down an emphatic dunk for the Hornets and LiAngelo Ball kept them in the game late, but it wasn’t enough as the Blazers persevered.
Guard Antonio Blakeney proved he is indeed a shooter. He finished with 27 points on 90% shooting from the field, 66% from deep, and 100 shooting from the free throw line, all in just 18 minutes of play. Blakeney played 2 seasons for Chicago and looks to make an NBA squad this season. George King who last played for the Suns finished with 17 points on 5 of 6 shooting from deep before leaving late when he jammed his finger going for a steal.
11 year Michael Beasley who is trying to play in the NBA again, started for Portland but struggled shooting finishing with 9 points on 3 of 11 shooting from the field and 2 of 6 from three.
Rookie Greg Brown III brought lots of energy and showcased a derrick Jones Jr esque game with several impressive dunks, including a play where he stole the ball, passed it as he ran for the basket and then pulled it out of the air for an alley oop. His rawness showed through in some fouls and missed dunks, a young over eagerness to show up. The Blazers picked a good one. He just needs to develop more control.
NBA veteran Kenneth Faried also played for the Blazers summer league and did so serviceably with 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Blazers two way forward Trendon Watford brought so solid defense and hit both of his shot attempts.
CJ Elleby struggled offensively on the night shooting just 3 of 8 from the field and 1 of 3 from deep.
The Hornets were led by the excitable play of rookie James Bouknight who played well on both ends. He finished with 19 points, had a highlight block and was all around solid in his first SL game.
LiAngelo Ball was the guy everyone in the arena wanted to see play. He kept the Hornets close late, recording 16 points on 5 of 8 shooting from three. He was benched late to a loud chorus of boos, as the fans in Cox Pavilion wanted him to stay in and help Charlotte to a win.
Kai Jones threw down a monster dunk from near the free throw line in the 2nd half and finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Blazers will next play the Los Angeles Clippers at the Thomas and Mack Center Tuesday (8/10/21) at 5:00 PM PST on ESPNU
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