Tagged in: tom thibodeau

Portland Trail Blazers recover from slow start to beat New York Knicks for second NBA summer league title since 2017

Brandon Williams scored 22 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to an 85-77 triumph over the New York Knicks in the NBA summer league championship on Sunday.

It marked the third time Portland played in the championship game since 2017, and its second title since.

The Trail Blazers got 36 points from their reserves, led by Jabari Walker, who concluded with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Trendon Watford finished with 19 points and seven rebounds for Portland and was a unanimous choice for game MVP honors.

“They made a run in I think the late third or the fourth,” Watford said. “We stuck together and when we came back in, we turned it up and I’m just proud of all these guys, man.

“It was big-time, our chemistry came together since day one and I’m just proud of all these guys.”

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The Knicks, with coach Tom Thibodeau sitting courtside, had five players finish in double figures, led by Quentin Grimes, who scored 19 points.

Miles McBride scored 17 points, while Jericho Sims contributed with 13 and Feron Hunt and Micah Potter each chipped in with 10 for New York.

Portland, which came into the game ranked third during the summer league with 42.8 rebounds per game, outrebounded the Knicks 37-32.

The Blazers, who defeated New York 88-77 earlier in the event, didn’t find their rhythm until the start of the second quarter of the championship, when they opened with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers that gave them a 21-14 lead. They went on to hit seven 3-pointers in the quarter to build an 11-point lead they’d take heading into the locker room, 41-30.

The Blazers pushed their lead to 16 in the third quarter, with a 60-44 lead built on the strength of 10 points at the rim.

Portland rode its defensive tenacity to the championship, but it was New York’s defense that frustrated the Blazers to start the game. Both teams came out relatively sluggish, with a splash of sloppiness mixed in, as the Knicks shot 5-of-15 (.333) from the floor and the Blazers were just 3-of-12 (.250) from the field.

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Nets edge Knicks 112-110 on James Johnson’s free throws

Kevin Durant and James Harden took turns putting on a show in front of the largest crowd ever to see a Nets match in Brooklyn, one that was split between fans of New York’s two teams.

In the end, the Nets were celebrating and the Knicks were fuming.

In its 10th season, the matchup between teams just a few miles apart looked like a real rivalry.

“Being here two years now, it doesn’t matter who’s on that team or who’s on this team, I think the energy’s always going to be there,” Harden said. “… Whether it’s here or at MSG, the fans are going to be cheering for their respective teams and it’s going to be a good game every time, and tonight we’re just happy to come out with the win.”

They got it after James Johnson made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to give the Nets a 112-110 triumph Tuesday night.

Harden had 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Durant heated up after a slow start to finish with 27 points and nine assists. He had 11 points in the final 5:45, but the Knicks sent a second defender to force him to give the ball up on the last possession — as Durant suspected might happen.

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“But it’s risky to do that in the fourth, I mean the last shot of the game,” he said. “And yeah, I was prepared for it coming out of the timeout.”

The ball went to Johnson, who was fouled in the lane and made the free throws for the final points of an entertaining, nationally televised undercard to the Warriors-Suns main event.

Alec Burks scored a season-high 25 points in his new role as the Knicks’ starting point guard.

Julius Randle added 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. But he took only two free throws and was hit with a late technical foul for complaining about not getting calls.

“As aggressive as I play, attacking the paint, I can’t be penalized for just being stronger than people and that’s the answer that I got today,” Randle said.

The teams traded leads throughout the fourth quarter in front of an announced crowd of 18,081.

The Nets had highlight plays all over the floor to open the second half, with Harden’s soaring follow slam and DeAndre’ Bembry’s swatted shot into the seats coming during a 14-0 spurt that turned a one-point halftime deficit into a 74-61 lead.

Brooklyn had the lead up to 16 with 4 minutes left in the third period, but the Knicks whittled it down to 88-84 heading to the fourth. The lead was never bigger than that in the final 12 minutes.

But the Knicks didn’t do enough in a game where the Nets shot 25 free throws to their 12. “I want to take a look at the film. There’s a big discrepancy in free throws. I can tell you that,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said angrily. “Julius is driving the ball, and he gets two free throws.”

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