The Charlotte Hornets took on the Houston Rockets in the semifinals of the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Tournament tonight to try and earn a trip to the summer league tournament final. Unfortunately the Hornets summer will come to an end as the Rockets defeated them in a back and forth battle. The first half was very competitive with each team struggling to score, and shooting under 40 percent. Thanks to a late second foul on a three point attempt the Rockets would take a 41-40 lead into halftime.
The second half was just as competitive with both teams trading buckets down the stretch. A Donatas Motiejunas jump hook in the last minute would prove to be the difference, as the Hornets could not take advantage of opportunities to score in the waning seconds, giving the Rockets an 83-79 victory. Even in the loss there were some positives for Charlotte to take away from this game, and the summer league season as a whole.
Josh Davis was aggressive all game, crashing the boards and attacking the rim. Davis ended the game with 18 points and 14 rebounds, and was clearly Charlotte’s best player all game. He has been a joy to watch this summer, but it will be a struggle to find a place for him on the Hornets roster. He is a bit of a tweener and his skill set is too similar to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. If there is no room for him with the Hornets, hopefully he catches on with another NBA team.
Noah Vonleh showed his advanced rebounding ability, but struggled to score. Vonleh finished with 9 points and a game high 16 rebounds. His post moves were solid and explosive, but he had trouble finishing around the rim, going 2-12 from the field. Even if is offensive game is slower to develop it appears like Vonleh will still provide value as a rebounder.
In my game preview I reintroduced the #pjbeshootin hash-tag and PJ Hairston showed the world why. He led the Hornets in scoring with 27 points on 9-24 shooting. PJ looked for his shot early and often, displaying the shooting ability that the Hornets fell in love with on draft night. Hariston was also able to get to the rim off the dribble with relative ease even though his finishing was not always consistent. Late in the fourth quarter he even showed off an impressive post game against smaller defenders. At times he showed some questionable shot selection, but that is to be expected in the summer league. Overall, Hairston has been impressive this summer and should provide the Hornets with some much needed scoring, and three point shooting off the bench.
With summer league over, the long wait for the NBA season begins. This is the most anticipated season of NBA basketball in Charlotte in quite some time. The future is bright for the Hornets. October can’t come fast enough.