In the opening game of tournament play, the Mavericks crushed the Milwaukee Bucks 81 to 64. The newly signed Maverick guard Jonathan Gibson led a balanced attack from Dallas, scoring 14 in a variety of ways. Rookie Thon Maker led the Bucks with 17.
Playing their fourth game in five days, the Mavericks initially looked tired and disinterested. A strong close out to the first quarter by Vander Blue allowed Dallas to tie the game. The Bucks took control of the game with a variety of jumpers for most of the second quarter before six straight points from Gibson allowed the Mavs to take a one point lead into half time. The third period started with back to back scores from A.J. Hammons and Dallas never looked back. Milwaukee experienced quite the cold streak and were unable to mount any real counter attack. The Mavericks took a 17 point lead into the final frame and the Bucks were never able to significantly close the gap.
Jonathan Gibson is a Maverick through at least training camp.
During the second quarter, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban broke the news to ESPN that the front office and Jonathan Gibson had agreed to terms on a partially guaranteed deal. Gibson is now the third such player to agree to such a contract after Dorian Finny-Smith, and Nicolas Brussino.
Gibson is a pure scorer despite his height and small frame. He's spent the past several seasons over seas in both Europe and in the Chinese Basketball Association. With a number of guards already under contract, it's an interesting move by the Mavericks to say the least. Gibson, 28, also is an exception to the recent youth movement. However, past Anderson, Gibson has been the only offensive threat for the Summer League Mavericks. Scoring at the rate he has is impressive and it's worth a shot to see if he can compete with NBA players.
A.J. Hammons has to work on his conditioning.
Hammons played a little over three minutes to start both the first and second quarters before he needed a rest. After coming from plodding Big 10 basketball, getting into NBA quality shape is going to be his biggest challenge. Against the Bucks Hammons finally showed some of his offensive prowess, including two buckets to start the third quarter which jump started the Maverick onslaught.
Defensively, it's hard to judge Hammons. He's anchoring a defense of guys he's never played with until this past week. The signs are there that he has the chance to be a functional back up center. Getting into shape and learning the defensive system in Dallas should expedite his growth once training camp begins.
Finney-Smith posts another dud.
At this point, I'd understand if most fans have given up on Finney-Smith. But here's one thing to remember: NBA Summer League is geared toward offensive players. If Finney-Smith is a NBA player, he projects as a defensive stopper. That's not something we are going to see as he plays in the loosest form of team structure imaginable.
It's win or go home.
The NBA Summer League Tournament is underway and Dallas is still alive. They play the Chicago Bulls Summer League team at 7:30 cst. The game will definately be on ESPN3 and possibly on ESPN2. The Mavericks looked excited to play basketball for the first time since the opening game, so I wouldn't be entirely shocked if they went on a small tournament run. See everyone tomorrow night.