Sunday, July 5, 2015

Recap: Heat 71, Nets 70

It's only two days in to the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, but the Miami Heat already have to be extremely encouraged by what they've seen from Justise Winslow.
The No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has already proven he can be a dangerous scorer, an elite defender and a phenomenal playmaker even on nights when his shot is not falling from the floor.
Winslow not only muscled his way to 14 points on Sunday, but he was part of one of the more memorable plays in Orlando's summer league history.
With 0.4 seconds remaining, Winslow delivered a sensational game-winning, buzzer-beating alley-oop setup to Tyler Johnson, whose acrobatic layin lifted Miami to a 71-70 victory over Brooklyn.
"For us to win in that fashion, it was just great," Winslow explained. "Everybody came together, everybody played unselfish and it really paid off at the end of the game. It was really great for us to share in a moment like that early in our careers."
Winslow's confidence in such a pivotal moment didn't go unnoticed.
"Justise, I just told him in the locker room 'you missed three free throws in a row, you stay with it, you make your last free throw and then you make the game-winning assist,' which he couldn't have put that pass in a better spot for Tyler to finish," said Heat Summer League coach Dan Craig. "As a rookie it's just a tremendous job of staying with it."
A day after earning eight attempts at the charity stripe, Winslow went 8-for-12 from the free throw line, courtesy of an aggressive mindset and willingness to attack the rack.
"He can do so many things to impact the game," Craig added. "If he's not scoring, he's still confident that he can impact the game in a lot of different areas, which he did tonight."
Willie Reed, who spent the last three seasons in the D-League, notched team highs in both points (17) and rebounds (nine).
"He's been tremendous," Craig said. "He brings great energy, he brings us a shot-blocking presence around the rim and he's a high-motor big, which is contagious for everybody else watching him."
Johnson, who was swarmed by his teammates after coming through with the game-winner, finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Ryan Boatright led the Nets with a game-high 23 points. The undrafted point guard out of the University of Connecticut, who was part of their 2014 NCAA champion squad, dialed it up from long distance by draining 5-of-8 attempts from 3-point range.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson looked much more comfortable for Brooklyn, notching eight points and seven rebounds.
The No. 23 overall selection in this year's draft, put his defensive dominance on display, holding Winslow scoreless for the entire first quarter and making things difficult on him from the field.
"He has a great attitude," Nets Summer League coach Jay Humphries said. "He's done everything we've asked when it comes to stepping up defensively."
Miami (2-0) is back in action on Monday when they go head-to-head with the Detroit Pistons at 5 p.m. ET. Brooklyn (0-2) has the day off before taking on Charlotte at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Recap: Grizzlies 79, Hornets 75

A day before Serena Williams faces off against sister Venus Williams in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon, it was Harrison versus Harrison in a brotherly battle on Sunday in the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League.
Aaron Harrison, who went undrafted in the June 25 NBA Draft, got the better of the head-to-head matchup against his twin brother, but Andrew Harrison's Memphis Grizzlies won the game, defeating Charlotte 79-75.
Aaron and Andrew, both rookies out of the University of Kentucky, had instances throughout both halves when they were matched up against one another. Andrew guarded Aaron at times, but Aaron mainly checked Memphis point guard Russ Smith throughout the game. Aaron, who has been asked to learn how to play the point guard position by Charlotte's coaches, had 16 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Andrew scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds for the Grizzlies.
"No, we don't look at each other as competition,'' Andrew said of the one-on-one battle on Sunday. "We push each other and things like that. But we just both want each other to play well. We played alright today. But I won so ...'' Andrew added that other than in the NBA Draft combine back in May, Sunday was the first time that the two brothers had played against one another in a game of any significance.''
Jarnell Stokes had 10 points for Memphis (2-0), including a tough left-handed layup in traffic with 16 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Russ Smith added 14 points, seven assists and three steals for the Grizzlies.
Charlotte's Frank Kaminsky made six of eight shots and two of three 3-pointers and had 14 points and eight rebounds. Through two summer league games, the reigning National College Player of the Year is averaging 16.5 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 54.4 percent from 3-point range.
Memphis had a seemingly safe 64-47 lead going into the fourth quarter, but guards Troy Daniels and Aaron Harrison led the Hornets back into the game. Daniels, once a playoff hero for the Houston Rockets, made six of his first seven 3-point shots to help Charlotte climb within one point of the lead three different times in the fourth quarter.
Daniels finished with a game-high 21 points by making seven of 12 shots and six of nine 3-point shots. His shooting helped Charlotte outscore Memphis 28-15 in the fourth period.
Aaron Harrison, who played primarily shooting guard in college, is making the adjustment to point guard because of the Hornets' needs at that position. Hornets summer league coach Patrick Ewing was upset with Aaron's shot selection in Saturday's opener, but Aaron was much more in tune with setting up others on Sunday. He had eight assists on Sunday compared to just two assists on Saturday.
Charlotte forward P.J. Hairston missed his first eight shots and finished just four of 14 for 10 points. Hairston missed badly on a long 3-point heave with 30 seconds to go that could have tied the game.

Recap: Pistons 77, Clippers 69

Stanley Johnson was impressive in his first NBA game. He was sensational in his second.
It hasn't taken long for the eighth overall pick out of the University of Arizona to make his presence felt at the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League.
After posting 13 points, four rebounds and three assists on Saturday, Johnson topped that performance with 24 points and nine rebounds on Sunday in Detroit's 77-69 victory over the L.A. Clippers.
"He has really grasped concepts very quickly and he spends a lot of time off the court trying to become a really good NBA player," Pistons Summer League coach Bob Beyer said. "I was happy with the way he played today. He has confidence with his abilities."
He has also been as advertised on the defense end, which helped him skyrocket up mock draft boards in the months leading up to the draft. Johnson racked up three steals and helped limit the Clippers' starting forwards (Royce White and Jordan Hamilton) to a combined two points and 0-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Nate Wolters, who played in 21 games last season for the Bucks and Pelicans, kept the Clippers within striking distance down the stretch. He finished with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor and he made the team's only 3-point field goal. L.A. went 1-for-14 from long distance.
Kammeon Holsey contributed 16 points for the Pistons, who take on the Miami Heat on Monday at 5 p.m. ET. The Clippers have Monday off before returning to action on Tuesday when they clash with the Thunder at 5 p.m.

Harris heady at the helm as Argos win OT thriller

Trevor Harris proved Sunday that his Week 1 preformance was no fluke.

The Edinboro grad calmly stepped in and led his club from behind not once, but twice - in regulation and overtime -- to lift the Toronto Argonauts to a thrilling 42-40 overtime win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Harris completed an 11-yard pass to receiver Tori Gurley and then got a two-point conversion by completing a pass to Anthony Coombs on the final 'mini-game' of the extra frame to seal the win for Toronto.
Owens also caught another game-tying touchdown in the first stage of overtime when the Argos had their backs against the wall. Harris was 30 of 38 for 267 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win.

Harris and the rest of the Argonaut offence were slow out of the starting gate only gaining 108 yards in the first half, but Head Coach Scott Milanovich unleashed them when it mattered.

The Argos pivot checkdown-heavy approach early on came to a hault on the last drive of regulation on a nine play, 85 yard drive with Harris aggressively pushing the ball downfield, resulting in a Chad Owens touchdown reception.

Despite all of the edge-of-your-seat overtime action, the highlight of the game came from Roughrider slotback Ryan Smith. Smith put in his candidate for catch of the year with a 40-yard leaping reception in the fourth quarter followed by another 45-yard gain down the sideline with only minutes left in the game.

Also overshadowed with all of the late game heroics was Kevin Glenn's monster 477-yard game which moved him passed Matt Dunigan for 7th place on the CFL's all-time passing yards list.

Glenn completed 33 of 40 passes with 2 touchdowns on the day.

Special teams often gets overlooked in the game of football but it almost proved to be a difference-maker.

Forty-five=year-old kicker Paul McCallum was perfect on the day making all four of his field goal attempts. The other kicker in today's game, rookie Ronnie Pfeffer, was born one year before McCallum started kicking field goals for the BC Lions in 1993. Pfeffer made a 50 yard field goal in his debut, but the Laurier product missed two field goals later on which almost costed the Argos.

Perhaps the biggest turning point in the game came from the hands of Argonauts defensive back AJ Jefferson who sucked the energy right out of Mosaic Stadium with a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown. This came one play after the Rider faithful were jumping for joy after Smith's highlight reel catch.
Images: Capturing a classic at Mosaic

A big positive for Toronto was offensive tackle Bruce Campbell who was deemed the tough task of shutting down Saskatchewan defensive end John Chick. Campbell was able to keep the former Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the year quiet, limiting him to zero sacks and keeping Trevor Harris upright throughout.

The Argos opened the scoring with a touchdown pass to Kevin Elliott and the 50-yarder from Pfeffer.

The Riders stormed back however, and held a one-point lead off a 50-yard touchdown pass from Glenn to Smith.  
Saskatchewan seemed in control for the majority of the second half until Harris calmly led the Argos to a game-tying drive, capped off by a touchdown toss to Owens.
The two teams took to overtime after that as the Boatmen salted away the win.

It wasn't all good news for the Argonauts however; veteran slotback Andre Durie left the game in the third quarter with what appeared to be an injury to his knee and starting safety Jermaine Gabriel also left late in the game and did not return.  National DB Matt Black replaced Gabriel while Coombs stepped in for Durie.

The Argos look to build off a hot 2-0 start as they roll into McMahon Stadium next week to take on the Calgary Stampeders.

The Riders will counter with a Friday-night affair at BC Place against the Lions.

REDBLACKS earn home-opening win over Lions

The Ottawa REDBLACKS did not disappoint the sold out crowd at TD Place on Saturday night, defeating the BC Lions 27-16 in their home opener and earning their second straight win to open the season.
With the win, the REDBLACKS match the number of victories that they had in total last season.  

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Arceneaux had a game-high seven catches for 112 yards for the Lions but was outshone by local Ottawa product Brad Sinopoli, who had nine catches for 99 yards along with a touchdown for the REDBLACKS.
 Henry Burris led the REDBLACKS with three touchdown passes and 296 yards while Travis Lulay was 18-for-32 for 254 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
After a long layoff for one of the league’s most proven passers, Lulay attacked the REDBLACKS defence on his very first play from scrimmage, connecting with Arceneaux on the deep ball to move BC within scoring range.
A pass interference penalty called on a review by rookie head coach Jeff Tedford extended the Lions’ drive, which eventually ended in a Richie Leone field goal – the first of his young career – to give BC a 3-0 lead in quarter number one.
Another field goal built the Lions’ lead to 6-0 early in the second quarter, but the REDBLACKS responded immediately after that. A 21-yard run by Chevon Walker put the wheels in motion, then on a second-down play Burris connected with Williams for a 27-yard pickup to the BC 23.
After Burris extended the drive on second down with his legs on a 13-yard pickup, the veteran gunslinger hit University of Ottawa alum Sinopoli on first down with a swing pass to the right side of the field. Sinopoli found enough space to hit the end zone to provide the game’s first touchdown.
The score capped off a six-play, 75-yard drive and gave the REDBLACKS their first lead of the game.
The lead was short-lived as the Lions added a punt single to tie things up, but Ottawa wasn’t about to let that ruin the mood in its home opener. After a punt inside the final minute by BC, Burris found Sinopoli for a first down in the dying seconds, more importantly giving Ottawa a chance to make a field goal with less than a second left.
Delbert Alvarado connected from 46 yards out with zeros on the clock, sending Ottawa to a 10-7 halftime lead.
An early safety after a snap over the head of Burris put BC back in the game, while Ottawa avoided total catastrophe when the ensuing kickoff was returned by Shaquille Murray-Lawrence for a touchdown – only for it to be called back on a blocking penalty. The REDBLACKS made a key stop on defence and added a field goal to extend their lead, 13-9.
Late in the third quarter, however, the Lions’ offence opened up. Completions to Shawn Gore and Andrew Harris for 29 and 17 yards respectively moved BC to the 26, while from there Lulay found first-year CFLer Austin Collie behind coverage for the drive-capping touchdown.
The six-pointer marked Lulay’s first touchdown pass since 2013 and gave the Lions a 16-13 lead, one they’d take into the game’s final quarter.

The Lions may have taken a loss but both Travis Lulay and Andrew Harris had strong performances in their return to the field. The Lions are now 20-9 when Lulay and Harris are both in the lineup.
With a tight game entering the fourth quarter, the REDBLACKS changed momentum in an instant. Burris went deep to off-season acquisition Greg Ellingson and after the pass was tipped by defensive back Ryan Phillips, Ellingson was able to corral the football from on the ground for the highlight-reel touchdown grab.
That sent a spirited TD Place crowd into a frenzy, as the REDBLACKS regained their lead early in the fourth, 20-16. Burris later added a touchdown pass to former BC Lion Ernest Jackson, giving Ottawa a 27-16 lead with under eight minutes to go.
That turned out to be the final nail in the coffin, as the Ottawa offence continued to produce led by Chevon Walker's 103 yards on 24 carries, while the defence pitched a fourth-quarter shutout to spoil the return of Lulay and Harris to the football field.
The REDBLACKS will face the Edmonton Eskimos on the road July 9 while the Lions will play their home-opener vs. Saskatchewan on July 10 as they search for win number one.