It was hard to imagine that Miami's sensational summer league could get any better, but that's exactly what happened on Wednesday.
Willie Reed continued his torrid Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League pace by notching 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots, including a pivotal rejection with 5.9 seconds left and Shabazz Napier took care of the rest by drilling the game-winning free throws with 3.2 ticks remaining in the Heat's thrilling 87-85 victory over the Clippers.
"I was just happy for him," Heat Summer League coach Dan Craig said. "He's put a lot of time in, not just since we've been in Orlando, but in the five weeks leading up to summer league, I thought that was just the karma of the game."
In his first appearance since undergoing hernia surgery on April 1, Napier showed no signs of rust. The point guard commanded the floor with high energy and tallied 14 points, six assists and four boards in just 17 minutes of action.
Despite it being his first on-the-court competitive action since the surgery, Napier calmly stepped to the line and drained the go-ahead freebies to help Miami improve to 4-0 in summer league action.
"He didn't look like he skipped a beat," Craig added.
While the Heat have to be happy with Napier's return, they also have to be equally as excited that they may have found another D-League diamond in the rough and coincidentally from the same squad where Miami center Hassan Whiteside was once featured.
Reed, who spent the 2014-15 D-League campaign with the Iowa Energy, was once again a force to be reckoned with. The 6'11" big man has been a presence on both ends of the floor in Miami's four contests, averaging 13.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.75 blocks per game.
"He's been our one constant," Craig said. "He gives us great minutes and he was our leading rebounder again tonight, against a very good rebounding team."
Miami also received a spark from James Ennis, who poured in 14 points. It was reminiscent of his outings in both Orlando and Las Vegas last year, which helped him earn a spot on the Heat's roster.
Journeyman Diante Garrett led the Clippers with a game-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds.
Branden Dawson continued to make a case that he was a valuable selection with the No. 56 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by notching 15 points and 11 boards, increasing his averages to 12.8 and 10.3 during his summer league stint.
He also showcased his defensive capabilities once again, with a wicked rejection on Reed with 5:56 left in the second quarter.
"He's part of the Lob City too I think," Garrett said of his teammate. "He gets up and down the court, he's freakishly athletic, I think he'll be a good fit."
D.J. Newbill, an undrafted guard out of Penn State, added to Los Angeles' offensive output by firing off 18 points.
Both Miami and Los Angeles have Thursday off before returning to action on Friday's Championship Day. That schedule has yet to be determined.
Stanley Johnson continued his impressive play at the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League on Wednesday. The eighth overall draft pick in 2015 out of the University of Arizona posted 20 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes of Detroit's 90-65 victory over Indiana.
He wasn't the only rookie to shine, however. The Pacers' Myles Turner (Texas), selected 11th, and Joe Young (Oregon), chosen 43rd, each had excellent individual performances.
Turner recorded 23 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, while Young showcased his offensive repertoire with a game-high 25 points and 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point distance.
"I got the toughness in me, coaches believe in me," Young said. "They know I can be versatile and create shots for everybody. Each game I thought I did a little something better."
"I think we have good chemistry so far," Turner said about what it's been like so far having Young as a teammate. "He's a guard that can score, dish it out, do what he has to do."
The Pistons (2-2) controlled the momentum from the opening tip. They outscored the Pacers (0-3) by eight in the first quarter and 11 in the second.
Detroit did most of its damage on the glass with a 47-29 rebounding advantage.
Darrun Hilliard, the Pistons' second round draft pick out of Villanova, and Sundiata Gaines came off the bench and each pitched in 14 points.
The Pacers shot just 3-of-15 from 3-point range and are now 20-of-54 from downtown at Summer League.
Indiana returns to action on Thursday when it takes on Orlando's Blue team, while Detroit has Thursday off and will await the final standings to determine who and when they play on Friday.
The Orlando Magic's White squad, a compilation team of Development League players and free-agent hopefuls, continued to be the story of the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League on Wednesday with a third straight victory.
Magic White (3-0) got 16 points and a monster block from center Keith Benson, 15 points and five 3-pointers from reserve guard Scottie Wilbekin and it had three other players score in double figures in an 81-68 rout of the Charlotte Hornets (1-3).
Led by Magic D-League coach Bill Peterson, the White team more than held its own last week in a scrimmage against Magic Blue -- a team with Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Devyn Marble and No. 5 pick Mario Hezonja -- and has beaten the Pistons, Pacers and Hornets this week. Other than a couple of players with brief NBA experience, most of the White's squad is full of players who have travelled the globe while trying to keep the dream alive of playing basketball professionally.
"It's really fun. What basketball is all about is getting guys to come, be hungry and sacrifice a little bit of themselves for the good of the group. And when you can convince them of that, it makes the group look great," said Peterson, who guided the Erie Bayhawks last season. "Our guys are playing hard, making extra passes and they are having multiple efforts. We have a really sound group of people who are doing what we ask of them."
Magic White made life miserable for Charlotte forward Frank Kaminsky, the reigning National Player of the Year from college basketball. Kaminsky missed his first four tries and went just four of 11 from the floor while scoring 13 points. Kaminsky did salvage the day following a dreadful start and ultimately grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots.
Aaron Harrison, who was on the receiving end of Benson's highlight-worthy block in the first half, scored 15 points for the Hornets. P.J. Hairston hit four 3-pointers and chipped in 14 points.
Magic White led by as much as 19 points in the first half but saw its lead shrink to 61-53 by the end of the third period. But Orlando pulled away in the final quarter and coasted to a third straight victory.
"It's a good story what we're doing, but we're all hungry and playing free trying to get (noticed). So it's a really good story," said Benson, a 2011 second-round pick by the Atlanta Hawks who has played professionally in the D-League, Italy, Philippines, Belarus, Lithuania and Estonia. "We've been here for a few days practicing together, and we're doing well now."
Magic White plays Brooklyn on Thursday, while Charlotte has tomorrow off. All 10 teams in the league will be in action on Friday.
Continuing the trend of being them being the best team in the summer league, Orlando White dominated the first half and led the Hornets 43-28 at the break. Sharing the ball well at the directive of Peterson, White had 10 different players score in the first half.
Benson was the standout for the Magic on both ends of the floor. Not only did he make all four of his shots and all three of his free throws for 11 points in the first half, but he had the play of the day while protecting the rim. The 6-foot-11 Benson perfectly timed a dunk attempt by Charlotte's Aaron Harrison, stuffing the shot and knocking the rookie to the floor.
Former University of Florida standout Scott Wilbekin helped the Magic White squad break the game open in the second quarter. He had three 3-pointers and nine quick points as the Magic surged to a 26-18 lead.
Kaminsky got off to a bad start and things stayed that way for much of the half for the former University of Wisconsin star. His first shot of the game was stuffed and his second missed the rim badly for an air ball. He failed to score in the first half, missing all four of his field goal attempts.
Things weren't much better in the first half for Harrison, the former standout guard from the University of Kentucky. After going undrafted in the June 25th NBA Draft, Harrison has been asked by the Hornets to make the switch from shooting guard to point guard at the professional level and he's seemed unsure of himself at times this week. In 15 minutes on the floor in the first half, he had just one basket and his Hornets were outscored by 16 points by the Magic.