The double tank may be on for the 76ers, but the team’s bid to be crowned double summer league champs came to an end last night after a slow start to the 4th quarter produced 79–68 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The Summer Sixers were led by Jordan McRae who scored 25 points on 7 of 8 shooting and 10 – 10 from the charity stripe. Nerlens Noel posted 14 points on 5-13 shooting from the field. Former Clemson star KJ McDaniels tallied 11 points in the loss.
Still the Sixers loss and McRae’s outstanding performance took a backseat last night after Noel went down hard and hobbled to the locker room late in the game.
When he first came up lame, Noel’s injury appeared to be a hamstring issue, but in the post game the Sixers’ center noted that it was just a cramp and that he was fine. The 2103 first round pick also said that his plans for the rest of the summer were to, “Get in the weight room and also eat a lot of food.”
Now back to the game… After another brutal start, the Sixers trailed by as many as 14 in the second quarter before staging an 11-0 run that tied the game up at 32. The Sixers stretch of solid play in the 2nd Q continued and they took their first lead of the ball game at 36-34. McRae scored 14 of the team’s 26 points in the quarter. However the Bulls put up a 9-5 run to close the 2nd Q and led 43-41 at halftime.
The 3rd quarter was a back and forth affair that was very entertaining to watch until the until Bulls went on a 9-0 run at the end of the quarter to take a nine-point lead heading into the final stanza. Chicago held the lead throughout the closing quarter, extending the gap to as many as 12 points. Despite several late pushes by the Sixers, Philadunkia’s home team never got closer than 6 points. Finally, 5 straight FTs by the Bulls starting at the 2:28 mark iced this game for Chicago.
McRae looked very good again last night. The stats will tell you that he shot the lights out and there’s no doubt about that. However what the stats don’t tell you is that the kid has a very high basketball, runs the floor well and can create his own shot. In four games out in Vegas McRae is averaging 21 ppg. on 50% shooting from the field; 37.5% from deep and 86.4% from the line. To say that he has impressed me is an understatement.
The loss drops the 7-6’s record to 2-3 at the NBA Summer League and eliminates them from championship play. The Sixers will participate in a consolation game at 10:30 p.m. on Friday night against the D-League Select team. I’ll be very interested to see if Noel and McRae play tonight.
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