The Denver Nuggets finally got their first win Summer League play – apparently all it took was some elimination pressure. They defeated the Houston Rockets 87-81 by actually playing some defense. Torrey Craig was the hero of the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds and some well-rounded defensive effort, aided by the facemasked Howard Sant-Roos who was finally able to take the court in some extended minutes and show his defensive acumen. The 23rd-seeded Nuggets will now face the 7th-seeded Brooklyn Nets in the next round of the single-elimination playoffs. The Nets had a bye as one of the top-8 seeds so this will be their first playoff game, but they have several players with NBA experience. Once again it’s a 2:30 PM Mountain Time tip-off, but all you afternoon basketball fans should have fun.

The Basics:

Who: Denver Nuggets vs Houston Rockets

Where: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas NV

When: 2:30 pm MT

How to watch: ESPN2 per

Rival Blog: Nets Daily

Position Nuggets Nets Advantage
PG Monte Morris Isaiah Whitehead Nets
SG Malik Beasley Spencer Dinwiddie Even
SF Torrey Craig Caris LeVert Even
PF Tyler Lydon Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Nets
C Petr Cornelie Nathan Boothe Nets
Bench ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whatever

Things to look for

An appearance from Lydon: Denver’s top draft pick had 1 point in 28 minutes against Houston, though he did log 7 rebounds and 3 steals. His short interview afterward in this exclusive clip sounded like a man with a lot on his mind and no easy way to resolve it. New teammates, new coaches, a new system and not a lot of time to adjust makes it hard for the lesser athletes to stand out in Summer League. At some point, though, his sweet practice stroke has to show up in a game. Maybe that’ll be today. If not, I’m sure Robert Carter Jr. or Henry Sims would love more minutes to show out.

Whether Monte Morris can land the finishing blow in the point guard competition: Monte Morris and Nikola Radicevic are still duking it out for a roster spot, but right now Morris would seem to have the upper hand. Radicevic is trying passes that either do not work even in Summer League or that he lacks enough familiarity with the roster to complete. Morris, on the other hand, has gotten up to speed a little more with every game. Morris has 15 assists against 5 turnovers and is starting to pull away in minutes-played, while Radicevic has 7 assists against 11 turnovers. Morris has also been the better scorer and more adept at getting to the line in the hack-tastic SL as well. If Radicevic wants to make that good impression, now is the time.

More Torrey Craig: I mean, who wouldn’t be stoked about getting another appearance from the official adopted Summer League player of Denver Stiffs? Go out there and eat, young man.