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April 24, 2014

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NBA Day 2: A guard’s game

Many of this year’s NBA lottery picks have professed to a case of the jitters when making their professional debuts at this weekend’s NBA Summer League held on UNLV’s campus.

Former Texas standout and current Charlotte Bobcat D.J. Augustin said he also fell into that mode when he matched up against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday afternoon.

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Then again there might have been a few more reasons for Augustin’s anxiety than just his first game in an NBA uniform. After all, he was squaring off against a Top 10 pick in L.A.’s Eric Gordon. More importantly the watchful eye of new Charlotte coach Larry Brown would also be squarely on the shoulders of the Bobcats’ first-round pick.

“I was a little nervous in the beginning, but I settled down in the second quarter,” Augustin said.

That statement showed as Augustin helped lead Charlotte’s strong second-half surge as the Clippers outscored L.A. 50-36 over the final 20 minutes to claim an 81-66 victory.

As far as the individual match-up went, Augustin and Gordon’s numbers were nearly identical.

Gordon, who said he pulled his left hamstring late in the game, scored 15 points despite another shaky shooting effort (4-of-10) from the field. He grabbed four rebounds to go with two assists (against zero turnovers), two steals and two blocked shots.

Augustin scored 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, grabbed three rebounds had two assists and two steals against two turnovers.

"I knew I wanted to create for my teammates so that's what I went out there to do," said Augustin, of his more aggressive attitude after the first quarter.

Gordon said he didn't know the extent of his injury or whether or not he would be able to play in the Clippers next game on Sunday night at 7 p.m.

"I hurt it pretty bad and don't know what is going to happen," he said. "I'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Kings 93, Raptors 86 — In what was the most contested game so far during the Summer’s League’s first two days, Sacramento’s Spencer Hawes and Quincy Douby combined for 43 points to push the Kings to victory to the delight of Ron Artest, who sat behind Sacramento’s bench. Former Oklahoma State forward Joey Graham scored 24 points to lead the Raptors.

Nuggets 99, 76ers 85 — Five Denver players scored in doubles figures, led by Dahntay Jones' 21 points as the Nuggets lit up the scoreboard for the highest output in league play so far. Sonny Weems (17 points), Keith Langford (14), Elton Brown (13) and Mike Hall (12) rounded out the group, which took control of the contest with a 29-19 run in the third quarter. Philadelphia was once again led by Thaddeus Young's game-high 22 points.

Grizzlies 88, Bucks 79 — O.J. Mayo might not have had the sexy dunks Saturday night like he did in his pro debut on Friday, but the third overall pick in this year's draft dazzled the Cox Pavilion crowd with another weapon in his arsenal — his jump shot.

The rookie's numbers might not have been the best (9-of-19 from the field), but Mayo scored a game-high 26 points including a 4-of-6 effort from downtown. In addition to looking comfortable whether he was pulling up in the lane for a jumper or letting loose of a deep three from the corner, Mayo grabbed five rebounds and committed four less turnovers (4) than on Friday.

Meanwhile Milwaukee's Joe Alexander, the eighth overall pick, struggled mightily — hitting just two of the 13 field goals he took and scored seven points. The Bucks were led by former Nevada guard Ramon Sessions' 12 points.

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