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November 28, 2014

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NBA Day 1: Jennings steady, Meeks smooth as Bucks cap opening day with a win

9:21 p.m.

Brandon Jennings finally scored his first pro bucket with about a minute to go in the third quarter Friday night for the Milwaukee Bucks. Once he did so -- hitting a 3-pointer from the right wing -- he appeared at ease.

By the end of the day's final contest -- an ugly 65-59 Milwaukee victory over Dallas -- the most intriguing prospect in last month's draft finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Overall, it was a pretty average debut, and Jennings will need to add some sort of bulk to his sub-6-foot frame, but Milwaukee assistant Kelvin Sampson -- who is running the summer league squad -- talked about how Jennings's speed being his greatest asset for now.

Flanking Jennings for the Bucks was their second-round pick -- Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks -- who along with second-year forward Joe Alexander scored a team-high 14 points.

Dallas forward Ahmad Nivins led all scorers with 19.

Jennings will be back on the floor for the Bucks at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Saturday's action in the COX Pavilion begins at 1 p.m., with Toronto taking on Detroit. Bring a parka if you're heading out there. It was freezing in the building today.

8:01 p.m.

So far, Brandon Jennings' quasi-NBA debut with the Milwaukee Bucks hasn't left too many people in awe.

Athletically, it's pretty obvious why the diminutive guard was considered NBA-ready out of high school a year ago. He's quick and active and looks comfortable with everything he does.

Except scoring, so far.

Jennings went scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting in his first half of pro ball, as Milwaukee leads Dallas at the break, 28-27.

Last year's first-round pick, Joe Alexander, led the Bucks with 9 points in the first half, including their final five before the break.

Also looking impressive so far is Milwaukee's second-round pick -- Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks.

Meeks's jumper looked smooth as he scored 6 points on 3-of-5 shooting.

7:08 p.m.

Adam Morrison and Ben McCauley scored 24 points apiece for the Lakers, as they edged the Toronto Raptors, 85-84, in the third of four games on opening day at the NBA summer league.

Morrison was solid from start to finish. He scored 11 of those 24 in the second half, and made a heads-up decision in passing up a guarded jumper and instead spotting an open McCauley for the winning bucket with under 20 seconds to go.

Roko Ukic and Quincy Douby scored 16 points apiece for Toronto.

Now it's time for the big show, as Brandon Jennings is set to make his pro debut for the MIlwaukee Bucks.

For those of you out of the loop, Jennings is originally from Compton, played his high school ball at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., then played a year of pro ball in Italy while abiding by the NBA's age limit for draft entrants.

Milwaukee has an impressive starting five. As impressive as we've seen today, with Jennings, Amir Johnson, last year's draft picks Joe Alexander and Luke Richard Mbah a Moute and then Kentucky sniper Jodie Meeks.

They're taking on Dallas. And speaking of which, how's this for dedication from a team owner? Mark Cuban is sitting courtside to watch, yes, his franchise's summer league team.

6:08 p.m.

With Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester sitting right behind the hoop, Adam Morrison's case for a roster spot next season with the defending NBA champs opened up strong.

The former Gonzaga standout and All-American scored 13 points and had 5 rebounds, though the Lakers trail Toronto at the half, 40-31.

The Raptors were led by Rutgers product Quincy Douby, who makes his summer home in Las Vegas.

Brent Petway -- Toronto's high-flying forward out of Michigan -- provided the day's top highlight so far with a soaring baseline dunk off a pass from Douby just before the break.

As for Morrison, expect to see him play almost this entire game, as it's clear that the Lakers brass wants an extended look at him more than anyone else on their summer league roster.

Still, it's hard to put a finger on him. He doesn't look like the confident kid who was one of college ball's more prominent scorers just a few years ago. You wonder if that knee injury a couple of years ago maybe changed him some?

5:07 p.m.

First-round picks Tyreke Evans (Sacramento) and Austin Daye (Detroit) may have dominated the pregame hype, but second-rounder DaJuan Summers out of Georgetown stole the show as the Pistons took care of the Kings, 86-77.

Summers scored the first seven points of the second half for Detroit, and finished with 24 to go with 7 rebounds, obviously playing with a chip on his shoulder after being denied a spot in the first round of the draft.

Daye finished with 8 points on 3-of-9 shooting, while Evans put away 15 for the Kings.

Evans had one of the biggest highlights of the game, with an up-and-under slam in transition just before the half.

Second-year forward Jason Thompson out of Rider, who was solid last year in the summer league, also had 15 points for Sacramento.

The third game will feature the Lakers and Raptors, which means there will be plenty of purple and gold in the stands. The top storyline for the defending champs is fourth-year forward Adam Morrison out of Gonzaga.

His career started solid after Charlotte took him third overall in 2006, but after tearing his ACL in the early portion of his second season, he's gotten sidetracked. Last season, following a mid-year trade, he was relegated to being the token cheering-in-street-clothes-on-the-sideline guy during the Lakers title run.

Still, he gets a ring. That's not too shabby. Now he just wants to be on the roster again.

For Toronto, all eyes will be on high-flying rookie DeMar DeRozan out of Southern Cal. Paired up with second-year forward Brent Petway out of Michigan -- a.k.a. Air Georgia -- fireworks are highly likely.

3:18 p.m.

Stephen Curry couldn't keep the momentum going from his hot third quarter spurt, didn't score in the fourth and Golden State dropped its opener to Houston, 73-69.

Curry's final line: 16 points on 4-of-14 shooting with 4 turnovers, 3 assists, 2 steals and 7 fouls.

The most important thing to take away from his debut, though, was the fact that none of it got to him. Remember, the kid grew up in NBA locker rooms, hanging with his dad, Dell Curry. Warriors summer league coach Keith Smart even pointed out how important that is. The young man can carry himself like a pro, and that's more important than anything.

For Houston, Arizona product Chase Budinger looked solid in his pro debut, finishing with 11 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of run.

The best stat-line of the game belonged to Warriors second-year forward, who had 20 points and 10 boards (nevermind the 9 personal fouls). However, he disappeared late in the game offensively, as Golden State had multiple opportunities to close Houston out.

Game two features Detroit and Sacramento. That means the pro debuts for Kings first-rounder Tyreke Evans out of Memphis and Detroit first-round pick Austin Daye of Gonzaga.

Many called Daye, who at 6-foot-11 weighs barely 200 pounds, the biggest reach of this year's first round. Now he tries to disprove it.

2:24 p.m.

The Golden State Warriors erased an 8-point halftime deficit in the third quarter, and now lead 54-53 heading into the final frame.

Plenty of the credit goes to first-round pick Stephen Curry and free agent pickup Cartier Martin.

Curry, who struggled in his first professional half of basketball, turned it on in one key stretch, hitting a long, guarded two after coming off of a screen, then successfully defending a James White baseline jumper and finishing the series with a 3-pointer from the right wing on the way back up the floor.

Martin, who played his college ball at Kansas State, had a key and-one series which ultimately tied things back up.

1:58 p.m.

Stephen Curry's first half as a pro: 6 points on 2-of-6 shooting, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 fouls, lots of moments of confusion. But still, there's no question this kid's going to be a prolific offensive player in the league for a long time. That shooting stroke is beyond slick.

1:20 p.m.

The Rockets and Warriors are underway in the first game of the 2009 NBA Summer League.

During starting introductions, the loudest roar in the COX Pavilion came for Warriors rookie guard Stephen Curry, who was a SportsCenter regular and prolific scorer over the past three seasons at Davidson.

But the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft is getting a rough intro into the world of pro ball.

In his first 8:27 of run, he picked up 4 fouls and came away with 3 points and a bloody nose.

Curry showed off his feathery shooting touch from the outside in coming off of a screen to splash and early trey, but he's seeing right away that veteran players are going to try to rough him up a bit at this level. Call it a sign of respect, call it whatever you want. Either way, he'll have quite the test ahead of him over the next several days.

Instead, stealing the show is second-year Golden State forward Anthony Randolph.

Last summer, the LSU one-and-done looked meek at times and unsure of what he could do with his wiry 6-foot-10 frame.

Now, with a full year of NBA seasoning under his belt, he looks the complete opposite. With 12 points, a couple of gutsy outside jumpers and a pair of emphatic slams under his belt, he's drawn plenty of oohs and aahs. Also, it's worth noting that while he's still pretty thin, he looks notably more cut and has obviously added significant strength.

Be sure to stay tuned to www.lasvegassun.com throughout the summer league each day for running updates and features.

Still, though Houston leads 18-17 after one quarter of action.

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