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July 28, 2014

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NBA Day 9: Beaubois leads Mavs to first summer victory

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Dallas rookie guard Rodrigue Beaubois, from Guadeloupe, France, led the Mavericks with a 17-point average in five games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

One of our favorite players in the NBA Summer League finished with a flurry Saturday afternoon inside the Cox Pavilion.

Rodrigue Beaubois, the first-round draft pick by Dallas, ensured that the Mavericks wouldn’t go winless this summer with 23 points in a 73-54 victory over Oklahoma City.

The Thunder finished 0-5.

Beaubois, whose name is pronounced rod-REEG bow-BWAH, is a 6-foot-2, 182-pound floor general from Guadeloupe, France, has tremendous athleticism -- a 40-inch vertical jump and a 6-10 wingspan. He played for Cholet Basket in the top French division last season.

He sank 9 of his 12 shots, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and had 5 assists and 3 rebounds again the Thunder. He led Dallas in scoring with a 17-point average in Las Vegas.

“He’s fast, he can handle the ball and he made a lot of great decisions toward the end of the Summer League,” said Dallas forward Shan Foster. “The last two, three games, he made great decisions. He improved as a player here, and that’s what this is all about – improving game by game and getting better.”

A 3-pointer by Beaubois put Dallas ahead, 42-31, he darted down the court and took it in strong for a dunk to make it 53-35 and his 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Mavs a 53-35 edge.

That was halfway through the third quarter, and Beaubois sat the rest of the way. Twenty-three points in 22 1/2 minutes is pretty slick.

“I think I made some good things happen,” he said in broken English. “But I don’t think I was consistent enough. I did well in some games, but I need to be more consistent.”

He injured a knee halfway through the league, but it wasn’t serious. Mavs general manager Donnie Nelson isn't sure if Beaubois is ready to crack the Dallas roster.

"I think this year is asking a lot, but you never know," Nelson told the Dallas Morning News. "The NBA is kind to athletes, and he's a big-time athlete."

The 21-year-old jet said the best thing he does is run the floor.

“I try to do what I can do,” said Beaubois, laughing, about entertaining fans. “Yeah, I play my game. I have things to learn. I have to do better with the time coach gives me. I have to be ready for that.”

Foster enjoys every moment

3:33 p.m.

Foster, the former Vanderbilt star whose first name is pronounced Shane, chipped in with 14 points for the Mavs. That more than doubled his Vegas average.

He went 5-for-8 from the field, nailed 3 of his 5 shots from 3-point range, had 3 assists, 2 rebounds, a steal and no turnovers.

Foster always was quick with a bear hug for friends and professors at Vandy, where he often could be found playing gospel music on a piano.

He fed his inquisitive nature last season by playing for Eldo Caserta, a 15-minute drive from Naples, Italy. Eldo went 11-19, but Foster beamed about the experience.

Five family members stayed with him in an extended visit.

“Seeing another part of the world and experiencing a new culture was fantastic,” said Vandy’s all-time scoring leader. “My favorite part was the island of Capri. Amazing.”

So amazing, his mentor, Bishop Joseph Walker of Nashville, took Foster’s advice and honeymooned on the exotic isle.

“It’s just a beautiful place,” Foster said. “I can’t even describe it. The water is so blue. There are great mountains. There’s a cave called The Blue Iguana. The people are so nice, so are the gelato and pasta.”

Foster was relieved that Dallas finally won a summer game.

“It was a grind,” he said. “We wanted to come out here and show that we weren’t happy with losing four games. We had great effort from the jump, it carried over from yesterday’s practice.”

Flynn scores, but Hornets get the win

7:04 p.m.

Jonny Flynn had been one of the distribution stars at the Summer League, but Minnesota sputtered when Flynn was forced to produce some points.

New Orleans defeated the Timberwolves, 100-96, as former Creighton forward Anthony Tolliver scored a team-best 20 points.

Flynn led everyone with 24 points, but he had only four assists and turned it over six times. Flynn had entered the game second in the Summer League with 8.7 assists a game.

Minnesota had 10 assists and 19 turnovers. The Timberwolves had 17 assists and 13 turnovers. Both teams are 1-3.

Grizzlies roar over Suns

6:54 p.m.

Former Connecticut guard Marcus Williams showed why he’s been a top playmaker this summer in Memphis’ 97-60 thumping of Phoenix at Cox.

Williams recorded 11 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists to give the Grizzlies a 4-0 record in Las Vegas. Ex-Pitt forward Sam Young contributed 20 points.

Goran Dragic led the Suns (2-2) with 17 points. Former Stanford star Robin Lopez missed all four of his shots in the drubbing.

A Bullish fourth quarter

5:20 p.m.

Chicago zapped New York with a 30-17 edge in the fourth quarter Saturday to give the Bulls a 90-84 victory.

James Johnson, the burgeoning MMA star, tallied 20 points for Chicago and Brandon Costner poured in 21 off the bench.

Morris Almond and Jordan Hill scored 16 apiece for the Knicks, who fell to 0-4 in the Summer League. For the third time in four games, former UNLV guard Wink Adams didn’t leave the Knicks’ bench.

Sternberg update

1:28 p.m.

His day job is in marketing for UNLV athletics, but Brian Sternberg did a fine job as the p.a. ace in two games Friday at the Cox Pavilion.

He felt much more comfortable in his second game, and the positive feedback might land him more mic time next season at the Summer League.

The funniest moment of his two games was when Washington guard Javaris Crittenton yelled at Sternberg, to correctly pronounce his name, from across the court. "Yo, get the name right!" Crittenton said.

It must have upset Crittenton just being on the UNLV campus. Two years ago, Kevin Kruger and the Rebels eliminated Crittenton's Georgia Tech squad from the first round of the NCAAs in Chicago.

Thanks for coming, Javaris.

Can Young catch Randolph in scoring?

12:49 p.m.

Only two more days. Does it all have to end so soon?

Eight days of the NBA Summer League have flown by, and the next-to-last day tips off at the top of the hour, pitting Dallas against Oklahoma City, here at Cox Pavilion.

Dallas is 0-4. Hopefully they don’t turn in another sour performance before Mark Cuban, their owner. The Thunder also is 0-4.

Another defeat might guarantee double the suicides we watched them run late Thursday night after they were beaten by Cleveland.

At 3 in Cox, Wink Adams will try to get into a game for the New York Knicks. He has seven minutes so far this summer, and all of that was in the second of the Knicks’ three games.

Chicago (1-2) will battle New York (0-3).

The 5 p.m. game here is Memphis-Phoenix. The Grizzlies (3-0) feature point man Marcus Williams, a third-year player out of Connecticut.

We’ll take a closer look at Williams during his game.

The big game is at Cox at 7, featuring the D-League Select squad (2-1) against Denver (2-1). We are hoping the D-Leaguers are at full strength with Othyus Jeffers (strained hip flexor) and Trey Johnson (right heel bruise).

Those two never left the bench Thursday night in the Thomas & Mack Center. Still, they made it a game with Phoenix until the final 90 seconds.

The Cox, by the way, is the featured arena here. The Mack might be a bigger stage, but the Cox is more fan-friendly and more TV-friendly.

At 3:30 in the Mack, Minnesota (1-2) plays New Orleans (0-3). At 5:30, it’s the Clippers (2-1) vs. Washington (1-2). And at 7:30, it’s Portland (0-3) vs. San Antonio (3-0).

Anthony Randolph continues to lead all scorers with 26.8 points a game, and Nick Young of the Wizards has a chance to top Randolph because the Warriors are done playing.

Young is at 25.3 ppg.

We will take an extra look at former Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn, who’s averaging 8.7 assists, today for the Timberwolves, too. He had a wrap-around pass Friday that was a thing of beauty.

If you’re close by the UNLV campus, get over here. For $25, it’s all the air conditioning you can handle.

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