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November 27, 2014

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NBA Day 10: Somebody give Marcus Williams a job

A former standout at UConn and first round pick of the New Jersey Nets, Marcus Williams apparently has no desire to play another year of pro ball away from the mainland.

After stints with both the Nets and the Warriors, Williams -- who trains with Joe Abunassar at the Impact Academy in Vegas over the summer months -- played in Puerto Rico last season.

The Grizzlies will have to take another look or two at him after he helped lift their summer league squad to a perfect 5-0 mark. He sealed the deal with a guarded, driving layup with :0.04 left at Cox Pavilion to boost Memphis to a 76-75 victory over San Antonio.

Williams had 11 points and 5 assists in the victory, and his entire body of work over five games was certainly impressive.

It was highlighted by a 17-assist performance against Oklahoma City last Sunday. For the week, he averaged 13.4 points and 8.2 assists per game. He had 41 assists in total compared to just 11 turnovers, with 6 of those giveaways coming in his final game alone.

So Memphis and Houston will be the only two teams to finish this year's summer league undefeated. So, brief tangent ...

Don't you wish they had something like a four-team playoff for the four best teams at the end of this thing? After sitting here for 10 days, I can tell you I'd love to see one involving Memphis, Houston, Milwaukee and Golden State. It'd make this whole summer league worth a little more, I think.

As for the summer league finale between the Clippers and Suns, which pit brothers Blake Griffin (LA) and Taylor Griffin (Phoenix) against one another, well, it was kind of a dud.

Blake was awarded summer league MVP honors before the game began, and his 16-point, 8-rebound, 4-assist showing gave him averages of 19.2 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 3.2 apg over the course of his five games in Vegas.

However, Griffin was not the Sun's choice for summer league MVP. Want to know who it is? Tune back into lasvegassun.com tomorrow to find out, plus see who made our all-summer league first and second teams and others deserving mention while looking back on 10 very exciting days.

Adams gets another 'DNP' in Knicks summer league finale

3:36 p.m.

Wink Adams -- the sixth all-time leading scorer in UNLV history -- earned his fourth 'DNP' in five summer league games with the Knicks, as New York finished up its venture to Vegas with an 89-84 loss to the Washington Wizards. The Knicks finished the summer league a perfect 0-5.

Adams played in just one game, registering 2 rebounds and missing his only shot attempt in a 23-point loss to Detroit on Wednesday. What does this mean for Wink? Most likely he'll have to try to land a contract overseas, which shouldn't be a problem.

For more on Adams, who still remains as positive as ever, read the feature Rob Miech wrote about him last night.

Summer league scoring title will belong to Warriors’ Randolph

1:52 p.m.

Washington's Nick Young is in street clothes today for the Wizards, meaning the only guy with a shot at catching Golden State's Anthony Randolph for this year's summer league scoring title will essentially forfeit that.

Randolph appears likely to finish as the MVP of the summer league, as he averaged 26.8 points, 8.5, 3 blocks and 2.2 steals per game in four appearances for the Warriors.

His best game -- a 42-point output which tied the old summer league single-game scoring record -- last Tuesday was outdone two days later while he sat out the Warriors' finale against New Orleans, as teammate Anthony Morrow scored 47 on 18-of-26 shooting.

The reason I mention that is that while Young is out, second-year Wiz center JaVale McGee -- a former UNR standout -- has 24 points at the break in the day's first game as Washington leads New Yorik, 51-47.

UNLV grad Wink Adams has yet to enter the game today for the Knicks, and it doesn't appear likely that that will change.

Major final day storylines aplenty

9:44 a.m.

We're still a few hours from the official start of the NBA summer league's final day, but when you're excited, you're excited.

I'm excited right now, so lets jump into some of the storylines to keep tabs on for the 2009 showcase's final day.

The quest for (meaningless?) perfection

Some teams at the summer league don't appear to play as a team at all. Some appear to truly, genuinely want to win.

The ones who fit the latter typically do win. Two examples this year have been Houston, who went 5-0, and Milwaukee, who was within 1 point against Toronto of going 5-0.

A third team striving for perfection in games that some outsiders consider meaningless is Memphis. But don't tell that to the Grizzlies, who have played at a faster pace and with more intensity than just about any other squad in Vegas over the last 10 days.

Yesterday, they thumped Phoenix, 97-60, and all that stands in their way now is 3-1 San Antonio, who suffered its first setback last night against Portland. That game tips at 5 p.m. at Cox Pavilion.

What's been the key to success for Memphis? Stellar point guard play and a wealth of size.

Veteran free agent point guard Marcus Williams -- who lives and trains in Las Vegas during the summer months -- looks to be right at home. He's averaging 14 points, 9 assists and 4.8 rebounds for the Grizz.

7-foot-3 rookie center Hasheem Thabeet hasn't been awe-inspiring in his first week of pro ball, but forwards Darrell Arthur, DeMarre Carroll and Sam Young have picked up the slack.

MVP Watch

Usually, the summer league MVP honors to go the top scorer. Right now, that is Anthony Randolph, who in four games for Golden State averaged 26.8 points to go with 8.5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2.2 steals.

His week was highlighted by a record-tying 42-point effort on Tuesday, only to be bested by teammate Anthony Morrow two days later, when he scored a summer league record 47 against New Orleans.

Randolph right now is probably the choice for MVP, but Washington's Nick Young -- even if he can't catch Randolph for MVP honors -- can grab the scoring title with one game to go.

Through four games, he's averaging 23.8 points per. By my calculations, he'd need to score 39 points today in his 1 p.m. finale at Cox Pavilion against New York to grab the top spot.

Don't be quick to bet against the third-year guard out of Southern Cal, who scored 36 points in the Wizards' opener against Cleveland on Tuesday.

Brother, brother

The summer league finishes with a dash of intrigue, as the Clippers and Suns square off at Thomas & Mack.

That contest pits brothers Blake and Taylor Griffin against one another, in a matchup the two said they've been talking about for quite awhile. Blake, two years younger than his brother and former Oklahoma teammate, said on Monday that he honestly couldn't remember the last time the two played against each other in a real game.

The two have had very different summer league experiences so far.

Blake is the known quantity. He came in that way, he's leaving that way.

The No. 1 overall pick in last month's draft is averaging 20 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, as fans have shown up in force to watch him play every time. Tonight should be no different. Last night, Clippers point guard Baron 'Boom Dizzle' Davis was seated courtside next to Clips coach Mike Dunleavy.

For Taylor, who the Suns took in the second round, he's having a tough time transitioning from playing the power forward slot at OU to being an NBA small forward.

He's hesitated to pull the trigger on outside shots, but he's looked pretty smooth in every other area, including handling the ball, rebounding and running the fast break. He's averaging 6.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game so far for Phoenix.

The Griffin showdown tips off at 7:30 p.m.

And as has been the case all week, stay tuned to the blog for updates as they develop throughout the day.

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