China, Croatia fall in NBA summer league debuts
The Chinese and Croatian national teams both lost in their NBA Summer League debuts on Friday.
Both teams are competing with NBA teams in Las Vegas, marking the first time the league will feature two international teams. China previously played in the summer league in 2007.
The Miami Heat had no troubles with China, jumping out to a 34-point halftime lead and cruising to a 103-62 victory behind 23 points from Tyler Herro and 20 points from Nick Mayo. Miami held China to 26.7 percent shooting in the first half, and outrebounded the Chinese 25-15 before intermission.
There were estimates that at least 30 million people in China - even though the game started at 4:30 a.m. Saturday in Beijing - would be watching their national team.
"I know China loves the game and they take a lot of pride in their national team," said Heat guard Duncan Robinson, who had 14 points. "So it was an incredible opportunity for us to be able to compete against them."
The Heat had some idea of what the Chinese team would be doing.
Heat summer coach Eric Glass had been in touch with members of the team's scouts familiar with Asian basketball, and were able to put together some semblance of a scouting report.
"We talk a lot about the purpose you have when you play the game," Glass said. "These guys not only have individual purpose but they're wearing their country across their chest. So it was a great challenge for us to go against people who have a double purpose."
Zhelin Wang had 12 points and 14 rebounds for China (0-1), which shot just 23 percent from 3-point range.
Detroit (1-0) got seven 3-pointers and 26 points from Khyri Thomas and pulled away from Croatia in the fourth quarter for a 96-80 win. Svi Mykhailiuk from Ukraine added 17 points and five assists, and Todd Withers had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Pistons.
Croatia (0-1) was outrebounded 37-26.
Two late games were halted in the second half because of an earthquake that struck Southern California. The New York Knicks-New Orleans Pelicans game, the NBA debuts for No. 1 pick Zion Williamson and No. 3 pick RJ Barrett, was called with 7:53 left and New Orleans leading 80-74.
The Orlando-San Antonio game was canceled for precautionary reasons with the Magic leading 75-59 after three quarters. The late game at the Thomas & Mack Center involving Phoenix and Denver was not played.
76ERS 107, BUCKS 106
The 76ers (1-0) jumped out to 17-point lead at halftime and held on to beat the Bucks behind 19 points from Marial Shayok and 16 from Jalen Jones. Christ Koumadje had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks in 14 minutes, an encouraging start for the 76ers' 7-foot-4 rookie center from Florida State.
The Bucks (0-1) got 25 points and 10 rebounds from Jock Landale, and Bonzie Colson chipped in with 22 points. Division II player of the year Daulton Hommes led the Bucks' fourth-quarter comeback, as the former Point Loma star scored 18 points of 6-of-8 shooting off the bench. But two late turnovers by the Bucks sealed their fate.
TIMBERWOLVES 85, CAVALIERS 75
Keita Bates-Diop scored 17 points and Kelan Murphy had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves (1-0). Josh Okogie added 14 points, making all 10 free throw attempts. Jarrett Culver, whose draft rights were acquired by Minnesota in a trade, isn't allowed to join the team until after Saturday when the trade is made official.
Dylan Windler, one of three first-round 2019 draft picks for the Cavaliers (0-1) on the roster, was 6 of 13 from the floor and had 15 points and eight rebounds. Cleveland's other two first-round picks, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., did not play while recovering from injuries.
Naz Mitrou-Long had 14 points for Cleveland (0-1).
MAVERICKS 96, NETS 92
Antonius Cleveland was 7 of 12 from the field and scored 22 points as the Mavericks (1-0) held off the Nets. Cameron Payne had 18 points and Daryl Macon added 16 as Dallas won despite shooting 43 percent from the field.
Jarrett Allen was one of five Brooklyn starters in double figures. Allen had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Theo Pinson had 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. Josh Gray and Rodions Kurucs each had 14 points for the Nets (0-1). Nic Claxton had two points in 13 points.
BULLS 96, LAKERS 76
Bulls second-round pick Daniel Gafford had 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and first-round pick Coby White had 17 points despite missing all seven shots from beyond the 3-point arc as the Bulls hammered the Lakers.
The Lakers (0-1) shot 29.6 percent. Zach Norwell Jr. had 15 points, while Devontae Cacok had 12 and 10 rebounds. Los Angeles' Talen Horton-Tucker will not play during summer league due to a stress reaction in his foot.
HORNETS 93, WARRIORS 85
Dwayne Bacon and Devonte' Graham combined for 46 points and seven 3-pointers to lead Charlotte (1-0). Bacon was 9 of 20 from the field for 25 points and four of Graham's five field goals were from 3-point range.
All five starters for the Warriors (0-1) scored in double digits, led by Jordan Poole's 15.
Each team made 11 3-pointers on a combined 74 attempts.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.
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