We got into Las Vegas just in time to see the game last night. The whole experience is moderately surreal. Instead of actually writing about the game (which seems like kind of an afterthought, really), I thought I'd throw out some random remarks about the players and setting.
The best player on the court was clearly Marcus Thornton. He was everywhere – explosive on offense, always in the passing lane on defense, hitting big shots, and generally doing everything for the Hornets. He finished with 23 points, leading all scorers, with 3 steals and no turnovers.
Darren Collison played excellent, as well. He played reasonably good defense and ran the court well. He finished with 7 assists and 9 points, committing only 2 turnovers.
Quincy Pondexter showed off his athleticism at both ends of the court. He played defense on a variety of players, from short and quick guys to taller guys who were threats to post up. On the offensive end, he looked a bit out of sorts and not in the flow of the offense. That seemed to be the case for Brackins, as well, and it might take some getting used to the players and sets for Pondexter to really thrive. He still was the second leading scorer for the Hornets, knocking down 14 points, shooting 3-9 from the floor and nabbing 6 rebounds. One strange thing: he appeared to always go to the right hand side of the court.
Craig Brackins was a bit more iffy. It was exciting to finally see him play and get a feel for his game. Brackins is loathe to enter the post and vastly prefers to hover around the three point line, looking to shoot from range almost immediately. He displayed some low post moves in the game, but was unable to finish them. He didn't rebound well, either, grabbing only 5 boards. On defense, he was usually matched up against a big man for the Warriors, and he was able to keep his man away from the basket for the majority of the time. All in all, though, Brackins had an inauspicious start to his Hornets career.
There were some nice surprises off the bench. Kyle Hines was the Hornets leading rebounder by a mile (12 reb), even though he is only 6'6". He even finished with 9 points, most of which he got from the free throw line. He was aware on defense and was able to mark a variety of players. Hines really impressed in that game.
The other standout off the bench was Sean Sonderleiter. He was particularly impressive on defense, where he was constantly calling out screens and directing his teammates, all while showing good awareness and doing a good job switching and rotating. On offense, he was able to seal his defender away from the basket and create easy passing lanes for entry passes from the guards, which resulted in some easy layups for Sonderleiter. Don't think he's the next great talent, though: he'll be 30 in December.
Maurice Ager had a particularly bad day, finishing with no points, one rebound, and three personal fouls. He looked clueless on offense and defense and didn't inspire confidence. He was one of the first players off the bench but only wound up playing 11 minutes. We'll see if he gets more as Summer League rolls on.
Jeff Bower and Monty Williams were in attendance today, among other Hornets luminaries. Monty took notes throughout the game on a pad of paper, and talked to the coaches before they went into the dressing area before halftime.
We talked to Darren Collison and Monty Williams after the game, and we'll have more details about their experiences with Summer League as well as some nice photos of the game as the weekend continues.