At the end of the 2021-2022 NBA season, all eyes turned to the NBA Summer League, where several teams allowed rookies, sophomores, and G-League players to showcase their talent on the court.
For this year’s Summer League, the Portland Trail Blazers won the championship by beating the New York Knicks 85-77.
At this year’s Summer League, Portland played its third league game since 2017, winning the title for the second time.
Assistant coach Steve Hetzel coached the Trail Blazers as he led the team to their second Summer League title in five years.
Brandon Williams and Trendon Watford played a crucial role in the game, scoring 22 and 19 points, respectively.
Jabari Walker also stepped forward to take the title with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Watford amassed 19 points and seven rebounds, earning MVP honors.
“They made a run in I think the late third or fourth,” said the MVP. “We stuck together, and when we came back in, we turned it up, and I’m just proud of all these guys, man.”
“It was big time,” he added. “Our chemistry came together since day one, and I’m just proud of all these guys.”
Under the leadership of assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, the New York Knicks faced the challenge of displacing the Trail Blazers.
Five players contributed double figures, with Quentin Grimes scoring 19 points for the Knicks. Miles McBride followed with 17 points, while Jericho Sims scored 13.
Meanwhile, Feron Hunt and Micah Potter each scored ten points.
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Despite being a Summer League, the two teams still showed the usual fluctuations in the final: turnovers, missed shots, and sloppy performances before eventually settling into the game.
The game saw two minutes pass before Luka Garza broke the deadlock.
Portland maintained a strong defense but lacked the teeth to extend the lead and often lost the ball.
The Knicks found their rhythm and finished the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.
Throughout the Summer League, the Trail Blazers constantly shifted into the right gear in the second quarter.
They continued to do so as Watford and Brandon Williams delivered a performance that helped the team take the lead.
Watford scored five points, while Williams added eight. Meanwhile, Jabari Walker’s free throws helped Portland extend their lead.
Despite the Blazer’s excellent performance, the New York Knicks refused to be cornered, reducing the Blazers’ lead to 11 at the end of the quarter.
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The momentum continued for Portland as they made it difficult for the Knicks when on the defense while creating quality chances by producing quality ball movement.
One of the best moments of the match came when Didi Louzada made a brilliant pass to Keon Johnson, who spun and dunked, prompting the Knicks to call a timeout to regroup and find out how to throw Portland off and reduce their 16-point lead.
Quentin Grimes contributed to every successful play for the Knicks in the fourth, scoring some difficult shots.
However, the Blazers managed to keep them at bay and finished the quarter with a 14-point lead.
The final quarter saw the Knicks reduce the Blazer’s lead to seven, thanks to Grimes’ high work rate.
Portland had to scramble and regroup, but Brandon Williams decided to take matters into her own hands.
He scored nine points in the last seven minutes and contributed an assist and a rebound, finishing the game with an impressive 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block.
Despite the 14-point lead with two minutes left for the Portland Trail Blazers, the New York Knicks did everything they could to level the field.
Miles McBride’s three narrowed the lead to nine, while Grimes slashed the lead with some free throw shots and 49.5 seconds left on the clock.
The Blazers held the fort, killing time and forcing the Knicks to commit some fouls.
Four more free throws from Brandon Williams allowed them to maintain an 85-77 win, giving the Portland Trail Blazers the 85-77 win.
Blazers take down Knicks, win NBA 2K23 Summer League title