Sixers take summer tour to Vegas

ASSOCIATED PRESS Utah rookie Dante Exum drives to the basket against the Sixers during Saturday's summer-league game in Las Vegas.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Utah rookie Dante Exum drives to the basket against the Sixers during Saturday's summer-league game in Las Vegas.
Posted: July 15, 2014

LAS VEGAS - The summer-league train just keeps rolling for the 76ers, despite a whole new set of passengers.

Coming off a championship, five-game run in Orlando, they got another victory on Saturday at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, 74-70, against Dante Exum and the Utah Jazz.

Many of the names who played for the Sixers may be a bit unfamiliar, as Nerlens Noel was again held out for rest and second-round draft pick K.J. McDaniels was sidelined with a sprained ankle. So guard Sean Kilpatrick and second-round pick Jordan McRae stepped into the Las Vegas lights, and evenly split 40 points in the opener.

Kilpatrick, undrafted after 4 years at Cincinnati, is a flat-out scorer who averaged 20.6 points for the Bearcats in his final season. He is a streaky shooter, and isn't shy about getting his shot up. Saturday, he was 7-for-13, including 3-for-5 on three-pointers. He is solidly built at 220 pounds on his 6-4 frame and showed no fear of contact. The 24-year-old will have to show consistency in his shot and good shot selection throughout the week to get a shot at training camp, but Saturday was certainly a good start.

McRae exhibited much of the explosiveness that he did at Tennessee, flying all over the court and going strong to the basket much of the game, resulting in 12 free-throw attempts. Like Kilpatrick, McRae's shot selection was a bit questionable - he was 4-for-15 - but there weren't many other scoring options for the Sixers, so the two most aggressive players wound up getting the most shots.

When Noel will play again is somewhat of a mystery. Asked about it last night, neither coach Chad Iske nor Noel was able to say when he would be on the court again. It appears the Sixers are being overly cautious, not anything to do with Noel being hurt.

Noel, of course, missed the entire season recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in college. He last played last Wednesday in Orlando.

"It's all precautionary,'' Noel said. "It's both sides. I let them know how I'm feeling. I feel good for the most part and I know they're being careful of how many games I play in such a short amount of time. When the regular season comes around, there shouldn't be too many limitations at all.

"It's just sore legs and all, having to run up and down so much after not having to do it for so long. It takes a little bit of time to play back-to-back-to-back games. When I was at Kentucky, I was playing a lot of minutes then. You have to build back up to that.''

It also wouldn't be surprising if McDaniels sit for another couple days, including tonight's game against Andrew Wiggins and the Cleveland Cavaliers. McDaniels still looks a little slow on his sprained ankle, sustained in the second game in Orlando.

The team should get some help tonight as Casper Ware, who led the team in scoring in Orlando, is expected to be here in time for the game. Penn State product Tim Frazier and former Florida Gator Scottie Wilbekin shared most of the point duties on Saturday.

Much of the crowd at the home of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels was there for the Jazz, and their eyes were focused mostly on Exum, the 6-6 Australian guard whom they selected with the fifth pick in the draft. Many forecasted Exum being grabbed by the Sixers at No. 3 and anticipated some kind of move with Michael Carter-Williams. But the Sixers, of course, went with Joel Embiid and may have to wait a year to see how that pans out.

Exum was impressive in his pro debut. He exhibited a great feel for the game and, like MCW, uses his length extremely well to keep defenders at bay.

Las Vegas highlights

Doug McDermott scored 31 points as Chicago routed Denver in a game yesterday. McDermott, the college player of the year from Creighton, shot 7-for-12, 5-for-9 on threes and 12-for-12 at the line.

Los Angeles featured former Saint Joseph's star Delonte West, looking to make it back in the league after being out since 2012. West, who will turn 31 later this month, didn't impress in his 23-plus minutes.

Another former Hawk, Halil Kanacevic, started for the Denver Nuggets, a team that posted 110 points in the 40-minute game. In that game, Nugget Gary Harris went for 33 points. He was taken with the 19th pick. He looks like he could be a legitimate scorer in the real league.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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