Wiggins and Cavs top Noel and Sixers in Vegas

Nerlens Noel, in action last week in Orlando, collected 12 points, six rebounds, and a game-high four blocks Monday in his Las Vegas summer-league debut.
Nerlens Noel, in action last week in Orlando, collected 12 points, six rebounds, and a game-high four blocks Monday in his Las Vegas summer-league debut. (   JOHN RAOUX / AP)
Posted: July 16, 2014

LAS VEGAS - Nerlens Noel's latest summer-league sighting went as expected.

The 76ers center ran the floor well, made an array of baskets, and blocked shots. But on Monday night, his heroics took a backseat to Andrew Wiggins in Cleveland's 86-77 NBA Summer League victory at Cox Pavilion.

The 6-foot-8 swingman out of Kansas showed flashes of the athleticism that enticed the Cavaliers into making him the first overall pick in the NBA draft.

First there was his spin move that ended with a two-handed baseline jam to give the Cavs a 40-27 lead with 2 minutes, 56 seconds remaining in the first half. Moments later, Wiggins blocked a Noel layup while providing help defense. Then he leaped and stole a pass by Casper Ware that led to a dunk by fellow Canadian Anthony Bennett late in the half.

Wiggins finished with 10 points, three rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots in 28 minutes.

Noel had 12 points, six rebounds, two steals, and a game-high four blocked shots in his fourth summer-league appearance. It was the 6-11, 223-pounder's first game since he played Wednesday in the Orlando Pro Summer League.

Noel's defensive timing and conditioning are improving with each game. He altered several shots and forced players to pass the ball while driving the lane. The Cavs also had problems with his quick hands on the defensive end.

Noel, however, gave his effort a C grade.

"I just felt I wasn't active enough," said the Kentucky product, who holds himself to a high standard. "I felt my energy was a little down. I've got to stay up on that even through the little cough and cold that I have. So I've got to keep building my stamina.

"I feel when I really get to the point I feel my legs are really under me, and I'm moving a lot better, and I can play a whole quarter [without coming out], that's when I feel I'll be able to implement all of my active abilities."

Swingman Jordan McRae led the Sixers with 18 points and a game-high four steals. The second-round draft pick made 8 of 9 foul shots.

Grant impresses

Jerami Grant, another rookie, continued to show why the Sixers think he was a second-round steal.

The 6-8 rookie forward had eight points, four rebounds, and two steals in 13 minutes of action. It marked his fifth consecutive solid game; Grant has played in both the Orlando and Las Vegas leagues.

After scoring a total of four points in the first two games in Orlando, he scored 12 points apiece in the tourney's final three games. Then Grant had four points, a team-high nine rebounds, and one blocked shot Saturday in Las Vegas.

"I think it has something to do with my comfort level," Grant said of the stretch of productive games. "As my comfort level goes up, I will be able to show more of what I can do on the offensive and defensive ends."

One thing that aided his comfort level was not being force-fed the small-forward position.

Grant, who played power forward in college, was drafted to play on the wing. But for now, the Sixers don't want him worrying about a position. Instead, they just want him to go out there and hustle.

"Right now, I'm playing whatever they want me to play," Grant said. "Probably when the season comes around, I will be out there playing [small forward] when I'm in the games. But right now, I'm just playing anything."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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