The turnout for Monday’s first game was slightly smaller than in recent days, though attendance has been boosted by several children’s camps. And by Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni, the Knicks’ new czars, who watched as highly touted first-round pick Danilo Gallinari scored zero points in 18 minutes.
Former UNLV Rebel and current Cleveland Cavalier forward Romel Beck was helped off the court just after the second quarter tip, with tears in his eyes. Was it because he’d just been pulled from the Cavs game versus the New York Knicks? More likely, an errant finger to the eyes. Beck was helped to the back area and was tended to by medical officials, but returned to the bench by the end of the half.
Beck scored four points in 8:03 in the first quarter as the Cavaliers jumped to a 26-19 first-quarter lead over the Knicks in the first game of the day.
New York came back to take a 44-42 halftime edge, with Wilson Chandler and Anthony Roberson each chipping in 12 points.
NIGHT AND DAY
Cleveland’s Billy Thomas and J.J. Hickson might make for interesting roommates in Las Vegas.
Thomas is the NBA Summer League’s second oldest player, clocking in at 32, while Hickson is among the league’s youngest, at just 19.
After being undrafted out of Kansas in 1998, Thomas waited seven years to make his NBA debut, signing a 10-day contract with the New Jersey Nets in January 2005.
Thomas started last season with the NBDL’s Colorado 14ers and was selected to the All-Star game after averaging 15.7 points through 27 games. The New Jersey Nets signed him to a 10-day contract on Christmas Eve, and after four games with the Nets, he was signed by Cleveland on February 22 after the Cavs traded half their roster in a blockbuster, 11-player deal that netted Ben Wallace. That night, Thomas scored a career-high nine points.
Hickson’s journey to the NBA Summer League was a bit more immediate — Cleveland drafted the North Carolina State product with the 19th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, after he led all ACC freshmen in scoring at 14.8 points per game.
Hickson, who led the Cavs with 12 first-quarter points, delighted fans with a magnificent tip-dunk midway thorough the second quarter, skying above New York’s Renaldo Balkman and jamming it through the hoop.
If D’Antoni and Walsh aren’t pleased by Gallinari’s performance, Stephon Marbury must be downright furious. Marbury showed up at the game at the half and was hounded for autographs.