LAS VEGAS -- Dallas Mavericks scoring leader, Josh Akognon, once again dominated the charge with 24 points in their first-round matchup of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
How it happened: Dallas changed its starting lineup; Akognon coming off the bench was the biggest change. With Dallas’ second unit struggling in the preliminary round, they felt bringing Akognon in with the second unit would deliver a spark. The move paid off as he scored six points in five minutes in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, turnovers put the Mavs in an early hole in the first quarter. They were able to battle back and stay within striking distance. They had a total of eight turnovers in the first quarter for 14 Clippers points.
Things turned from an unexpected source in the second quarter. Earning his first start of the summer league, Jackie Carmichael provided a strong effort on both ends of the floor. He scored seven of his nine first-half points in the second quarter. He also chipped in with four rebounds in the period. The bench propelled Dallas in the second quarter. The reserves scored 22 of the team’s 44 points in the first half.
The action went back and forth to start the second half. As Gal Mekel struggled to get things going, as he had in the previous games, Jae Crowder stepped up as a facilitating force for the team. He attacked and defended well.
Neither team could build any separation in the final quarter. A 3 by Mekel and a three-point play by Crowder gave Dallas an 82-76 lead with 3:13 left in the game. After having a sluggish start to the game, Mekel found creases in the Clippers’ D and made them pay with made jumpers and assists.
What it means: With the win, Dallas moves on to the second round and meets the top-seeded Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. The Warriors hold a summer league record with 10 consecutive victories. The game will be played at 9:30 p.m. CT. The Mavs must win four more games in the next five days to be LVSL champion.
Mavs player of the game: Jackie Carmichael did well as the starting power forward for Dallas. He quietly put together a 23-point effort. He also added nine rebounds in the victory. With Bernard James back in Dallas due to personal reasons, the team needed someone to step up in the middle; Carmichael answered the challenge.
Stat of the night: Mavs summer league coach Monte Mathis implored his team to do a better job of protecting the basketball. Dallas struggled with its control in the first quarter, turning the ball over eight times. The Mavs had five more turnovers for the remainder of the game.