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Monte Morris shines as Nuggets edge Timberwolves to win Summer League opener

Harrison Wind Avatar
July 7, 2018

LAS VEGAS — If Summer League is indeed Monte Morris’ chance to earn the Nuggets’ backup point guard job, he certainly began the Las Vegas showcase on the right foot. Morris started at point guard for Denver in its opener, scored a team-high 15 points, ran the offense effectively in his 29 minutes and guided the Nuggets to a 70-69 win over the Timberwolves.

Morris’ scoring paced Denver, but it was also his command on the floor that shined Friday night. The 23-year-old tallied four assists to just one turnover and played under control throughout the game. He was also active on defense, picking up Minnesota’s ball handlers full court and applied pressure defense for the full 94 feet.

After Morris’ 13 first-half points got Denver out to a comfortable 40-32 lead, Denver then opened up a 21-point advantage through the third quarter before Minnesota went on a 19-4 run to trim the Nuggets’ margin to six at the 2:48 mark of the fourth. Denver held on to win by one as the Timberwolves’ potential buzzer-beating three was off.

Elsewhere for Denver, Malik Beasley finished with 10 points but struggled to shoot just 3-10 from the field. Beasley also turned the ball over five turnovers in 26 minutes. Vlatko Cancar looked polished in his Nuggets’ debut and scored 11 points on 4-9 shooting. Tyler Lydon finished a team-high plus-16 and tallied seven points and seven rebounds.

The Nuggets take on the Celtics Saturday at 8 p.m. in their second Summer League matchup.

Cancar solid in Nuggets debut

Cancar, the relatively unknown Slovenia wing, shined off the bench for Denver. Cancar is just 21 years old but showed off his unique feel for the game. Maybe it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise considering Cancar has been playing against quality competition overseas.

His performance Friday should lead to more minutes for the versatile forward.

Emmanuel Terry draws surprise start

Versatile forward Kenrich Williams ended training camp as the presumptive starter at small forward, but Emmanuel Terry, an undrafted wing out of Division II Lincoln Memorial University, got the nod at the three in Denver’s Summer Leauge opener. Terry was solid on the defensive end of the floor and showed off his athleticism on the first play of the second half when he was on the receiving end of a Beasley lob.

Williams played well too and finished with six points and a team-high eight rebounds in 16 minutes.

Nuggets showing support

Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Trey Lyles, Will Barton and Torrey Craig were all on hand to watch Denver’s Summer League opener. Murray sauntered into the gym midway through the first quarter wearing a pair of dark tinted sunglasses. Fourteenth overall pick Michael Porter Jr., who isn’t playing at Summer League, was in attendance too.

“He’s an elite talent. It’s just, first off, for him to get healthy. I know that he’s going to help our team immediately with the type of player he is,” Harris said of Porter during an in-game interview on NBATV. “For our style of play, he fits perfectly.”

Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell was also sitting courtside. He exchanged pleasantries with Beasley throughout the game. Hawks rookie point guard Trae Young took his courtside seat halfway through the second quarter to presumably show support for former Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins, who started at point guard for Minnesota.


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