Nolan Smith took an inadvertent elbow from Zoran Dragic as he went up for a lay-up with 46 seconds left in Tuesday’s Summer League match-up against the Houston Rockets. Smith took two steps and then fell to the ground where he was attended by the Blazers’ training staff for several minutes before being taken off the court, immobilized on a stretcher. Smith was taken to a local Las Vegas Hospital and he was released according to the Portland Trail Blazers Public Relations twitter account. They also said he never lost consciousness and that he is doubtful for the remainder of Summer League.
As for the game, Portland struggled for the majority of it because of Houston’s size advantage. They struggled on the boards all night as Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones and Royce White had 12 boards apiece. The Rockets outrebounded the Blazers 52-31. The Blazers bigs were demolished inside and the Blazers leading rebounders were the backcourt tandem of Lillard and Smith with 5.
We saw more greatness from Damian Lillard. Lillard was dazzling again showing his ability to score in different ways. Lillard scored 27 points, going 9-21 and 5-10 from three to go along with 3 assists. His ability to shoot threes off the dribble with players in his face and absorb contact at the rim were what stood out the most. He also had a beautiful assist to his bro Myers Leonard for an alley-oop off a pick-and-roll late in the game.
Luke Babbitt didn’t follow up his solid performance from the previous game and Myers Leonard, despite again showing his motor, showed that he will have trouble against stronger big-men. Will Barton again showed his ability to get to the rack but he hasn’t been able to finish and shot 2-12. However, Barton showed great activity on the defensive end and again showed that with his ability to get to the basket he can also create for others, getting 5 assists.
Nolan Smith had a very efficient game before his nasty fall. He scored 27 points on 10-16 shooting and also tied for the team lead in assists with 5. Unfortunately for Smith this summer league has been marred by injury. He scored 10 points very quickly in the last game before hurting his ankle, which he worked so hard to come back from.
Thankfully, Smith is okay, but it is truly a shame we won’t see more of him the rest of this summer league.
After hearing about how much treatment he received and how badly he wanted to get back for the game against the Rockets, it’s probably safe to say nobody feels worse than he does.
The Blazers’ next summer league game is Thursday at 3 against the Atlanta Hawks.