Emotions were high as week 3 of the Houston Summer ProAm League tipped off.
Top-seeded Flight 713 defeated Nuff Said 76-66 in a close match. Both teams came in to the game undefeated.
Jonathon Simmons, who recently signed a three-year deal with the Orlando Magic, is averaging 31 points in his last two games and dominated the stats for Flight 713. Decorey Young, lead scorer for Nuff Said, earned 15 points in last week’s win over 832.
Flight 713 got off to an early lead in the first quarter outscoring Nuff Said 12-0. Nuff Said cut into the lead and went into halftime down six points, 32-26. Leading scorers in the first half for Flight 713 were Zane Knowles, with seven points and six rebounds, and Simmons, with six points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Returning from the half, Flight 713 maintained their pace for the last two quarters, led by J’Covan Brown, who currently plays overseas and was a former guard at the University of Texas. He finished the night with 20 points.
Simmons, while pleased with his team’s win, still saw room for improvement in his own game, as he finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
“I rate my performance as an ‘F’ today, but we was able to get the win,” said Simmons. “We had a couple of guys that stepped up big for us and that’s what we needed. In order to win the league, [we need] guys to step up big every night.”
In the second game of the evening, Houston Flight executed solid defense against It’s Jus Us to begin the first period getting out to an early nine-point lead.
Jermaine Green of It’s Jus Us landed a shot from behind the arc at the buzzer going into halftime to cut Houston Flight’s lead to six, 31-25.
First-half leaders in game two were Josh Hagins (Houston Flight), guard for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League, with 10 points, followed by Isaiah Canaan (Houston Flight) at nine points, two rebounds and two assists. For It’s Jus Us, Green earned 10 points in the first.
Coming out of halftime, It’s Jus Us quickly snatched boards and attempted to take over the tempo of the game with Andrew Fitzgerald scoring 12 points in the third quarter. Canaan maintained Houston Flight’s lead as he increased the intensity by creating open looks for his team and shooting 11-for-13 at the free throw line.
The fourth quarter proved to be one of the most exciting quarters in the summer league thus far, as fans enjoyed five lead changes and ties in the last two minutes.
Early in the final period, It’s Jus Us cut Houston Flight’s lead to one, and after two solid defensive stops, they earned their first lead of the night with nine minutes remaining in regulation.
After a quick timeout from Coach Wilkinson of Houston Flight, Brandon Swannegan committed his fifth foul and was sent back to the bench in the short 30 seconds that he was on the court. He finished the night with six points and two rebounds.
Houston Flight, while maintaining a high level of intensity throughout the quarter, could not get their shots to fall in the end.
Fitzgerald, who finished the night with 26 points, and It’s Jus Us maintained their lead in the last two minutes of the game and ultimately defeated Houston Flight 62-58 for their first victory in the summer league.
Canaan, who earned 24 points in the game with 15 of those coming in the second half, shared his assessment on the team’s efforts in the tough loss.
“For the majority of the game, we were doing what we were supposed to do,” said Canaan. “Toward the end, we kind of got careless with the ball and started taking bad shots which cost us down the stretch.”
Looking ahead to next game for Houston Flight, Canaan described the importance of staying focus on each play in tight matches.
“[We need to] take care of the ball; stay focused the whole game; not be so caught up in what the score is and just finish the game strong, the way we started off,” said Canaan.
After day five of the Houston Summer ProAm League, the standings are as follows:
It’s Jus Us
Summer ProAm action continues Wednesday, July 17 at the Fonde Rec Center, which is set to feature first-round draft pick De’Aaron Fox and three intense games.
photo credit: Espn.com