Ben McLemore’s fifth and final 2013 NBA Summer League game proved to be his finest on Friday in Las Vegas.
McLemore, a 6-foot-5 former Kansas University guard, erupted for 27 points — 19 in the third quarter — in the Sacramento Kings’ 93-87 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft hit 10 of 21 shots, including two of eight three-pointers, with nine rebounds, four turnovers and no assists.
McLemore also had a highlight-reel dunk following a drive down the lane as the Kings improved to 1-4.
“This whole summer league, my shot wasn’t falling,” McLemore told NBA.com. He had entered the game 16 of 57 from the field for 28 percent. “I had to make some adjustments, get some extra shots in, watch some film. I had to keep shooting the ball. It turned out good for me,” he added.
The key was, “taking my time, letting the game come to me,” said McLemore, who had missed all eight shots and scored just a point in the Kings’ previous game.
Perhaps he was motivated by Kings’ coach Michael Malone’s challenge to McLemore and second-round draft pick Ray McCallum.
Malone told the Sacramento Bee that both players need to be “a lot more mentally tough and focused in what we’re trying to do.” He said some of the work in practice had not been carrying over into games.
“We’ve just got to lock down on defense. That was our biggest thing when we got here for training camp and that coach Malone stressed,” McLemore said.
Eight for Elijah: Former KU guard Elijah Johnson scored eight points and dished one assist against two turnovers in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 91-80 loss to the New York Knicks on Friday at the Las Vegas Summer League. Johnson hit three of 13 shots, including two of 11 three-pointers while playing 18 minutes.
Withey has two blocks: Former KU center Jeff Withey scored four points off 1-of-4 shooting with six rebounds and two blocks while playing 20 minutes in New Orleans’ 78-77 loss to Washington.
Releford goes for two: Former KU guard Travis Releford scored two points off 1-of-2 shooting with three rebounds and two assists against no turnovers while playing 17 minutes in Denver’s 91-84 loss to Memphis.