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Summer League: Best game in Vegas history?

Sacramento Kings face off against the Orlando Magic and this year’s No. 1 pick.

2022 Las Vegas Summer League - Orlando Magic v Sacramento Kings Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

This two-and-a-half hour sudden death matchup of two top four picks lived up to the hype. The Sacramento Kings faced off against the Orlando Magic and the man picked three spots ahead of Keegan Murray, Paolo Banchero. Despite an inspired comeback the Kings were unable to walk away with the win, losing to the Magic by a score of 94-92.

A real nail-biter, this was a very exciting game from the tip. After being down almost 20 points in the fourth, the Kings were able to force overtime after a Banchero turnover led to a Murray buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

Tied 87-87, Keon Ellis drove in for the win but was denied at the rim by former Stockton King Emanuel Terry to force sudden death. After the Magic won the tip, Banchero turned the ball over again. The Kings again chose Ellis to drive in, though this time he passed it to Neemias Queta who then gets blocked by Banchero after a lengthy review.

In the end, Terry called game with a tough layup.

Throughout the game, both of the Summer League stars went at it guarding each other often and giving the fans the show they came to see. Banchero had a number of highlight plays and finished with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks, showing everyone why he was selected first overall.

Murray quietly had a really good game and let the league know why he deserved to be a top pick. He walked away with 20 points, shooting 4-of-8 from 3 while continuing to show his great ability to grab boards with a game-high tying 9 rebounds.

Both players, however, did struggle with turnovers. Banchero finished with eight while Murray totaled five.

Though most of the attention was fixed on the top picks, they weren’t the only ones making an impact on the floor. Queta has continued to shine and has shown a lot of growth from the last season. His defensive presence at the rim and ability to score inside and as a lob threat made him stand out with the top picks. He finished with a game-high tying 23 points, as well as 8 rebounds, and a massively clutch 3 to keep the Kings alive late in the fourth. Ellis also continued to shine, this time on offense. He shot 5-of-6 from three and finished with 15 points, third-most on the Kings, as well as 4 assists.

Despite the loss, it was a successful night in some ways. The Summer League is meant to show what your new/younger players are capable of before fully establishing their role in the regular season. The trio of Murray, Queta, and Ellis have shown a lot of heart as well as their talented play. Nothing will impress a coach more. The Summer League Kings are must-watch.