Crabbe Tries To Find His Stroke As Blazers Fall To 0-2 At Summer League
The Portland Trail Blazers fell to 0-2 for the Las Vegas Summer League with a 81-63 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.
Rookie guard CJ McCollum lead the Trail Blazers in scoring, as he did the night before in Portland's summer league opener against the Suns, with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting. McCollum, in a game-high 33 minutes, also pulled down five rebounds and handed out five assists while turning the ball over just three times.
Portland's other rookie, 6-6 guard Allen Crabbe out of Cal, got his first start of summer league in place of Victory Claver, who sat out Sunday's contest with a right thigh contusion. Crabbe finished the night with seven points on 3-of-8 shooting, a minor improvement from the night before when he scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting. And while he's not ready to grade his performance just yet, he's not particularly enthused about his first two games as a Trail Blazer.
"I couldn't really assess," said Crabbe when asked to gauge his performance in Portland's first two games, both losses. "I mean, not the way I wanted to play but I'm getting a feel for it and hopefully as summer league goes along I keep improving each and every game."
Which is all Portland's coaches are really asking for from Crabbe, who Portland acquired via trade during the 2013 NBA Draft after he was selected with the 31st overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Known for his three-point shooting, Crabbe hasn't had much success yet from NBA range, having started summer league shooting 1-of-5 from three. And while sometimes players just miss shots, it's possible that Crabbe's new teammates aren't quiet certain yet how to help him get clean looks from the three-point line.
"We're all new guys playing together, so chemistry needs to get a little better," said Crabbe. "You could say that. You know, a quick week of practices, it's hard to really flow into it as a team. Like I said, over time, I feel like everything will be clicking."
Another issue, albeit a minor one, that might explain his early struggles is playing out of position, which he did in Sunday's loss.
"With Victor going down, we're playing Allen and Will (Barton), one of those guys has got to play the three and probably not a natural spot for them," said Nate Tibbetts, who handled head coaching duties against the Lakers.
It's very possible Crabbe will get back to playing shooting guard when the Trail Blazers face the Bulls on Tuesday night, as Barton's status for that game is unknown after he suffered a right knee sprain in the third quarter of Sunday's loss.
For whatever difficulties Crabbe has had in his first two games at summer league, he'll have at least three more games to get his shot dialed in. And if not, there's always the other side of the ball.
"They said that I've been playing hard on the defensive side," said Crabbe, "I've been in the right positions. Just keep playing with higher energy and play hard at all times."