The highly anticipated matchup between the No. 3 and No. 4 overall picks in this year’s NBA Draft was spoiled as both rookies left their summer league debuts with injuries.
Both Scoot Henderson of the Portland Trail Blazers and Amen Thompson of the Houston Rockets sustained injuries a quarter apart from each other in an eventual one-point win for the Rockets on a buzzer-beating three from second-year player Jabari Smith Jr..
While it lasted, the marquee matchup of Henderson vs. Thompson was as good as many hoops fans expected with both first-year players matched up against each other for most of the game. In fact, there were several moments where the two got their arms tangled up.
Though they chose different routes to the league, Henderson and Thompson selected the G League Ignite and Overtime Elite instead of playing collegiate basketball for the NCAA.
Henderson accepted the defensive responsibility of guarding Thompson on nearly every possession, even opting to pick up his fellow top pick the full 94 feet.
Thompson finished with 16 points to go along with five assists, four rebounds, four blocks and three steals as part of a do-it-all final stat line. He’d leave the game in the fourth quarter after tweaking his left ankle on a collision in the air that sent him crashing to the hardwood.
While having his hands full on defense, Henderson still was able to make his presence felt on offense, connecting on his first four field goals of the game. His first quarter outburst included several stepback jumpshots, ending with 13 points, three assists and three rebounds in the first 10-minute session.
Since the conclusion of the Ignite’s season, Henderson has been working with four-time NBA Champion Steph Curry.
Henderson knocked down one three on the night for a Portland team that shot 43% in total on the night while holding its opponent to 31% on the other end.
Before sustaining an injury to his right shoulder in the third quarter, Henderson recorded 15 points, six assists, five rebounds and a steal.
For precautionary reasons, both Henderson and Thompson will have MRIs and will be evaluated tomorrow before any further decisions are made.
As mentioned before, the game was saved by a pair of second-year standouts that turned in 20-point outing. The aforementioned Smith Jr. poured in a game-high 33 points with his final shot being a leaning three-pointer from the top of the key off an inbounds pass with just 0.6 left on the clock for the win.
Portland second-year guard Shaedon Sharpe led his team in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-21 from the field. As he often does, he electrified the crowd with several highlight reel dunks including a poster over Houston center Jay Huff.