Mavericks rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr., the ninth overall selection in last month’s draft, made quite an impression with his first taste of NBA action as he led Dallas to a 91-75 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday in a summer league game in Las Vegas.
Smith, Dallas’s loftiest selection since 1998 when a draft-night swap with Milwaukee brought in ninth pick Dirk Nowitzki, had 14 points, a game-high six assists and shared the team lead with seven rebounds. Though he shot just 1-of-6 from 3-point range, Smith’s penetrating drives ended with a couple of stylish finishes.
Brandon Ashley, a center from Arizona, led the Mavericks with 21 points, including 10 in the second quarter, and was on the receiving end of a pair of nifty assists from Smith in the final quarter.
The Mavericks, who went undefeated in the Orlando summer league, continue play in Las Vegas against the Phoenix Suns at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.
Chicago led 45-40 in the first minute of the third quarter before Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell went on a six-minute scoring tear, netting 13 of his 14 total points — including a trio of 3s — to push Dallas ahead 61-54. The Mavericks led by as many as 23 points in the final quarter.
Former Baylor forward Johnathan Motley sat out much of the second half with a left ankle sprain but did re-enter the game late. He finished with five points.
Mavericks guard Ding Yanyuhang, a 6-7 Chinese league veteran, became an instant crowd favorite in 10 minutes of play with his energetic play. He had five points.
Chicago rookie center Lauri Markkanen had 14 points to lead five Bulls in double figures. Markkanen, who was also on the Mavericks’ draft radar, pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
In a notable Las Vegas summer league debut Friday, Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, the second overall pick, scored five points on 2-of-15 shooting from the field, including 1-of-11 from 3-point range, as the Lakers lost 96-93 in overtime to the Los Angeles Clippers.