LAS VEGAS — Brian Roberts tallied 20 points and Austin Rivers scored 15, but that wasn’t enough for the New Orleans Pelicans, who lost an NBA Summer League game 69-61 against over the late-charging Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
After Roberts hit his second consecutive jumper and Rivers scored to give the Pelicans their last lead, 61-58, the Bucks went on an 11-0 run to close the game.
Lance Thomas and Jon Brockman each had seven rebounds for the Pelicans, while Pierre Jackson had three assists to top New Orleans.
Dominique Jones scored 16 points and Ish Smith had 11 to lead the Bucks.
The Pelicans took a 55-54 lead on Brockman’s putback with 6:02 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks owned a 48-45 lead after three quarters thanks to Smith’s 3-pointer at the buzzer that ended a 7-0 run.
“I thought the 7-0 run at the end of the third quarter was big,” Pelicans Summer League coach Bryan Gates said. “We were up four with the ball, and they went on a 7-0 run with I think 35 seconds to go.
“We’ve got to do a better job taking care of the ball and getting the shots that you want. Shots are going to go in, yes or no. But you can take care of it, you can execute. Those are the things that you can control.
“I give Milwaukee a lot of credit for great pressure defense, and they really attacked the basket well.”
Thomas scored his first Summer League points when he made a jumper to give the Pelicans a 34-33 lead with 7:03 left in the third quarter. That began a 7-0 run that gave the Pelicans a 39-33 lead with 5:21 left in the third quarter. Rivers had the last three points of the run.
The Bucks ended the second quarter by scoring five consecutive points and tying the score at 27. Rivers led the Pelicans with eight points in the first half.
“I thought I should have pulled more midrange jump shots on the pick-and-roll,” Rivers said. “I think we did a bad job moving the ball around tonight. Five assists is terrible. So, I think (Monday) we’ve just got to run our plays more.
“Defense was fine, they didn’t score that many points. They hit some runs here and there; that’s basketball. Defensively, we were pretty good. Offensively, the ball was just stuck, we could not get it moving.”
Jeff Withey started the second quarter and made his first shot for the Pelicans, cutting the Bucks’ lead to 17-15 with 8:48 left. That started a 12-5 run that propelled the Pelicans to a 27-22 lead late in the second quarter. Jackson made two free throws while Roberts and Rivers had four points each in the run.
The Bucks claimed their biggest lead of the first quarter, 17-10, after Smith’s 3-pointer, but Darius Miller matched that 3-pointer with one of his own. The Pelicans ended the first quarter trailing 17-13.
Jackson made his Pelicans’ debut with 4:34 left in the first quarter. He missed his first jumper within his first minute. Jackson sank his next shot, a short jumper, with 1:55 left.
The Bucks owned an 8-6 lead with 5:49 left, as neither team built more than a two-point lead in the first 4:11. Rivers opened the Pelicans’ scoring with a driving layup, and Roberts followed with a short jumper that gave the Pelicans a 4-2 lead.
“The one thing I really liked about our group: It’s led by our guys who have been with us that understand our culture — Austin, Brian, Darius and Lance,” Gates said. “The effort is there. You can’t really get upset when the guys are playing hard. I loved the effort. I thought we did a good job rebounding, but they got the ball in the paint a little more than we did.
“The shots will go in for them. I’m more worried about the little things, getting back on defense. They did shoot 50 percent (23-for-46) from the field, but we only gave up one offensive rebound; that was in the first half. I thought we controlled the boards.
“They’re a good team, and I think we’re a pretty good team. I love the effort. I love the direction we’re going. We have to understand the definition of our Summer League, getting Austin and Brian better and Lance and Darius, and seeing what we have with Pierre and Jeff. That’s our goal.
“When those guys are going to play with that kind of effort, we’re going to take it. We’ll get a win; the ball will fall for us a little bit.”
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