Coming into Wednesday's NBA Summer League action outside of Las Vegas, Charlotte Hornets shooting guard Roberto Nelson had averaged one PPG in two appearances. The rookie out of Oregon State did considerably better in the first round of tournament play yesterday.
The Hornets entered the bracket portion of the league as the 23 seed, not great considering there are 24 teams in the field. But Charlotte led the Dallas Mavericks by 17 at the half, and Nelson had five points as the teams headed to the locker rooms, already two times his scoring output in his previous two games.
A strong third quarter by the Mavs pulled them to within nine, and Dallas also fought hard throughout the fourth, eventually taking an 81-79 lead with eight seconds remaining. Charlotte inbounded the ball to Nelson, who took eight dribbles up the floor before pulling up for an off balance three. The ball hit nothing but net, sending the Hornets to the second round of tournament play.
Nelson was mobbed by teammates after posturing similar to Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard did when he hit this shot last May. For Roberto, it is just another in a long line of clutch shots. There was this pullup dagger in a win at Maryland. And then a shot eerily similar to that in a victory against George Mason. He came up big with this crafty move in the final seconds of overtime against USC, and snuffed out an Arizona State comeback attempt with this big three on Senior Day.
He would finish the game with 11 points and two rebounds, and he will next take to the court this afternoon against the New Orleans Pelicans. Dallas falls to the league's "Last Place Game" on Friday. Every game is huge as they are all auditions for a possible training camp invite later this summer, and all it takes is one major highlight like Nelson had Wednesday to get your foot in the door.