NBA: Mobley leads Cavaliers to 99-78 win over Rockets for the Summer League title

AP , Tuesday 18 Jul 2023

Isaiah Mobley had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers captured the NBA Summer League championship with a 99-78 victory Monday over the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Isaiah Mobley, center, shoots against Houston Rockets' Darius Days, left, and Nate Hinton during the first half of a NBA summer league championship basketball game Monday, July 17, 2023, in Las Vegas. Photo: AP


This was the Cavaliers’ first title since the Summer League went to a tournament format in 2013. Mobley was voted game MVP, more than making up for not being selected to the all-tournament team.

“I try to not worry about stuff I can’t control,” Mobley said. “Do I agree with it? No, but it is what it is. I’ll take the championship all over it all day.”

Sam Merrill scored 27 points, making 6 of 12 3-pointers, and Emoni Bates added 19 points for the Cavaliers (6-0).

Nate Hinton led Houston (5-1) with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Three other Rockets also scored in double figures: Cam Whitmore (14), Trevor Hudgins (13) and Fletcher Magee (10). Whitmore was chosen tournament MVP.

Mobley, a second-round pick in 2022, finished strong in Summer League. He put the Cavaliers in the title game by scoring 23 points and making the winning shot in overtime to beat the Brooklyn Nets 102-99 on Sunday.

Merrill, who was voted first-team all-tournament, has a history of playing well at the Thomas & Mack Center. His 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left gave Utah State the 2020 Mountain West tournament championship, one of the last shots in college basketball before the COVID-19 shutdown.

“It’s a great arena,” Merrill said. “I’ve played it in more than any other, other than (Utah State’s). It’s nice knowing the locker room and feeling comfortable, and obviously we had a lot of success here.”

On Monday, the Cavaliers asserted control early by running out to a 17-4 lead. Houston went on a 19-4 run to cut the margin to 41-38 late in the first half.

But then Cleveland scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a 62-44 lead, and the outcome was never seriously in doubt after that.

“I felt like if we banded together, we were going to make a run (in the second half),” Hinton said “They made some tough shots and some great shots, so shout out to those guys for making those shots.”

In addition to Whitmore and Merrill, the all-tournament first team was made up of Keyonte George of the Utah Jazz, Orlando Robinson of the Miami Heat and Hunter Tyson of the Denver Nuggets.

The second team was Bates, Max Christie of the Los Angeles Lakers, Javon Freeman-Liberty of the Chicago Bulls, Xavier Moon of the Los Angeles Clippers, Jabari Smith Jr. of the Rockets and Jalen Wilson of the Nets.

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