July 18, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Larry Sanders (8) dunks during the first half of the game against the Washington Wizards at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Milwaukee Bucks Summer League: Henson and Harris Star, Larry Sanders Stymies Celtics

Tobias Harris sank two free throws to give the Bucks the lead with 5.9 seconds left. Then he motioned — finger-across-lips style –for the crowd to keep quiet.

So, yes, for a Summer League game, this contest featured moments of fevered drama.

A Jared Sullinger miss in the lane sealed the Bucks’ 88-87 win over the Boston Celtics.  To be fair, Larry Sanders had Sullinger covered like a dry cleaning bag on the play and on most plays over the course of the evening.  Sanders played a smart active game, finishing with 11 points and 15 points on the night.  He still picked up 7 fouls (Summer League rules), but his defense and rebounding were a huge improvement over his earlier perimeter foibles in Summer League.

As good as Sanders was, once again, Tobias Harris and John Henson owned the show.

Tobias Harris scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, including a pair of three-pointers. In fact, the Bucks shot a fancy 7-of-11 on three-point attempts in the game, including 2/2 for Harris, 1/2 for Henson, and 3-of-3 for guard Stefhon Harris. Henson’s one miss came late in the fourth, with the Bucks trailing, and he hesitated before putting up a mechanical, clunky miss.  But if Harris and Henson can develop regular three-point accuracy, then their chunks of the rotation will get that much bigger.

John Henson also put up 22 points, to go with nine rebounds and four assists.  If the Summer League action is any indication, his lefty hook is a downright dirty weapon that looks to be his go-to move in the post.  Tonight he used it once in a jaw-gaping dribble-spin/drop-step combination.  He also looks comfortable on catch-and-shoot long twos, especially in the pick-and-pop when he takes them without pause.

Henson came over to back up Doron Lamb in a chippy bumping incident with Dionte Christmas of the Celtics.

The Bucks finished the third quarter with two highlight-reel plays.  First, Tobias Harris shook his man and drove baseline for a wallop dunk. Then with 1.1 seconds left in the quarter, Olu Ashaolu caught a long inbounds pass at halfcourt and banked in a halfcourt shot to pull the Bucks within a point at 64-63.

After another game of high minutes for the Bucks roster players (Harris was in for 38:13 out of a possible 40:00, Henson 37:16, Lamb 30:42, Sanders 29:37), the Bucks have a short turnaround before they close out their Summer League slate with a Sunday tilt at 3:00 PM CT versus the Bulls.

Tweets of the night:

Final verdict: 

Normally, these Summer League games are not about winning. They are usually about showing skill sets, finding young players  playing time, and auditioning guys for the end-of-the-bench roster spots.

But Henson and Harris — and to a lesser extent, Lamb and Sanders — have acquitted themselves well in Vegas and moved beyond that point. Tonight, they encountered a pesky Celtics team that was hellbent on winning, and the young Bucks stole the win right out of their grasp.

Tags: Boston Celtics Bucks Doron Lamb John Henson Larry Sanders Milwaukee Bucks Tobias Harris

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