Updated Sun, Jul 7, 2013 12:00 pm
D.J. Cooper played well in his first NBA Summer League game, as the Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Houston Rockets, 88-80. Cooper finished the game with six points, one assist, one rebound and one turnover for the 76ers.
The former Ohio point guard backed up Michael Carter-Williams – one of Philadelphia’s first round selections this year – and was able to keep the game in check when Carter-Williams went to the bench.
Cooper had a strong start to the game, not committing any turnovers in the first three quarters. He had zero points in the first half, but gave the Sixers a reliable point guard by controlling the ball in the backcourt, as Carter-Williams had six turnovers in the first half alone.
The second half was a different story for the 6-foot-6 point guard, as he finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and nine turnovers. The 76ers often went to the two-guard system of Cooper and Carter-Williams, and it worked out well, as the scoring margin had narrowed to three at one point.
Cooper was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and 2-of-5 overall in the game. The 76ers struggled from deep, going just 3-of-17 and didn’t hit a three-pointer until the 6:40 mark in the third quarter when Cooper nailed a shot from the right wing.
The 6-foot guard took fewer chances in his first summer league game than he often did throughout his career at Ohio, not looking for the fancy pass or the deep three. His defense has improved throughout the offseason, as he showed quicker feet moving side-to-side and snatched one steal in the game.
The key starting point for Cooper was to control the tempo and keep the game in check with the starters on the bench, something he’ll have to do to make the NBA as a backup point guard.
Cooper had the seventh most minutes (14:38) on the team Sunday. His former Mid-American Conference rival Zeke Marshall was one of two players to not check into the game for Philadelphia.
The 76ers’ next game is Monday, July 8, at 1 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers.