For Danilo Barthel, the NBA Summer League in Orlando and Las Vegas must of flown by like the 2014 World Cup did for most soccer fans except for countries like England or Italy who were faster back home than anyone really had expected. Barthel has been stateside for more than two weeks and his Summer League experience is winding down as he played his biggest game tonight against the Washington Wizards to see if the Miami Heat continue to march to the title game or not. It has been a very solid NBA Summer League for Barthel who In Orlando played 4 games: 4.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, 0.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 31.6%, 3PT: 9.1%, FT: 75%. In Las Vegas, he has readily been as solid and really prospered from the absence of NBA player Justin Hamilton in the games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards earlier in the week averaging 31 minutes in the two games. He has been a team player and defended well at times with annoying fouls hampering him and his only real flaw on offense has been his three point drought ashis shot continues not to want to fall from the parking lot. In the last game against the Los Angeles Clippers, he played the least compared to any of the other games playing five minutes, but was still effective scoring five points and sat the entire second half. Dunking has been a speciality of Barthel the last two seasons in the Beko BBL, but so far in the NBA Summer League, he hasn´t really been able to showcase that dunking talent as his teammate 193cm guard Tyler Johnson from Fresno State has dunked at a Barthel rate would in the Beko BBL. One guy who has played with Barthel for three years for the Fraport Skyliners Juinors is German Tim Oldenburg who explains that the invitation of Barthel from the Miami Heat is no fluke and he may know how to dunk, but is watching other aspects from the bench besides the spectacular dunks from NBA players. “I know Danilo since a while and since I know him his career has risen. His hard work ethic is a reason for this. It didn´t surprise me that he got an invitation. I am not a big NBA watcher and haven´t watched much NBA Summer League, but I understood what it meant when I heard that he had been invited. It doesn´t surprise me that he is doing well there. He isn´t only a great guy, but a great talent that continues to give his best to reach the next step. Danilo dunks because its easy for him. He has the athletic ability and coordination to bring the ball safely into the basket. When dunking is a safe thing for him, then it is always better than a lay up. I don´t think that he will try to copy the NBA players. The show dunks are those when you go 1-0 on the basket like on the fast break. Every other dunk is simply a basket that counts for two points, but still looks good. Danilo will decide against a dunk in a big game when he knows that he wont make it or if he knows he can score an easier way. Which coach wants a player that makes four spectacular dunks in 30 minutes, but gives up 20 points on defense and is nothing else except a passing station on offense and can only function when he is alone in front of the hoop and can jump? It is better to have a player that defends his man well and is dangerous in many ways on the court and if there is a chance then still has the ability to dunk it. I think that Danilo does a great job when dunking or not”, stressed Tim Oldenburg.
After a bitter two point loss a few days ago, The Miami Heat came into the game for revenge, but instead of playing like a team on a mission, they started similar to their first meeting Against Washington where they couldn´t hit the side of a barn door even if they were sitting on a horse next to the object. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and the strong Washington Wizards back court of John Wall and Bradley Beal were on hand to check out the action. Danilo Barthel didn´t start the game, but would come in near the end of the first quarter. The Miami Heat just stunk up the house as they only had four points after seven minutes on 2/14 shooting from the field. Shabazz Napier had a rough start as one notices that the wear and tear of the game/practice schedule of the NBA Summer League can take a toll on rookies. Barthel came in at the 2.54 mark and that was when Napier started to get going scoring in bunches making seven consecutive points. Barthel tried to get into the offense through his defense and did a good job contesting two shoots that didn´t fall. He also had some misfortune when he pulled down an ally-op pass with one hand for a steal and looked like an NFL receiver who is reaching for an overthrown pass, but he fell so badly that he was called with a travel. Washington had the 17-11 lead after 10 minutes while both teams were shooting very poorly with Miami at 23/20 and Washington at 26/20. In the second quarter, Barthel remained in the game and right away brought some light into a very sloppy game driving to the bucket and showing that a German basketball player can feel the basket putting up a shot in the lane. Ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Daniel Theis brought real energy to the game with two big defensive plays making two huge blocks. His block on a Honeycutt dunk attempt even had Wizard guard Bradley Beal showing reserved excitement “I don´t know who he is, but I think he is from overseas and that definitely would make the highlight film”.On the other end, Barthel made a pretty no look pass to the trailer James Nunnally for the basket. Theis then blocked two time NCAA champion Shabazz Napier and on the offensive end made a tip in as he was all over the court. Both players were out in the last few minutes. At halftime, Washington led 33-31. Both teams were shooting poorly with Miami at 28/25 and Washington at 28/10.
In the third quarter, both Germans were on the bench as the game remained low scoring and no club having more than a three point advantage. Miami did go on a 7-0 run near the end of the third quarter, but couldn´t break away from the Washington Wizards. Miami had the 50-49 lead after 30 minutes as Napier ended the quarter with a three point bomb. Both teams were still shooting unsatisfactory, but were able to heighten their field goal percentage to 32%. In the fourth quarter, both Germans had sufficient playing time and Theis would help Washington considerably down the stretch. Barthel was aggressive getting an offensive rebound and kicking out the ball quickly to Suggs for the three pointer. Both Germans were matched up against each other and both fought to get the better of each other. Barthel controlled a long high rebound over Theis and then the new Bamberg player came right back down the floor getting an offensive rebound of a missed free throw over Barthel and getting the put back. Theis continued to shine on defense staying with the quick Larry Drew and swatting away his shot as if he was an octopus that had escaped from the sea. Soon after Theis got an offensive rebound and found Rice for the bucket. Here and there he made a mistake getting a traveling call, but the positives outweighed the negative sin the game. In crunch time, Barthel was out, but Theis remained in. Miami totally lost concentration at the end as Washington finished the game on a 12-0 run to win 78-67. There had been 14 lead changes and 10 ties in the game. Theiss finished with four free throws and some rebounds. Glen Rice finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Otto Porter contributed 14 points and Daniel Theis recorded 10 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four blocks in 18 minutes. The Miami Heat were led by Justin Hamilton with 15 points while Shabazz Napier and James Nunnally had 14 points a piece. The final stat line of Danilo Barthel was two points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and turnover in 13 minutes. At the end of the game, both German big men gave each other a small hug. Washington play the Spurs next and Miami play in the consolation round.