Orlando Summer League: Day 1
The RDV Sportsplex is a state
of the art facility in Maitland, FL which houses the Orlando Magic corporate
office, training facilities and practice court. Upon walking
in, it was clear that the summer league was going to be all about hoops
with no frills. The games were closed to the public, so the only
people in attendance were reporters, scouts and team personnel.
- Vince Carter showed up to watch the Orlando game and cheer on his trade partner Ryan Anderson. Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat joined him and the 3 enjoyed quite a few laughs during the game. Nice to see the chemistry building between Vince and Dwight. Lawrence Frank, Vince's former coach, came over and pretended like he didn't know Vince which was good for a few laughs from the group. Stan Van Gundy and Lawrence Frank then spent the 2nd half in deep conversation likely discussing how to best utilize their newly swapped players.
Game 1 - NJ/PHI
The Pacers had a balanced attack with Tyler Hansbrough and Brandon Rush leading the way. Hansbrough finished strong although he did get off to a pretty rough start. In warm-ups he had this look that he was there to prove something. When he came in, he found himself forcing it and would find himself in trouble with no where to go. Once he got into rhythm, he put on a mean show with several hard fought rebounds and a couple angry dunks. Tyler also did well in the post getting the score and foul on several occasions. I must say this, the dude is intense.
Brandon Rush played the majority of the game and steadied the Pacers with his play but he shot poorly with 4-18 from the field.
Roy Hibbert had a nice presence but you get the feeling that he should have had more of an impact in this game. He shot well (6-10) for 12 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. He struggled a bit in the post and it showed in one sequence when he got a block on Speights and came down and threw down a dunk full of frustration on the other end.
Josh McRoberts came in with
some great energy and activity. McRoberts is capable using the dribble
for his size and even led the break on a couple occasions with tight
passing, one going to Hansbrough for the and one. McRoberts also
had the best dunk of the day as the trailer on a fast break with a one
handed hammer dunk. Josh hustled his way to 4 pts, 4 assists,
6 boards, 3 steals and a couple blocks.
Player of the game in the loss for the NJ/PHI team, would definitely have to be Mareese Speights with a strong combination of smooth jumpshots, rebounding and interior post play. His defense was great on Roy Hibbert as evidenced on back to back stops on Hibbert as he tried to establish the post. Speights opened the 2nd half with a couple of back to back jumpers to extend his strong play and finished with 28 pts, 11 boards and 2 blocked shots.
Chris Douglas Roberts also
had a solid game with 20 points on 6-12 shooting. Roberts dribble
penetration was hard to stop and led to quite a few nice layups.
Jrue Holiday looked lost for much of night and it never looked like he got into
a rhythm or that he had control of the squad. Jrue did have a
couple nice moments in the second half though. In one sequence
he busted a three and hustled back to get the block on defense. He
also had a sweet pass to Chris Douglas Roberts for the score and one.
Holiday finished with 9 points on 3-11 shooting with 2 assists.
A tight game throughout, although it felt like Indiana was in control for much of the game. It came down to the buzzer and Hansbrough got the shot but couldn't get it to drop in heavy traffic. Coach Jim O'Brien certainly wasn't acting like it was a summer league game as he let the refs have it for not making a call. The Pacers went on to win anyways in a sloppily played OT.
Game 2 - OKC vs. Orlando
The Orlando team coached by
Patrick Ewing got off to a rough start and for the first quarter it
looked like they were going to get run off the court. However,
they dug in and played some scrappy D and played together as a team
of guys desperate to make the squad, to keep it from being a rout.
Russell Westbrook led the way for Oklahoma City with 22 pts, most of those coming at the free throw line as he only shot 3-11 from the field. Westbrook started off sloppy and a bit out of control on what looked like it would be a long night for him as he got caught in the air with nowhere to go, lost the ball on a dribble drive, threw up a brick and threw a pass to no one, all in the first quarter. Westbrook calmed down and steadily led the team after a scary moment in the 2nd quarter when he went down hard to the ground after receiving a hard foul, trying to throw it down on Darian Townes. Westbrook got up and certainly wasn't scared as he took it hard at Darian again only moments later (with the same hard foul waiting for him). Westbrook completed his night with 9 assists and 5 boards.
Shaun Livingston is an intriguing addition to the OKC summer league to see if he can bounce back from his injury and time off. From the looks of it, he's still got a lot of game left in him. I wish he would have had more opportunity to run the point because when he was running the team, he was calm and in control, complementing his game with silky smooth passing and a calm, confident demeanor. Shaun contributed 7 pts on 3-8 shooting with 6 assists and 0 turnovers. He also threw in some flair with a couple behind the back dribbles and passes.
Serge Ibaka showed some real potential with some aggressive rebounding and a couple blocked shots. The real upside is his offensive game, with an array of jumpshots, drives to the rim and a nice hook shot. Ibaka finished with a solid 6-8 from the field.
BJ Mullens played a decent
game with some nice activity but otherwise kind of got lost in the flow.
James Harden was the second
leading scorer for the Thunder with the game he perfected at Arizona
State, quiet, in control and within the flow of the game, never forcing
anything. Harden shot great, 6-9 from field, 2-3 from 3 pt range
and also had a great steal for a fast break dunk.
The Magic, without any draft picks, left the intrigue of the game up to newly acquired Ryan Anderson from New Jersey with the Vince Carter deal, and a bunch of invitees working hard to get a chance with the team.
While Ryan led the Magic in
scoring, he looked uncomfortable in the first half and seemed to have
to work extremely hard for everything he got. As he got a little
more comfortable, things got a little easier for him as he scored from
3, threw down a dunk and scored on a couple layups. Anderson led
the Magic with 21 points on 6-14 shooting and 7 boards.
The other standout for the
Magic was Jeremy Richardson. Richardson scored from all over the
court with his fluid jumpshot, although he struggled from behind the
arc. Richardson also proved to be a natural rebounder with an
instinct for the ball, finishing with 11 boards.
Darian Townes provided the muscle for the Magic with 2 hard fouls on Westbrook, happy to be the dirt worker and strong on the boards. Maurice Ager had a few nice moves while handling the ball well and Richard Hendrix came in and shot really well (4-5) in limited minutes.
Game 3 - Boston vs. Utah
The last game of the night turned out to be the biggest blowout, as the Celtics team rolled all over the Tyrone Corbin-coached Jazz (and I could feel Jerry Sloan cringing in the crowd).
Mike Sweetney looked a little
uncomfortable in the tight green jersey he was given, but came out ready
to play anyways. In the first quarter he was everywhere; driving
to the basket and finishing, dishing the assist to Robert Swift, grabbing
a tough rebound and throwing the perfect outlet pass for a Gabe Pruitt
dunk, even getting steals in transition. But he must have used
it all up because that was basically it for the game for Mike.
The leader for the Celtics
was Bill Walker, the 47th pick of the 2008 draft ,whose shot
was on. Walker made the most of it in 21 minutes of action for
14 points on 5-9 shooting. JR Giddens played a frantic game that
looked out of control at times but his energy served him well as he
was able to contribute on both ends of the court.
Robert Swift, the former 12th pick, didn't do much to give confidence that he is back from injury. His most passionate move of the day was calling for 3 seconds while guarding the post.
Lester Hudson gave some good energy in his minutes, dropping 4-6 from the field and Nick Fazekas got hot from 3 late to add in 13 points after looking fairly lost for the majority of the game. Gabe Pruitt showed promise with his time on the court with an outlet dunk and a sweet fadeaway jumper. He then backed it up on the defensive end with a nice steal and by squaring up and drawing a charge. Kevin Rogers also showed flashes with 9 pts and 6 boards.
For Utah, there isn't much to speak of outside of the game of Josh Duncan and Eric Maynor. Duncan quietly showed that he is a player, as he didn't give up in the midst of this blowout. Duncan finished with 12 points on 5-7 shooting.Eric Maynor handled the ball great and setup the plays well; his teammates just had trouble finishing for him. His passing was crisp which did lead to 4 assists. Maynor also showed a knack for finishing when need be with a nice dribble penetration layup.
Mike Sweetney! Oh My, he is back?
Lester Hudson is way too old, c'mon a 25 yeard old rookie?
Wonder who the Jeryd Bayless of this year's summer leagues will be (tear up the summer leagues then ride the pine during the season)?
serge is a beast he will be the back up PF can play center 2
Im too happy for Livingston...hope that boi bounce back. He got alot of Penny Hardaway in him. James Harden definitely gone be beasting in the league. Bill Walker will hopefully give Boston that energy and spark off the bench they will be looking for during the year. Maynor is gonna be solid. OKC overall has a stellar core for the future.
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