Orlando Summer League: Day 5
Game 13 - Utah 70 OKC 60
The Jazz closed out the week's play on a strong note with Thursday's massive rally against the Magic and Friday's solid team-focused win over a talent-laden Thunder squad (although it must be mentioned that the Thunder's top player, Russell Westbrook, shut it down today with his work complete in Orlando after a dominant week).
Leading Utah's rag tag collection of players to the win, was point guard Kevin Kruger whose hot shooting in the first half and 5 assists set the Jazz up. Josh Duncan had another good game, leading his team with 12 points on a highly efficient 4-5 shooting night. Andre Ingram and Derrick Brown also played well with 11 points each. Larry Turner provided the muscle with his imposing presence in the paint. Turner blocked 3 shots and altered several others. He was relentless on the glass, collecting 12 boards.
With Westbrook out of the lineup,
the Thunder were fortuitous to have Shaun Livingston back in the lineup
to run the point. Livingston had a well rounded game with 12 pts,
5 boards and 4 assists. While some may argue that he's lost
some athleticism, there is no doubt that Shaun can still play this game.
With crisp passing and a smooth jumpshot, Livingston's execution of
the offense was superb. His timing and decision making were impeccable
as evidenced by his textbook give and go with Serge Ibaka.
Also helping man the point
was league standout, James Harden who had another solid game.
Harden was blowing past defenders at ease as well as lowering his shoulder
and taking it right at them. With the shot clock winding down,
Harden is extremely comfortable taking and making the buzzer beating
3. Harden finished with 14 points, 5 rebs and 3 steals.
DJ White had another 70% shooting night from the field for 17 points with shots coming from 1 handed runners, 16 footers, and posting up smaller players. BJ Mullens followed up his breakthrough performance on Thursday with a dud today going 0-7. Get used to up and down play with Mullens as he continues to develop his game
Game 14 - Boston 92 NJ/PHI 79
The Boston Celtics cruised to the win over the disaster that is the NJ/PHI hybrid experiment. The Celtics were led by unlikely hero, Nick Fazekas. While seeming to be in slow motion on every play, Fazekas quietly put up an outstanding game with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Although he did have a couple weak takes that were quickly sent packing out of the lane, Fazekas benefited from knowing his role and taking advantage of his size. Cleaning up the glass for easy putbacks is what Nick hung his hat on in today's game.
Kevin Rogers showed that he belonged with another good game, closing out the week with 14 pts on 6-8 shooting. Gabe Pruitt also impressed, leading the team with 9 assists and dropping in 13 points. Also of note was the play of Coby Karl who contributed 9 points, 6 assists and 5 boards and did a great job facilitating the offense. Karl, the well coached son of George Karl, is the ultimate hustle player, sacrificing his body (and on one play his face) to make the play.
The bright spot for the New Jersey/Philadelphia experiment is that "they will never do this again" as overheard from one team exec in regards to the hybrid team. It was admittedly a failure trying to get these 2 agendas and groups of players to come together as 1 unit. Closing out the week at 0-5, they did get a balanced effort out of the 7 man squad they fielded today.
Gary Forbes led the way with
19 points on 7-11 shooting along with Chris Douglas Roberts who bounced
back from his woeful Thursday with 15 points. Marreese Speights
dropped in 13 points and 3 rebounds in a lackluster performance that
indicated he is content with his spot on the team. Jrue Holiday
had his best game of his challenging week with 8 points on 2-4 shooting
with 4 assists and 4 boards.
Game 15 - Pacers 68 Magic
The Pacers completed their perfect week with a win over the scrappy Magic team in a tough day for both teams. The highly anticipated matchup of league standouts Ryan Anderson and Tyler Hansbrough proved to be anticlimactic as both struggled mightily to make an impact on the floor.
The Pacers were led by Roy Hibbert, who completed an excellent week with 16 pts and 11 boards. Hibbert once again proved to be a force in the middle with 3 huge rejections that made the Magic think twice before they came into the paint. On offense, once he gets position in the paint, he methodically goes to work with his refined post game. Will Blalock who spent the week driving the ball up the court as fast as he could without any real results, had a nice night shooting for 12 points but couldn't tally a single assist. AJ Price and Trey Johnson also contributed with 11 and 9 points respectively.
Hansbrough, who had so much
success this week, finally came back to earth with a disappointing 5
points on 1-5 shooting. The energy seemed to be there but he could
just never seem to get things to click. Maybe the stress of playing
the 5th game in 5 days was finally taking its toll.
Orlando came out flat and it
was apparent early that they would not be able to bounce back from their
demoralizing loss the night before. As a bellwether of his team's
play, Ryan Anderson couldn't connect, going 2-11 for 6 points.
While he couldn't get anything going offensively, Anderson did still
give a strong effort on the boards, snagging 10. Brian Chase was
the only one for Orlando who could hit a shot on Friday, going 7-11
for 16 points. Kasib Powell gave a good effort with 12 points
and 8 boards and Richard Hendrix hit 4-7 for 10 points.
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