Game 1 – Orlando Magic 73 vs Utah Jazz 78
Orlando started this game struggling mightily to put points on the board and ended up down 14 at the end of 1. They rallied back in the 2nd and 3rd quarters to cut the lead to 3 heading into the 4th quarter behind the strong play of Patrick Ewing Jr..
Ewing had a much better day shooting with 7-12 from the field and 2-4 from beyond the arc. He also displayed poise in finishing, with a difficult shot after stealing the ball and leading the fast break. Ewing ended the day with 17 points, a light 3 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Paul Davis also aided in the Orlando comeback with 11 points in the 3rd quarter (13 total). While only shooting 2-6, Davis made his mark at the free throw line by being aggressive and earning his trips there. At times David can appear passive or disinterested. If he could show a little more passion in his play, he might have something to build on, as his fight was there today.
Rounding out the Orlando performance was Donell Taylor whose aggressive play helped him to 12 points and 5 boards.
Letting down the Orlando optimists are the two draft picks Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson. Orton backed up his shoddy performance from Monday with another dud going 0-6 from the field. Orton also showed the same frustration that got him kicked out of yesterday’s game with a hard foul on James Augustine. The Magic may want to stash this guy overseas or in the D-League until he can get his act together. Don’t count on him producing anytime soon. Stanley Robinson also had a lackluster day notching 4 points and 3 fouls in 15 minutes of play.
For the Jazz it was a balanced attack with not one player standing far above the others. The leading scorer was #9 pick Gordon Hayward out of Butler, who quietly tallied 14 points, with the majority of those coming at the line in the 4th quarter. His biggest shot gave them a 4 point lead with :30 seconds left in the game (after passing up an open 3 on the previous possession).
Also performing well for the Jazz was center [Player Kosta Koufos] who brought a lot more energy today en route to a double double of 13 points and 11 boards. Point Guard Sundiata Gaines followed up his solid play from Monday with a lackluster 7 points, 3 assists and 6 turnovers. Gaines played well at times but seemed to force it a little too often today.
Game 2 – Oklahoma City Thunder 85 vs Charlotte Bobcats 86
Easily the game of the day. This one was extremely tight throughout and the most competitive game so far, with multiple lead changes in the 4th quarter. Eric Maynor had a chance to put the Thunder up by 3 with :04 seconds remaining but missed the runner. Outside of that missed shot, Maynor had a great day with 18 points on 5-9 shooting with 4 boards and 5 assists. He’s running the break extremely well and is standing out as one of the top Point Guards in Orlando this week. With :04 seconds remaining, the role of hero was played by Jeremy Pargo who dribbled into the lane and hit a runner that bounced around forever until the buzzer sounded and fell through for the game winner. Outside of the theatrics and flying chest bumps, Pargo had a pedestrian 7 points and 3 assists.
The victorious Charlotte squad was led once again by Gerald Henderson. Henderson filled the stat sheet with an incredible dunk taking off from just inside the free throw line, a behind the back take to the rim for free throws, and a huge 3. Henderson racked up 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the winning effort.
Derrick Brown also contributed to the winning cause with a strong collection of aggressive drives to the hoop that either scored the bucket or earned him a trip to the line. Brown finished with an impressive 14 points and 8 rebounds.
Alexis Ajinca put up good numbers with 14 points on great shooting, but it seems like he could accomplish so much more if he didn’t take plays off.
The heartbroken OKC squad was led once again by the heady play of James Harden. Harden shot better today which was represented by a strong air of confidence on both ends of the court. Harden really wanted this game and fought hard for it, but unfortunately came up short with 19 points (on a perfect 10-10 from the line) and 5 rebounds.
BJ Mullens followed his strong Monday performance with a weak 2-10 shooting performance and 3 rebounds. Mullens missed about four point blank putbacks in a matter of seconds and later tried to catch a pass with his face. BJ finished with 12 points by hitting his free throws but he begs to ask the question; ‘Is he any good or is he just tall?’
Side note: It is refreshing to see Kevin Durant attending this summer league just to cheer on his teammates, acting as a coach on the sidelines. I can’t think of too many other MVP candidates that would do the same….
Game 3 – Boston Celtics 69 vs Philadelphis 76ers 86
Philadelphia started the game struggling to get anything going in the 1st quarter and were down 15-3 before finishing the quarter on a 10-2 run. That run continued in the 2nd quarter as Philadelphia took over and put their stamp on this game.
Game 1 star Jrue Holiday was much more subdued in today’s game as it appeared Philadelphia was implementing a new offense which featured him as the off guard with others running the point. In this role, Jrue put up 10 points and 5 assists.
Jodie Meeks stole the show for Philadelphia today going off for 18 points on a collection of strong takes to the basket and 2-3 three point shooting. Evan Turner had some impressive moves and generally solid play for 13 points and 3 rebounds. Evan seems to be feeling his way around this league and is not trying to force anything.
Marreese Speights hauled in 11 rebounds and chipped in 12 points in the winning effort.
For the Celtics it was once again all about Luke Harangody who the locals are referring to as “Gody” now. This guy is a beast on the boards, a tenacious defender and it’s a thing of beauty when he squares his shoulders up in the air for a perfect jumpshot. Luke led the way with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Jaycee Carroll had another good game with his energetic play. Carroll is extremely fast and sometimes out of control, but can really finish on the fast break and has a nice running floater. Carroll finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds.
Tony Gaffney also played confidently today for Boston with solid defense, 10 points and 5 assists.
Game 4 – New Jersey Nets 80 vs Indiana Pacers 69
This game took a while to get interesting with what seemed like a lack of energy, starpower, or excitement. But then late in the 3rd quarter it got interesting with some serious competition before New Jersey pulled away in the 4th quarter.
Terrence Williams led the way again by showing off his ability to hit the big shot. Williams hit several shots with his defender draped all over him only to drain the bottom of the net. Williams had a game high 24 points while adding in 7 assists.
Damion Jones tossed in 21 points and 11 rebounds but needed 20 shots to get there. However, his hustle was contagious and spread throughout the team.
#3 pick Derrick Favors still seems a little lost out there. At times he can show polish in the post and on the glass but so far is not living up to the hype or expectations. Favors closed with 12 points and 3 boards.
Even in the loss, the Pacers have reason to be optimistic with their offseason with the triple threat of George, Rolle and Stephenson. Lance Stephenson led the way again for the Pacers with 15 points on 7-10 shooting. Lance is extremely quick on the break and skilled in transition. He is also a great cutter for easy baskets.
#10 pick Paul George had a huge impact on the game with his energy on the defensive end with 7 steals. Most of these steals led to easy buckets and highlight reel dunks. George also finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Josh McRoberts was a force in the middle when he was there. Unfortunately the Pacers appear to be trying to turn him into a Channing Frye clone by jacking a bunch of threes. My advice would be to abandon this experiment and get Josh back on the block where he excels. Josh shot a miserable 3-18 from the field but got his buckets in the post. He finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.