Game 1 Oklahoma City Thunder 77 vs. Indiana Pacers 73
The Oklahoma squad got off to a strong start but Indiana fought hard to stay in this one. OKC inevitably pulled away as they were just too good of a squad with James Harden doing his thing. Harden finished with 11 points which isn’t indicative of the major effect he had on this game because he sat out the second half with the game fairly in control for the Thunder. His steadying influence was missed in the second half as OKC struggled to maintain their stranglehold on the Pacers.
Indiana never gave up though and fought their way back into the game behind the only three players who bothered showing up for the Pacers; Paul George, Magnum Rolle and Russell Robinson. Paul George had his best game of the week with 22 points and 12 rebounds. George is showing an ability to finish strong on the break and knock down the jumpshot. He’s also showing the propensity to hit big shots late in the game. His clutch factor is rising.
Magnum Rolle had an excellent game with 16 points on 50% shooting and 8 boards. Rolle’s ability to get up in a hurry is helping him to get some serious blocked shots on the weak side as well as some powerful jams on the other side of the court.
Russell Robinson put in some good minutes at the guard spot adding 18 points with a perfect 8-8 from the line.
Securing the victory for the Thunder was Mustafa Shakur who led the Thunder in points and assists with 19 and 6. Kyle Weaver had another good game with 15, 3 and 3 and Ryan Reid efficiently put in 10 points on 5-6 shooting along with 8 rebounds.
Game 2 Utah Jazz 85 vs. Philadelphia 76ers 56
This game had the appeal of #2 pick Evan Turner of Ohio State squaring off against #9 pick Gordon Hayward of Butler. While they guarded each other and both put up respectable numbers, the allure of this matchup was overshadowed by the crushing beatdown the Jazz laid down on the Sixers. Philadelphia decided to sit Jrue Holiday and without his playmaking ability, they never could get anything going offensively. This is especially true when your other guard, Mike Green, has a woeful line like this: 0 points, 0-6 from the field, 1 rebound, 0 assists and 6 turnovers in 20 minutes. Ouch.
Evan Turner was the top performer for the Sixers with decent numbers of 13 points and 6 rebounds. Not exactly what we expect out of the #2 pick but at least he is showing some good signs to build on.
Former #26 pick in 2003, Ndudi Ebi, is trying to work his way back in the league and looked solid on the boards, grabbing 7, while also scoring 10 points.
The Jazz had a balanced attack led by Jermareo Davidson who put in 16 and 7. Jeremy Evans impressed the crowd with his athleticism and energy. Evans was everywhere and appears to have the quickest second jump since Shawn Marion. After getting the crowd gasping on a huge block, he later went down and threw it down on half of the Sixers squad.
Rounding out the attack for the Jazz, was Gordon Hayward with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Gordon was 4-7 from the field and a perfect 7-7 from the line. Gordon’s advantage heading into the NBA is that he is not just a jump shooter but can put it on the floor and get to the bucket and/or get to the line.
Game 3 New Jersey Nets 86 vs. Boston Celtics 68
Boston came out with a short squad, only dressing 7 players for today’s matchup. And the Nets came out looking really polished with some nice team movement and passing. Although the Celtics played with a lot of heart, they were just no match for the Nets.
Giving all he had for Boston, once again was, Luke Harangody, putting in 18 points and 8 boards. I can’t say enough positives about this guy. He can lead the break, hit the mid-range J, drop threes, work in the post and grab boards like a madman. The guy is just a straight baller with a fire that can’t be taught.
Oliver Lafayette couldn’t get his shot going today but did dish out 11 assists. Tony Gaffney never had great numbers this week but appears to have a great feel for the game. Today he added 8 and 4.
For the Nets, we got the performance out of Derrick Favors we’ve been expecting. Favors went off for 23 points on 59% shooting and hauled in 11 boards. In easily the dunk of the week, Favors elevated and threw down a ridiculous dunk all over 7 ft Ukrainian Yvacheslav Kravstov to the oohs and aahs of the crowd.
Also performing well for the Nets was Brandon Heath with 16 points and 6 assists. Connor Atchley dominated the glass with 13 boards and added 10 points. Shooting extremely well was Jakim Donaldson who chipped in 15 points and 6 boards.
Game 4 Orlando Magic 80 vs Charlotte Bobcats 77
They saved the best for last as this ended up being my favorite game of the week. Orlando went into this game 0-4 on the week and not wanting to go completely defeated as the hosts on their homecourt. It looked as if this would happen early on as the Bobcats jumped out to a 16 point lead in the first half. But the Magic came clawing back into the game in the 3rd quarter, not giving up on their elusive first win.
The game ball goes to center, Paul Davis, who put the team on his back in the 4th quarter as he went to work in the paint. It really was an impressive display to see this guy lay everything on the line to get the victory. Davis was relentless on the glass, working hard for extra possessions. He was fearless going to the rim, earning his way there 16 times, making 14. And boy did he earn it. Each foul was a hard foul that landed Paul on the hardwood. The last of which was such a hard, scary fall to the wood that it elicited shrieks from the crowd and a flagrant for Nathan Jawai. After taking a few moments, Paul got up and went back to work finishing with 24 points and 8 rebounds.
Guard Sherron Collins singlehandedly tried to steal the victory back from the Magic with his uncanny shot today. He simply couldn’t miss as he drained three after three. It didn’t matter if he was rushed, falling back, falling down or on the run. Everything hit the bottom of the net. He was simply in the zone, finishing with a summer league-high of 32 points.
Backing up Paul’s effort for the Magic was Joe Crawford with 15 points who hit a momentum changing 3 in the 3rd quarter to give the Magic their first lead of the game.
2nd round draft pick Stanley Robinson finally broke out and had an outstanding game scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Robinson made his mark being aggressive at the rim with an array of dazzling dunks including a high-flying breakway windmill jam. Nice to see him finally get it going, but what took him so long?
Daniel Orton continues to make Magic GM Otis Smith look bad. Daniel got 3 points on 1-7 shooting and no rebounds. Naturally, he sat down the stretch as the Magic made their comeback. This guy is going to need to spend a lot of time with Patrick Ewing, as his fundamentals are virtually non-existent.