Can you believe it? Actual, factual basketball games. The NBA Finals weren't that long ago, but for those of us who follow the D-League and other non-NBA hoops it's been awhile. The Orlando Summer League is a good way to ease back into it, as there are only a handful of teams. I've written a little bit about this before, but Summer League games are oddities in that they're trying to serve several purposes at once - see what kind of talent was actually drafted a few weeks ago, take a look at younger guys on a roster who still have some work to do and/or are focused on improving on one specific facet of their game, and throw a bunch of D-Leaguers/undrafted college players/older players who've been in Europe out there to see if there's anything worth adding to the roster.
So in looking at these games, one has to keep all of that in mind, and be somewhat cognizant that dropping 30 points in a Summer League game doesn't mean much in and of itself. In these recaps I (and Scott or Ais, if they contribute) will try to focus mainly on the guys you may not have heard of, while also pointing out the noteworthy performances from the players who are guaranteed NBA roster spots. Also, I didn't catch any of these games on the internet, but hopefully in the future I'll be able to get a feel for how some of these guys look. With all that said, hit the jump for a look at yesterday's action.
Indiana Pacers 75, Philadelphia/New Jersey Frankensteins 67
The NBA.com headline on this one was something to the effect of "Hansbrough Proves Doubters Wrong," and it's true that he played a decent game. 17 points on 13 shots and 5 rebounds isn't bad, though if we're being honest five fouls in 25 minutes isn't great, and he shot under 70 percent on his free throws. Plus I assume he was guarding Marreese Speights for part of the time that Speights went off for 28 points and 11 rebounds. There weren't really a lot of great performances in this game, as besides Speights and Chris Douglas-Roberts the Philly/NJ team got nothing offensively. Terrence Williams shot 1-8, though he had 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals and could be an active frontcourt defender this year for the Nets. Jrue Holiday played 38 minutes and shot 3-11, though he had 4 steals and 2 blocks. On Indiana's side, they had a few players score in double figures, but that includes Brandon Rush shooting 18 field goals to get 15 points.
The D-League guys were particularly disappointing in this one, though more disappointing is the playing time some of them got. Trey Johnson played the most out of that group, but he shot 2-8. Blake Ahearn was 1-2 in seven and a half minutes, Jason Ellis only played about nine and a half minutes and only had one rebound, Gary Forbes played only five minutes and shot 0-2. Derrick Byars was a DNP-CD. Will Blalock is a former D-League who's been playing in Europe, and he got the start for Indiana, but in 21 and a half minutes he shot 1-5 and had 7 turnovers. This was a pretty inauspicious first Summer League game.
This was another game that saw balanced scoring from one team and two players carrying the load for the other, but it was the even-handed approach that won this game. Russell Westbrook led the way with 22 points on 11 shots, 9 assists and 5 rebounds, though he also had four turnovers. He also shot 18 free throws, and while I know that getting to the basket is his specialty, that's crazy for a Summer League game. DJ White also played well for the Thunder, scoring 13 points on 10 shots and leading all rebounders with 9. James Harden put up a decent line, 17 points on 9 shots, including 2-3 on three-pointers, plus 4 rebounds but also 3 turnovers. Shaun Livingston is playing out of position at forward, and his line makes it seem as if he was uncomfortable, needing eight shots to get 7 points, though he also had six assists. Ryan Anderson was the guy for the Magic, scoring 21 points on 14 shots to go with seven rebounds, though most if not all of that came in the second half.
Moses Ehambe was a DNP-CD for the Thunder, as was Ridiculous Upside contributor and all-around good guy/player Kasib Powell or the Magic. Come on Orlando, get it together. The Magic did give Russell Robinson, Lance Allred and Richard Hendrix some run, and while Allred only played about seven minutes, Hendrix played well. 10 points on 4-5 shots, 4 rebounds and a block in 15 minutes well. Russell Robinson started and played a little over 27 minutes, though he missed his only field goal attempt and finished with five fouls.
No one on the Jazz played particularly well in this game except perhaps reserve Josh Duncan, who scored 12 points on 7 shots in just under 15 minutes. James Augustine had seven rebounds but wasn't really a factor offensively. For the Celtics, JR Giddens was really the only one who played what could be called "poorly," shooting 4-10, though he also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a block. Bill Walker played pretty well but also fouled out in 21 and a half minutes. Nick Fazekas also had a nice game, making half his shots (and half of his six three-pointers) and collecting five rebounds in 21 and a half minutes.
Cedric Bozeman got a fair amount of playing time (23 and a half minutes) but missed all four of his field goals. Andre Ingram played just over 8 minutes and missed all five of his field goals. Kevin Kruger played just over seven minutes, missed all three of his shots (two of which were three-pointers) and had zero assists. Sigh. Kevin Lyde actually did okay, making both of his field goals and scoring six points in 18 and a half minute with three rebounds and two assists. Mike Sweetney seems to have done okay in the first step towards getting back into the NBA, scoring only three points in 15 minutes but also collecting five rebounds and blocking two shots.