Second-round draft pick Lance Stephenson, a point guard from Cincinnati, dazzled in his NBA debut, scoring 21 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 86-77 win over the helpless Orlando Magic in the second game of Orlando Pro Summer-League action. He even impressed All-Star small forward Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, in town to support his Thunder teammates participating this week, who posted this message to his Twitter account during the game:
Lance Stephenson is out here in Orlando puttin on a clinic!! He can hoop!!
Stephenson made everything look effortless, getting through Orlando's perimeter defense with ease and finishing inside. Second-rounder aren't guaranteed NBA contracts, but Stephenson's a safe bet to make it to Indiana's training camp. The Pacers' alternatives are A.J. Price and T.J. Ford, which does little to inspire confidence in their rotation. He capped off the day with a tomahawk slam after shaking Orlando's Curtis Stinson with a right-left-right crossover, putting the Pacers up 11 with 1:25 to play.
Stephenson and McRoberts looked like co-MVPs until McRoberts drew an ejection for tussling with Orlando's Daniel Orton. The first-rounder from Kentucky had the roughest day of any high-profile player so far, shooting 1-of-8 from the floor and 1-of-4 from the foul line for 3 points before his ejection. He also had 5 fouls and 4 turnovers. On his Twitter account, he called his first day "terrible" and vowed to "slow down" before tomorrow. Patrick Ewing Jr. led Orlando offensively, scoring 15 points, and his jump-shooting in the third quarter helped the Magic challenge a Pacers lead that had ballooned to 18 points in the first half.
But with Ewing earning a breather, the task of generating offense fell to the likes of Donell Taylor and Joe Crawford, and the Magic had no inside players on whom to rely. Just no way for them to get easy buckets, despite their best efforts; power forward Jeff Adrien, who stands just 6-feet-7, deserves credit for giving an honest effort inside. He scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards as fellow big men Paul Davis and Ben McCauley preferred to launch 17-footers.
The Thunder will "host" the Boston Celtics momentarily.