Orlando Pro Summer League, Day Two: Bobcats' Henderson The Star Of The Day

A preview of Day Two action, with recaps after each game and a nightly overview with analysis, superlatives and more from Evan Dunlap of SB Nation's Magic blog, Orlando Pinstriped Post, who's reporting live from the games.

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Orlando Pro Summer League, Day Two: Three Superlatives

Day Two of the Orlando Pro Summer League are in the books. Let’s take a look back at some of today’s superlatives.

Best Individual Performance: Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats. Henderson, a contender for this award yesterday, stepped things up today. Active and aggressive, the second-year small forward led Charlotte to a buzzer-beating win over the Thunder with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. He averaged 8.3 minutes per game as a rookie, and appeared in only 43 contests, but his improved jumpshot could make him part of the Bobcats’ rotation if coach Larry Brown overcomes his aversion to playing youngsters. Bobcats assistant coach Dave Hanners compared his impact on the game to that of Michael Jordan in his prime, and while Hanner’s being generous, his point is well taken. Henderson’s an exceptionally tough cover, at least here in Orlando.

Honorable mentions: Terrence Williams, New Jersey Nets; Eric Maynor, Thunder.

Breakout Performance: Jodie Meeks, Philadelphia 76ers. The undersized two-guard from Kentucky, who’s entering his second season, upstaged the more heralded Evan Turner, his Philly teammate, with an efficient and versatile offensive game. Meeks scored 18 points on 13 shooting possessions, and is a threat of the catch or in transition. Without him, The 76ers might not have had enough firepower to beat the Celtics.

Honorable mentions: Patrick Ewing Jr., Orlando Magic; Damion James, Nets.

Most Disappointing Performance: Daniel Orton, Magic. I hate to pile on to Orton, who also earned this spot in yesterday’s wrap, but he’s the only real choice today. Drafted 29th overall, Orton continues to play without much purpose or confidence. The unpolished center missed all 6 of his shot attempts and grabbed only 2 rebounds in 17 minutes. That last number might be the most troubling one: he’s 19 years old and left Kentucky immediately following the tournament to improve his conditioning, but he readily admitted that he’s not in good shape. Magic coach Patrick Ewing played Paul Davis a majority of the center minutes instead.

Honorable mentions: Josh McRoberts, Pacers; Evan Turner, 76ers.


Williams And James Dominate To Lead Nets Over Pacers, 80-69

Terrence Williams and Damion James powered the New Jersey Nets past the Indiana Pacers, 80-69, on Tuesday night to cap Day Two play in the Orlando Pro Summer League. Williams, in the midst of an attempted conversion to point guard, got himself in to trouble by jumping in the air to pass, but otherwise had an excellent game. He scored 24 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and led all players with 7 assists. However, James garnered more attention with his energetic play at both ends, and as the featured player in the Nets’ offense. Setting up on the left block, James looked to drive and draw contact, with mixed results. He shot just 8-of-20 from the floor and a miserable 4-of-13 from the line, yet gave an incredible effort and showed the Nets he has the athletic and physical tools to make him a contributor at this level. He led all players with 11 rebounds. As a small forward.

Poor shooting—26-of-67 for 38.8% to be exact—doomed the Pacers. Center Josh McRoberts was the guiltiest party, shooting 3-of-18 from the floor, including 2-of-12 from beyond the arc. Lottery pick Paul George missed 10 of his 15 shots and scored only 10 points, but did add a staggering 7 steals to his line, offsetting the damage he did with his bricks. Lance Stephenson led the Pacers in scoring for the second day in a row, with 15, and he did so on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting; he simply did not get enough touches to make a bigger impact, as the Pacers looked for McRoberts at the top of the arc, or George on the wings.

But McRoberts had about as good a game as anyone shooting 3-of-17 can have. 6 rebounds for him, to go with 6 assists and 2 blocked shots. He’s a unique player at center in that he’s just as comfortable posting up as he is leading the break. His downfall, at least in this game, was that he was most comfortable shooting threes off the catch.

Third overall draft pick Derrick Favors contributed 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on a tidy 5-of-8 shooting. He’ll need to grab more than one rebound every 9 minutes to succeed at the next level, however.

Check this StoryStream later this evening for my Day Two superlatives.


Balanced Offense Helps Sixers Cruise Past Celtics, 86-69

The Philadelphia 76ers’ balanced attack trumped the Boston Celtics’ one-man show this afternoon as they improved their record to 2-0 in the Orlando Pro Summer League, with an 86-69 victory. The Celtics jumped out to an early 15-3 lead, but faltered quickly after that as Philadelphia got its act together at both ends of the floor. Second overall draft pick Evan Turner showed he needs a lot of polish, but also showed promise, with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Third-year power forward Marreese Speights sleepwalked through the game on offense and again struggled from the field, shooting only 5-of-12, yet showed a commitment to rebounding (a team-high 11) and, yes, even passing in today’s game. A lob dunk he converted with an assist from Jrue Holiday late in the game seemed to stir him a bit. He used his touches more purposefully and aggressively after that point. He finished with 12 points.

Boston once again struggled to find offense. Second-round draft pick Luke Harangody, who starred for the Celtics yesterday, continued his solid work today even though his outside touch appeared to leave him. He needed only 16 first-half minutes to tally 9 points and 9 boards, leading all players in both categories. He finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. His activity and effort are to be commended. A scout near me agrees, praising Harangody’s “professional” approach.

Jaycee Carroll was another Celtics bright spot. He made 6 of his 10 shots and tied Harangody for the team lead in scoring, with 14 points.

Philadelphia’s Cedric Simmons made a strong case for an invitation to camp. The 24-year-old journeyman power forward added 10 points and 7 rebounds and also earned compliments from team officials in attendance.


Pargo Sinks Thunder At Buzzer, Lifts Bobcats To 86-85 Win

In the most exciting Orlando Pro Summer League game yet, the Charlotte Bobcats surged past the Oklahoma City Thunder, with point guard Jeremy Pargo floating in a tough layup at the buzzer for an 86-85 final. Pargo posted a modest line of 7 points and 3 assists, but he made the most important shot of the game to complete the Thunder’s comeback. Small forward Gerald Henderson fueled the Bobcats’ rally, scoring 14 second-half points on 3-of-5 shooting, doing most ofhis work on the low block, where his speed and strength help him overpower other players at the position.

Charlotte also got solid production out of center Alexis Ajinca, who poured in an efficient 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He looks like a legitimate low-post presence, which is marvelous considering where he was at this time one year ago. Swingman P.J. Tucker provided offense off the bench, getting out in transition and finishing his chances with 10 points.

The Thunder got double-figure scoring from each of their starters, and James Harden once again led the way with 19 points. He continues to struggle with his outside shot, but his aggressive takes to the basket have produced 28 free-throw attempts in 68 minutes this week. Eric Maynor was the Thunder’s true star of the day, though. 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists from the second-year point guard, acquired from the Jazz last season as an incentive to absorb the unwanted contract of Matt Harpring. Maynor showed prowess in transition and in the halfcourt, particularly in creating for himself in pick-and-roll situations. He showed proficiency using his floater, but he missed one on the Thunder’s final possession, which would have given them a three-point lead.


Hayward's Three Clinches Jazz's 78-73 Win Over Magic

The Utah Jazz picked up their first win of the Orlando Pro Summer League, holding off a late surge by the Orlando Magic to win, 78-73. Rookie Gordon Hayward made the key basket, a three-pointer from the right wing to give the Jazz a 74-70 lead with 30.2 seconds to play. He finished with a team-high 14 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor. Second-year center Kosta Koufos added 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots in a solid effort for the Jazz, playing a key role in neutralizing the Magic’s big men.

Combo forward Patrick Ewing Jr. flourished in defeat for Orlando, scoring a game-high 17 points on a crisp 7-of-12 shooting. Paul Davis added 13 off the bench, doing most of his damage from the foul line, where he shot 9-of-11. For the second straight day, Magic big man Daniel Orton, the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft, struggled. He scored 2 points and missed all 6 of his shot attempts, and had just 2 rebounds and 1 block in 17 minutes. He lost playing time to Davis down the stretch, and with good reason: Davis was key in Orlando’s comeback, as they erased an 18-point deficit in the first half to take a one-point lead off a Ewing three-pointer late in the fourth quarter, their first lead this week. It was short-lived, and Utah ultimately prevailed.

The Magic also got a positive contribution from Ben McCauley. The floppy-haired, jump-shooting power forward tallied 7 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist, working primarily at the top of the key.


Orlando Pro Summer League, Day Two: What To Watch For As Play Continues

The Las Vegas Summer League may have more teams, games, and even allows fans in the stands, but the Orlando Pro Summer League--which continues today--is every bit as important. Teams looking for a strictly basketball experience for their summer squads seek out the Orlando Magic's no-nonsense league, which they host in their practice facility. This year, the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, and Utah Jazz will all attend.

I'm Evan Dunlap, known as Ben Q. Rock at Orlando Pinstriped Post, SB Nation's Magic blog, and I'll be there to cover all 20 games this week for SB Nation.com. Here's what's on tap tonight. The games are available on NBA TV, but you can watch the action streaming on NBA.com for a fee, if that's more convenient. Check back in this StoryStream for updates after every game.

Game 1: Jazz at Magic, 1 PM - These teams have plenty to work on after losing yesterday. Utah scored 83 points and shot 48.1% from the floor, but benefited from some not-easily-converted broken plays; its halfcourt offense left a lot to be desired. The Magic, for their part, shot only 35.4% from the floor with their top draft choice, Daniel Orton, missing 7 of his 8 shots before earning an ejection for scrapping with Indiana's Josh McRoberts. I expect the Jazz to get Gordon Hayward, the 9th overall pick, more involved; he used only 4 shooting possessions yesterday, in nearly 26 minutes.

Game 2: Bobcats at Thunder, 3 PM - This game pits a pair of yesterday's victors against one another. Charlotte's athleticism helped it hold off the Jazz, but just barely, while the Thunder rallied behind Byron Mullens and James Harden in the second half to stun the Celtics. Harden should try involving himself more in the first half, instead of deferring until the team really needs his skills. Can he keep up with the Bobcats' duo of Derrick Brown and Gerald Henderson? Another aspect of this game to watch: Mullens versus raw Bobcats center Alexis Ajinca. Both are lanky, lean seven-footers, but Mullens has shown more polish so far.

Game 3: 76ers at Celtics, 5 PM - Luke Harangody can put his outside stroke on display against Philly, which capped off last night's action with a win over the Nets behind Jrue Holiday. Harangody faces a challenge on D against the Sixers' Marreese Speights, who shot just 1-of-11 yesterday but is nonetheless an explosive offensive talent. He'll get his chances against Harangody's suspect defense. Let's see what he does with it. The point guard battle between Holiday and Boston's Oliver Lafayette, who scored 14 points yesterday, certainly bears watching.

Game 4: Pacers at Nets, 7 PM - The second night should end the same way the first one with: a fantastic one-on-one matchup at the point headlines this capper, with Lance Stephenson, yesterday's breakout player, locking horns with Terrence Williams, yesterday's top player. These teams have more going on than those two players, of course, but the matchup between the athletic point guards is still the top draw here. The Nets will try to squeeze more production out of Derrick Favors, the third overall pick in this year's draft, who posted a mediocre 8-point, 7-rebound, 4-turnover line last night.

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