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.