Orlando Pro Summer League, Day Four: OKC's Shakur Dazzles In First Start

A preview of Day Four 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 Four: Three Superlatives

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

Best Individual Performance: Mustafa Shakur, Oklahoma City Thunder.

Shakur missed four shots from the field and committed one turnover, but that’s almost the only bad he did today for the Thunder in their narrow win over the Magic. His 21 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals went a long way toward giving Oklahoma City a big lead, and his three-pointer from the right wing gave the Thunder a four-point lead with 6.5 seconds to play. A dominant performance from the point guard from Arizona, who went undrafted in 2007.

Honorable mentions: Luke Harangody, Boston Celtics; Terrence Williams, New Jersey Nets.

Breakout Performance: Magnum Rolle, Indiana Pacers.

Rolle posted the day’s only double-double, leading the Pacers with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals in their miraculous defeat of the Celtics. The rangy, athletic power forward may need to add some muscle if he hopes to crack an NBA rotation, but Pacers personnel boss Larry Bird should be pleased that this year’s 51st overall draft pick is so skilled and energetic. He has the chance to earn a sparkplug role off Indiana’s bench.

Honorable mentions: Ndudi Ebi, Philadelphia 76ers; Donell Taylor, Orlando Magic.

Most Disappointing Performance: Derrick Favors, Nets.

After four days, we’re still waiting for Favors to do something worth noting. Today marked arguably his worst performance: six points, six rebounds, five fouls, and seven turnovers for the third overall pick. At some point, he has to prove he can do something useful. No one doubts his talent—he went third overall for a reason—but he might be further away from contributing at this level than we may have initially thought.

Honorable mentions: Patrick Ewing Jr., Magic; Evan Turner, 76ers


Henderson's Tip-In Saves Bobcats, Sinks Shorthanded 76ers

While ESPN showed poorly rendered graphics of LeBron James wearing different uniforms and Jim Gray lobbed him softball questions in what Bruce Arthur called “a seismic dumbshow,” the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Bocbats put the finishing touches on a fun Orlando Pro Summer League game, as Charlotte’s Gerald Henderson tipped in a missed shot by Derrick Brown to preserve victory for the Bobcats by a 77-76 final. Philadelphia took a lead of Ndudi Ebi’s three-pointer from the right corner sixteen seconds before, but was alas unable to complete the comeback.

Philadelphia faced a talent deficit without veterans Jrue Holiday and Marreese Speights, who sat out for precautionary reasons. It got another strong game from shooter extraordinaire Jodie Meeks, who led all players with 17 points, and another dud from second overall draft choice Evan Turner. The Ohio State product and triple-double threat had an opportunity to excel as a playmaker with Holiday out of the lineup, but instead fizzled. He shot one-of-six from the floor, had three of his shots blocked, and managed just one assist to three turnovers.

Brown led the Bobcats with 16 points, eight rebounds, and three blocked shots. He shot six-of-nine from the floor and showed that he has legitimate post-up skills, although questions about his ability to use them against NBA competition linger.

Henderson’s tip-in makes him the hero, but he easily could have been the goat. He attempted 14 shots, more than any other player in this game, and missed 10 of them.

Philadelphia’s Trent Plaisted scored 14, while Ebi added 14 off the bench in his first action of the week.

This win is Charlotte’s second at the buzzer this week. Jeremy Pargo’s layup beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.


Jazz's Balanced Offense Pushes Them Past Nets, 91-74

Big men Kosta Koufos and Rod Benson powered the Utah Jazz past the New Jersey Nets, 91-74, in the third game of Orlando Pro Summer League action on Day Four. Koufos, who started, and Benson, who came off the bench combined for 26 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-18 shooting and proved simply too much for the Nets’ Brian Zoubek and Connor Atchley to handle inside. Terrence Williams once again led New Jersey in scoring, with 23 points on 10-of-20 from the floor. He and Damion James accounted for 36 of the Nets’ points and 15 of their 29 baskets. Incidentally, both players left the game late with what appeared to be minor injuries. James may have bruised his left wrist, while Williams was grabbing his left foot/ankle area.

Utah ran a precise, balanced, efficient offensive attack in a way that mush have pleased head coach Jerry Sloan, seated courtside at the RDV SportsPlex. First-round draft choice Gordon Hayward made all four of his shot attempts and scored 11 points, while Sundiata Gaines added 10 points and made two three-pointers. All told, seven of Utah’s 15 players scored at least seven points, and none of them shot worst than 62.5% from the field. Overall, Utah shot an incredible 57.1% from the field.

The Nets’ turnovers did them in, as they committed 19 for 24 Utah points. And other than Williams and James, no one could generate offense, though that’s largely because those two players dominate the ball. Absolutely no inside presence for New Jersey, whose efforts to post-up Zoubek were ineffective. He scored five points on five shooting possessions and never looked comfortable in the low post. Third overall draft choice Derrick Favors didn’t do anything positive of note. New Jersey stationed him on the weakside and had him crash the offensive glass, but did not run many plays for him. He finished with six points on two-of-seven shooting, six rebounds, five fouls, and seven turnovers.


Paul George's Three-Point Play Before The Buzzer Caps Pacers' Comeback From 27 Down Against Celtics

In the game of the summer so far, the Indiana Pacers rallied from a deficit that ballooned to 27 points in the second half to defeat the Boston Celtics, 86-85, behind Paul George’s reverse layup and-one conversion just before the final buzzer. Indiana trailed, 30-15, at the end of the first quarter and 58-31 at halftime, but surged in the second half, more than doubling-up the Celtics by a 55-27 margin. George scored 17 points, trailing only Magnum Rolle’s 19 for the team lead. Boston’s Jaycee Carroll scored 19 points off the bench to lead it.

The Celtics built their lead thanks in large part to Luke Harangody, who continued to impress with his ability to create offense for himself despite limited athleticism. He started the game by scoring nine points on four-of-six shooting, but fizzled in the second half, missing six of his nine shots; he finished with 16 points.

Indiana made its comeback on the defensive end, forcing an incredible 19 turnovers in the second half, and converting them into 26 points. Rolle and George recorded three steals apiece, with Russell Robinson and Marcus Landry grabbing two each and four other players tallying one each. The Celtics’ sloppiness did them in. Point guard Oliver Lafayette finished with six assists, but also had seven turnovers, five of them in the second half. He’ll need to reign that in if he hopes to play the point at the NBA level.

Rolle was the real star, with 11 rebounds to go with his scoring and stealing.

Pacers point guard Lance Stephenson, one of the best players all this week, played just eight minutes today. He fell to the floor moving without the ball in the first quarter and appeared to injure his left thigh or quadriceps. He received treatment on the sideline and did not return.


Shakur Stuffs Stat Sheet, Leads Thunder To 80-78 Win Over Host Magic

The Oklahoma City Thunder let top players James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor, and D.J. White sit out today’s summer-league game against the Orlando Magic, but it didn’t cost them any. Point guard Mustafa Shakur announced his presence with a 21-point outing and hit the game-clinching three-pointer, giving the Thunder an 80-76 lead with 6.5 seconds to play to boost Oklahoma City to 3-1 this week and send the Magic reeling to 0-4; Orlando’s Paul Davis made a layup just before the buzzer to provide the 80-78 final score. Shakur did more than score, though: he also grabbed five rebounds, dished five assists, and recorded five steals in a brilliant performance.

Shakur, Kyle Weaver, and Ryan Reid each hit timely baskets for OKC, helping it to secure a 14-point lead in the second half. But the Magic battled back, once again on the strength of shooting guard Joe Crawford, who rather impressively dueled against New Jersey’s Damion James yesterday, with similar results. Crawford scored nine straight points in teh fourth quarter to bring Orlando to within two points at 71-69, and then found point guard Jerome Randle in transition for a three-pointer to give Orlando the lead. Crawford finished with 17 points on six-of-11 shooting in just 24 minutes.

Orlando can take heart in the fact that Oklahoma City had to make some tough baskets, and also benefitted from an extraordinarily high number of and-one chances. The Magic were not soundly defeated, but they were outplayed. That the Thunder got this win without its four best players here attests to the breadth and depth of their talent. Shakur loks like a legitimate NBA point guard, albeit a third-stringer, and he is scrapping for minutes just on their summer-league squad. There is a lot to like about what GM Sam Presti has assembled.

Orlando shooting guard Donell Taylor, who did not play yesterday, scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead his team. Though he isn’t much of an outside shooter, he can convert inside and in transition. Davis continues to look like a potential 13th man, with 15 points and five boards off the Magic’s bench today. His utility as a big man rolling to the cup in pick-and-roll situations may earn him an invitation to the Magic’s training camp.


Orlando Pro Summer League, Day Four: What To Watch For On The Penultimate Day

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: Thunder (2-1) at Magic (0-3), 1 PM - Even without power forward Serge Ibaka, who injured his left ankle on Tuesday and won't play the rest of the week, the Thunder hold an embarrassing edge over the Magic in terms of talent, boasting seven other players likely to make the final roster this season. In Daniel Orton, Orlando has but one player with a guaranteed deal, and he hasn't made a basket since Monday. Orton, who readily admits he is out of shape, faces the challenge of defending the active, athletic Byron Mullens. It's likely that Paul Davis will continue to play big minutes in relief of Orton. Additionally, look for James Harden to continue his parade to the foul line. Orlando's lack of perimeter defense or athletic rim protectors should ensure he has another high-scoring game.

Game 2: Pacers (2-1) at Celtics (1-2), 3 PM - Perhaps no team has it going on quite like the Pacers this week. Lance Stephenson is one of two rookies to put together three solid games this week, and for long stretches Josh McRoberts has looked like the most skilled player on the court. This athletic club faces a less talented, but still hardworking, Celtics group led by Luke Harangody, who is making a strong case for inclusion on the First-Team All-League squad at week's end; he joins Stephenson in that group of true standouts I just mentioned. Can Indiana, for all of its athletic gifts, keep the Celtics' guards out of the lane? If Jaycee Carroll and Matt Janning get it going again, the Pacers and Celtics could finish the day with identical records.

Game 3: Jazz (1-2) at Nets (2-1), 5 PM - Utah has a nasty habit of falling behind early, necessitating big comeback tries too farfetched to actually succeed. The Nets can exploit that, with the top backcourt of any team here. Terrence Williams and Damion James have raised eyebrows here with their strong play. I do think this is a game where Utah's Gordon Hayward can break out, though, given the touches. A last-resort option rather than featured player through the first three days, Hayward has the skills to escape the Nets' perimeter defense, or at least to draw enough attention away from his teammates so he can create easy looks for them. New Jersey's Derrick Favors will try to take James Augustine down to the low post, but I doubt he succeeds.

Game 4: 76ers (2-1) at Bobcats (2-1), 7 PM - Evan Turner and Favors seem to be engaged in a private contest to see which of the two can impress the least. A disaster on offense so far, his task gets no easier today, with Charlotte's Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown, Alade Aminu, and P.J. Tucker potentially checking him at various times today. Given the difficulty he faces there, it's easy to imagine another game in which Philly relies on its non-roster guys early, and then turns the offense over to veterans Jrue Holiday and Marreese Speights when it's desperate for a bucket. If the game gets sloppy, with poor shooting percentages and silly turnovers, highlights could result: Turner, Holiday, Henderson, Brown, and Aminu all know how to finish the break.

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