On Day 2 of the Orlando Summer League, the Thunder faced off against the Indiana Pacers. The game was led almost throughout by the Pacers. While the Thunder were able to grab a brief lead in the 4th quarter, the Indiana squad surged ahead in the final minutes to take a lead that they would not relinquish.
The Pacers were led by 3rd year guard Lance Stephenson, who was head and shoulders above the rest of the players on the court. Stephenson led all scorers with 28 points on 10-14 shooting, including 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal.
The Thunder squad looked strangely like the normal Thunder team. There were numerous forays at the rim, a reliance on drive-and-kicks, and unfortunately lots of sub-optimal shots.
Lazar Hayward, 15 points, 8 rebounds (Thunder Wonder)
Hayward came back strong from both a subpar Day 1 as well as a shaky start to this game, finishing with a team-high 15 points. Hayward's play was critical in helping the Thunder rally from a double-digit deficit to take a brief lead about halfway through the 4th quarter.
Even though his handle is shaky and his shooting spotty, I can see why the team likes Hayward. He plays hard all the time, seems to be the one guy who has a sense of purpose on the court, and is not afraid to battle down low. Hayward may never see legitimate game minutes while with OKC, but it is clear that he is a guy who will make players like Durant and Westbrook work in practice, and that might be his best contribution to the cause.
Perry Jones III, 8 points, 4 rebounds (Thunder Down Under)
PJ3 had a solid if understated Day 2. Most of his effective work was done in the 1st half, where he did a good job battling against Miles Plumlee. He was able to grab 4 rebounds and block 3 shots in that time of play.
Unfortunately it appeared that PJ3 might have tweaked an ankle or something during the 2nd half and finished on the bench. Given Jones' issues surrounding his knee, I'm sure the OKC staff will be keeping him under close eye to make sure he hasn't caused any severe damage.
Reggie Jackson, 13 points, 4 assists (Thunder Blunder)
Jackson followed up a solid Day 1 with a very poor Day 2. It seemed from the get-go that Jackson saw his match-up against Stephenson as a personal challenge. Unfortunately, while Stephenson was dominating both ends of the court, Jackson's attempts to answer often fell short.
Jackson again demonstrated an ability to get into the lane and to the rim, but he still struggles to finish plays. He missed a number of layups in the lane. On top of that, he still does not seem to have a good plan in place for what he is going to do with the ball if the defense closes up. He needs to continue to work with and trust his teammates so that he is not simply trying to be a smaller version of Russell Westbrook.
Garrett Temple, 9 points
I was pleasantly surprised with Temple's play. He seemed to be the lone pure shooter on a team that is desperately starved for pure shooters. He was the ideal guy to be working off of Jackson and he did get some good looks in the 2nd half. He has a nice quick shooting stroke and I'm eager to see how he does the rest of the week.
Lance Stephenson, 28 points, 7 assists (Thunder Plunderer)
Simply put, he was the best player on the court. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. Most importantly, he duped Jackson into playing a game of oneupsmanship, and that is a game Jackson cannot win at this point in his career.
Miles Plumlee, 14 points, 3 rebounds
Plumlee is a rookie who is looking to contribute to the Pacers' improving front line. While Plumlee is not going to wow anyone with his athleticism, he does seem to have a knack for working around the rim. He reminds me a bit of DeJuan Blair in that regard. However, he seemed to struggle in getting good rebounding position, which is kind of critical when you're playing the center position.