The Pacers wrapped up Orlando Summer League play bathing in a MarShron Brooks showcase performance in a bad loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The Pacers kept the game close, but the Nets pushed the game to double figures as halftime drew near, and were able to cruise to an easy victory off of 23 Pacers turnovers despite a Pacers surge early in the fourth quarter.
After playing his best game of the Summer League in a starting role yesterday, Ben Hansbrough followed it up with a poor six minute effort that resulted in three turnovers. A short, invisible performance from Julian Mavunga put all of the focus on the three players Pacers fans had their eyes on heading into the Summer League.
Lance Stephenson returned following his day off aimed to continue his point guard balancing act of helping the team to score while facilitating at a high level, but as the game wore on, he appeared visibly frustrated with his teammates' inability to make use of the shots they were given. It's an understandable frustration given the quality shots that went in for the team on Thursday. As a result, Stephenson was outshone by Brooks, who not only looked to score, but got plenty of help from his teammates when he chose to move the ball. Stephenson played poorly in the fourth quarter making sloppy, lazy plays that almost seemed like he had checked out despite the team's comeback.
Fatigue finally caught up to Miles Plumlee, who after a nine-point first half blanked entirely in the second. He remained active in the second half, even throwing in a highlight jam in the third that was waived off due to his left hand being on the rim. Plumlee wrapped up Summer League play with a lot of positives, including being the fourth best rookie in the Orlando Summer League according to NBA.com's first edition of their Rookie Ladder, praising his offensive game and his Mad Men combover.
Orlando Johnson went 1-6 in the first half, continuing to struggle in shooting, but came on stronger in the second as his jumper began to show signs of finally coming out of its slump. Ultimately, his 17 points on 15 shots was his best shooting game of Summer League, but it's hard to look at Johnson's overall week and feel great about where he is as a player who can come in and help the Indiana Pacers, but with a second look coming in training camp, it'll be up to Johnson to prove his Summer League performance was a fluke.
Even though Stephenson showed a lot with his playmaking abilities this week as a point guard, showing off his court vision and setting his teammates up in a positive place to make things happen though will look to be the team's shooting guard off the bench with the acquisition of D.J. Augustin. It won't hurt having another ball handler off of the bench, however, and if Stephenson can make that final turn into translating his skill set into a quality NBA player, the Pacers bench is in a very good position to go alongside the quality play of Miles Plumlee. Catch the box score and game highlights on NBA.com.