Josh McRoberts came out playing like a man possessed in the first quarter of the Indiana Pacers' 91-88 win over the Oklahoma City Thuner in Orlando. He had dunks in traffic, a flush alone on the break and made his way to the line all as the game was just getting underway.
Unfortunately, after nearly jumping through the roof to block a shot at the defensive end, McRoberts tweaked an ankle when he came back to Earth. Well, let's hope it was merely a tweak. After limping off the court, Mac left the gym and returned near the end of the game on crutches. Hopefully the crutches were precautionary and the injury easily rehabable. Regardless of the severity, Mac's week appears over which stinks because I was enjoying watching him play and was wondering if he could keep up his level of play.
As for the game, the Pacers shot the ball much better tonight and looked real good offensively in the first half as they took an eight point lead to the break. The second half was far less impressive with sloppy play and missed free throws combining to give Oklahoma City a chance to win the game in the waning seconds. Fortunately, an illegal screen call on D.J. White with 2.3 seconds left in the game (seriously) bailed the Pacers out. The game was tied but since White's foul was his 7th a summer league rule kicked in that gave the Pacers two free throws and the ball. Tyler Hansbrough knocked down the FTs and the Pacers eventually escaped with the W.
But enough about the game what about the players:
- Box score
- Roy Hibbert looked much better in his second game. He'll never look pretty moving around, but he really worked well with Hansbrough on the offensive end. Hibbert finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and only 3 fouls in 33 minutes of play. He now has only 5 fouls in just over 60 minutes of summer league play.
- Hibbert did help keep the game close by missing six free throws. Hibbert and Trey Johnson combined to miss 11 FTs which all seemed to occur in the third quarter.
- Brandon Rush did not play tonight giving him a chance to rest a sore knee. Bruno has a nice look at Rush's offseason progress, though.
- Tyler Hansbrough has another impressive night. Once again, he played solid and assertive finishing with 23 points. He's been able to find his way to the line, tonight going 9-10 from the stripe including the game winners. That's 18 FTs in two games which is a nice little trend.
- Another point about Hansbrough is how he anticipates plays and reacts without hesitation. Twice he was left open for a 3-ball and he made both threes, snapping off each shot after catching the ball in rhythm. If there was an ounce of doubt or hesitation he likely would've clanked the shot. He also had a couple of nice feeds from the high post to Hibbert for buckets. Again, Hansbrough hadn't received the pass before he anticipated the play because both times he immediately went to Roy upon catching the pass from the wing.
- A.J. Price had a pretty non-descript game playing only 16 minutes with 2 assists and 2 turnovers for his efforts. His handle was a little off, although he never played long enough to get in the flow of the game either.
- None of the invited rookies or free agents have really stuck out other than in brief flashes. Leo Lyons had a nice two minute stretch when he knocked down a couple of 18-foot jumpers and then flushed one home at the bucket. Aside from the missed free throws, Trey Johnson has probably been the best of the group of invited players.
- Larry Bird and Marquis Daniels sat next to each other in the corner of the gym for the whole game. I didn't see Quisy holding a tin cup but since he's from Orlando I wouldn't get too excited about the sighting. Of course, with the current market, Daniels free agent value may very well fall within the Pacers' budget so it's good to see the two sides are in touch.