OPSL Postgame: Sixers 89 Magic 90
Thursday, July 11th, 5:00PM (EST) at Amway Center, Orlando, FL
by Max Rappaport
ORLANDO –– The Orlando Pro Summer League (OPSL) is a lot of things – a great avenue for player development, an opportunity for NBA hopefuls to earn training camp invites or contracts, and a place for coaches and front office members from around the league to rub elbows. But today, it was something more… It was exciting!
Don’t get me wrong. As a hoops junkie, watching summer league basketball is one of my favorite things to do. Firstly, it provides an up-close look at some of the more intriguing players entering the league, and secondly, it’s basketball. That said, the games are more about player development and instilling offensive and defensive concepts than they are about wins and losses. For that reason, they simply do not compare to their regular- and postseason cousins.
After all three of their previous games this week, each of which was decided by at least eight points, the Sixers found themselves caught in a back-and-forth match with the Magic. The lead changed hands 14 times in the second half, and with just over ten seconds remaining, Philadelphia held an 89-88 lead. The Magic forced a turnover and rookie Victor Oladipo pushed the ball and set up at the top of the key. With six seconds left on the clock, Oladipo gathered, rose, and nailed an 18-foot jumper over Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams. Philadelphia summer league head coach Michael Curry called a timeout to advance the ball and drew up a play with 4.4 seconds remaing that resulted in an open 15-footer for Khalif Wyatt at the buzzer. His baseline jumper hit front rim and the Sixers fell to 0-4 on the week.
“You know, we haven’t won one all week, and I thought that was the one we were going to get,” said Michael Carter-Williams after the game. “Oladipo hit a great shot; I tried to contest it. We had a good look at the end; Khalif got off a good shot. It just didn’t go our way."
Moultrie’s Big Game
Arnett Moultrie put together his best game of the week, scoring 23 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. After the game, head coach Michael Curry credited the second-year big man’s energy, but noted that he’d like to see it more consistently.
“His activity level was higher,” said Curry. “It’s all about being in great shape, and we’re going to push him and run him and do everything we can do to get him in great shape.”
Things Slowing Down For MCW
As the week has gone on, Sixers rookie first-round selection Michael Carter-Williams feels that he begun to adjust, mentally, to the speed of NBA play. After notching 11 points, nine assists, and six rebounds against the Magic Thursday, the 6’6” rookie out of Syracuse talked about his experience at summer league.
“I think I’m more comfortable defensively and on the ball [than at the beginning of the week],” he said. “I still had some breakdowns, some turnovers – some costly turnovers – today and I missed a couple of free throws, which could have really helped us. So I’ve got a lot to work on, a lot to improve, so I’m just going to keep working."
Next Up: Brooklyn Nets (Friday, 4PM)
For the first time ever, the Orlando Pro Summer League has added a championship tournament to the week’s events. Under the new format, each team plays four games prior to tournament day on Friday. A point system is used to establish the bracket – teams are awarded three points for each win and one point for every quarter they won within their four games. The teams with the top two point totals square off on the final day in order to crown an OPSL champion, the third and fourth teams play for runner-up, and so on.
By virtue of the system, the Sixers, who notched six points en route to a ninth-place finish, will play the last-place Brooklyn Nets (four points) in the final game of the OPSL – a 4PM (EST) meeting. The game will be televised on NBA TV.