OPSL Championship: Sixers 91, Grizzlies 75
ORLANDO –– When it comes to summer league basketball, most will tell you that it’s about process, not results. Individual growth, team chemistry, fundamental play… all are typically weighed more heavily than wins and losses. For the Sixers, though, their 4-1 record at the Orlando Pro Summer League is a testament to those things.
Despite the absence of center Nerlens Noel (rest) and swingman K.J. McDaniels (left ankle sprain) in Friday’s OPSL Championship Game, the Sixers came away with the victory, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 91-75.
“It's a building block,” said Sixers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce, who handled head coaching duties for the team in Orlando. “I think all of them came in with the right attitude, and more importantly they were just unselfish all week. Defensively, they were committed to each other, and then offensively, we had a lot of great looks.”
Philadelphia was led by swingman Hollis Thompson, who scored 21 points (8/15 FG 3/8 3FG), grabbed six rebounds, and dished out three assists. Casper Ware scored 19 points, matching his average points per game this week. The 5’10” point guard trailed only Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (24.0 PPG) in scoring at OPSL.
“[This week] helped my confidence a lot, just knowing that I can play at this level,” Ware said after Friday’s championship victory. “That’s what I wanted to do, just come out and show that I can play and get better.”
The play of Ware, who originally joined the team on a 10-day contract in March, impressed fellow point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who was in town to watch Friday’s game.
“I think he’s come along a lot,” he said of Ware. “I think [this week] he really established himself. He was great. He was unbelievable. He led the team. Not only was he scoring, but he got other people involved.”
But there won’t be much time for the Sixers to reflect upon their championship victory in Orlando. They’re one of three teams (along with Miami and Houston) set to take part in the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas beginning tomorrow. After Friday’s game, Coach Pierce told reporters that Ware, Noel, McDaniels, and Jerami Grant are all expected to play in Las Vegas. The number of games in which the four will appear has yet to be determined.
The Sixers’ first Samsung NBA Summer League game is scheduled for Saturday at 10:30pm (EST) against the Utah Jazz. Watch on NBA TV or on NBA.com via Summer League Live.