THUNDER 76
PACERS 68
GAME IN REVIEW

RECAP: ORLANDO -- It’s just the start, but the Thunder is going to enjoy every part of the process.

With a 76-68 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, the Thunder kicked off it’s week at Summer League at Orlando’s Amway Center the way it hoped. There is plenty to work on both individually and as a team, but throughout the back-and-forth victory, the Thunder played with energy and intensity. Thunder assistant coach Rex Kalamian will be at the helm as the Thunder plays five games in six days, and to him, today’s win was productive to the overall goals of the team.

“Our effort was tremendous tonight,” Kalamian said. “Effort-wise, I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was a good start to the week. It’s a good platform to get better. I think there are a lot of positives out of tonight.”

The Thunder burst out to a 20-12 lead in the first quarter by holding the Pacers to just 3-for-15 shooting while also making three steals and blocking two shots. Throughout the afternoon, the Thunder managed to keep its opponent to just 40.7 percent shooting, including 4-for-18 from three-point range.

With Grant Jerrett, Daniel Orton and Steven Adams racking up seven combined blocks to protect the paint, Jeremy Lamb, Dwight Buycks and Andre Roberson helped the team make nine steals on the perimeter. As a unit the Thunder turned 16 Pacers turnovers into 20 points, with eight of those points coming during its decisive 13-2 fourth quarter run.

“We were able to get out on the break when we get stops,” Lamb said. “Defense is one of the biggest things to get out on the break and get easy buckets, to give yourself confidence if your shot isn’t going in. That was definitely the biggest part of the game.”

On the other end of the floor, the Thunder shared the ball to create open looks. Led by Buycks’ 13 helpers, the Thunder assisted on 22 of its 28 made field goal attempts. Buycks was one of four players who scored in double figures for the Thunder, but all ten men who touched the floor got into the scoring column.

The Thunder was particularly effective when driving-and-dishing to three-point shooters. The team as a whole shot 10-for-15 from three-point range, as Buycks, Lamb, Orton and Kyle Kuric combined to shoot 6-for-10 from distance. Orton finished with 15 points, Lamb had 14 and Kuric had eight straight during the Thunder’s big run, but the top scorer was Jerrett, who knocked down 4-of-5 threes en route to 17 points.

“Anytime we share the basketball like that, I’m happy,” Kalamian said. “That’s one of our points of emphasis going into this- the ball movement has to be there. I think you saw that with some of the threes that we got were open threes by Grant Jerrett primarily because we had two people on the basketball and we were willing to throw it back.”

Every man on the Summer League roster, from veterans like Reggie Jackson to rookies like Adams understand and value the development process within the Thunder organization. Today was positive for the Thunder in many respects, but it was just the first day of Summer League, and one day in each player’s overall effort to improve. With the same focus and sincerity as the team would take a regular season contest, the coaching staff will utilize today’s game with the intent of helping each player get better moving forward.

“This is just the start for many of our guys,” Kalamian said. “It’s just truly a beginning introduction to NBA basketball. We have some concepts offensively and defensively that we’re trying to instill with them, some habits that we want them to perform each and every day.”

“We’ll look at the positives and the negatives, like we do with our regular team,” Kalamian continued. “When we come together after every game, we say, ‘Let’s get better tomorrow.’”

TURNING POINT:

The Thunder trailed 54-53 with 9:27 left in the fourth quarter, but a personal 8-0 run by Kyle Kuric helped jump-start a 13-2 overall run that helped the Thunder take a lead that would never be challenged again. It started with back-to-back three-pointers on the right arc, then followed it up with two free throws. Grant Jerrett then hit a three-pointer before making a block that led to a Dwight Buycks fast break layup that made it 66-56 Thunder with 5:03 remaining in the game. The Pacers never got closer than five points the rest of the way.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:

Pretty drive-and-dish by Dwight Buycks as he scoops an underhand pass to Daniel Orton for a layup. Orton tips a ball out from behind to give DeAndre Liggins a steal and the Thunder a run-out. Nice box out and hustle by Steven Adams to regain possession for the Thunder. Slick lob pass from Jeremy Lamb in the pick-and-roll to Adams for a jam. Strong closeout by Andre Roberson to force a turnover. Quick backdoor cut by Roberson and Buycks hits him for a reverse layup.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:

Pretty lefty pass under the rim by Buycks and a smart effort by Lamb to spot up in the corner for three. Strong box out then a forceful rebound off a missed free throw by Adams. Wonderful defensive rotations help the Thunder force a 24-second shot clock violation. Quick pump-fake by Ron Anderson gets his man in the air so he can draw a foul. Excellent hustle by Adams to dive on the floor for a loose ball and call timeout.

9 Steals by the Thunder, which also held the Pacers to 40.7 percent shooting

10 Players who saw action for the Thunder, all of whom got into the scoring column

10-for-15 Shooting numbers for the Thunder from three-point range

13 Assists for Dwight Buycks, in addition to 12 points and only two turnovers

17 Points for Grant Jerrett, a game-high, including 4-for-5 shooting from three

22 Total assists for the Thunder on 28 made field goals

29 Combined points for Jeremy Lamb and Daniel Orton

43-29 The amount by which the Thunder outscored the Pacers in the first and fourth quarters

UP NEXT:

The Thunder's Summer League team will face the Orlando Magic at 10:00 a.m. CT on Monday. The game will air on NBA-TV.

The Thunder then plays against the Detroit Pistons at noon on Tuesday and the Philadelphia 76ers at noon on Wednesday.