Even in Summer League action, the Thunder's process-based approach to player development is of the utmost importance. As the team kick-started it's week-long trip to Orlando that features five games to help each player improve, the first game showed that growth over the summer can be aided by focus, hard work and playing time.

In addition to the dedication to improving as players, on Monday the Thunder's Summer League team showed its never-back-down attitude, a core philosophy of Thunder basketball. In the team's first game in Orlando against the Boston Celtics, the Thunder fell behind early by 17 as it tried to get back into the swing of things, but battled back and eventually took the lead. Summer League Head Coach Mark Bryant's team couldn't quite hang on, falling 73-65, but it was a good first step in the process of player improvement this summer.

"It's the first game, it's a process," Bryant said. "That's what it is all about, is player development."

Despite facing a large deficit, the Thunder outscored the Celtics by 13 points in the second quarter, eventually re-taking the lead in the third quarter. Thanks to double-digit scoring efforts from Reggie Jackson (19), Lazar Hayward (18) and Perry Jones III (16), the Thunder offense began to click. However the real cause for the turnaround was the defense, which held the Celtics to 11 second quarter points and forced six turnovers in the period.

"We got our hands on a lot of deflections," Bryant said. "We were able to run. Guys got into their guys and they did a very good job. They shut them down, I want to say, four to five consecutive times."

Although the outcome on the scoreboard wasn't quite to their liking, young players like Jackson earned valuable playing time and gave themselves an opportunity to learn more about themselves and the game. With Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks along with players Daequan Cook and Eric Maynor looking on in support, the young guys on the roster had the chance to work on some things in live, 5-on-5 action.

"This is just a time to have fun and try to get better," Jackson said. "Especially when you're a young player trying to get better in the league."

On the whole, the Summer League is an important time for the Thunder organization in particular, because player development is a core emphasis for the team. Watching young players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook Serge Ibaka and James Harden steadily improve their games between each season they have been in the league is an example of the process-based approach the Thunder takes to helping along its players each summer.

"Seeing what these guys can do throughout the week, seeing them get better throughout the week," Bryant said. "We're going to go step by step, getting them better and better before the season gets here."

The Thunder faced a 17-point deficit in the first quarter, trailing 25-8 with 47.1 seconds remaining in the first period. Starting with a Dwight Buycks jumper, the Thunder went on a 14-2 burst early in the second quarter to cut the lead to five at 27-22, then went on an 11-4 run later in the quarter to cut the Celtics lead to one and make this one a contest the rest of the way.

The two big runs were marked by eight quick points from Perry Jones III in a three-minute span, plus five points from Garrett Temple and two layups by Reggie Jackson. In addition, the Thunder defense forced the Celtics into 26.7 percent shooting and six turnovers in the quarter.

Strong defense by Perry Jones and Reggie Jackson on the first possession, followed by a nice box out from Cole Aldrich... Jackson anticipates a bad pass and races down court to slam home a one-handed flush... Nice switching and hedging on the pick-and-roll by Lazar Hayward and Aldrich... Jones follows up a miss with a tip-in at the rim in traffic... Ryan Reid and Aldrich hustle to help collect a loose ball... Aldrich gets back and prevents an alley-oop by knocking it away. Good hustle...Buycks gets his hand in the passing lane to disrupt a play and force a 24-second violation... Jones takes the ball in the post and finishes through contact.... Buycks with great ball pressure to prevent drives into the lane... Jones tips out a loose rebound to a teammate then Reid draws a charge in transition... Jones hustles back in transition to cut off the lane... Nice cross-court pass from Jackson to Garrett Temple for a three pointer in the secondary break... Temple makes a steal out top and brings it back for a dunk.

Jackson hits Aldrich, who swings it to Jones for a mid-range jumper, then Jackson takes it strong to the basket to draw a foul... Hayward takes it to the lane at the end of the shot clock for a layup then Jackson hits a mid-range jumper... Big rebound by Temple then Jones follows up his own miss at the rim... Beautiful post up turnaround jumper by Jones in the lane... Hayward gets back in transition and blocks shot to save a bucket... Jones makes the extra pass and swings to Hayward who hits a bucket... Morris Almond makes a steal by jumping the passing lane to end the quarter... Buycks changes hands mid-air for a layup in traffic then Hayward snags a defensive board... Nice post defense from Reid then Jackson drives and kicks to Hayward for a three pointer... Jackson drives around an Aldrich pick and hits a running bank shot in the lane... Aldrich comes over and blocks a sure layup, then a big box out and rebound by Aldrich.

9 Rebounds for Lazar Hayward on the afternoon, a team-high
10 Offensive rebounds for the Thunder this afternoon, including six by Perry Jones and Garrett Temple combined
16 Points for Perry Jones on 7-for-17 shooting in his debut as a member of the Thunder
16-for-18 Free throw shooting for the Thunder, including 9-for-9 from Lazar Hayward
18 Points for Lazar Hayward, who hit four of his final six shots
19 Points for Reggie Jackson on 7-for-15 shooting
24-11 Scoring advantage for the Thunder in the second quarter to get back into the game
28-20 Advantage for the Thunder in points in the paint

The Thunder's Summer League team will face the Indiana Pacers at 12:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

The Thunder then plays against the Detroit Pistons at 12:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets at 12:00 p.m. CT on Thursday and the Utah Jazz at 7:00 a.m. CT on Friday.