Championship bid falls short for Magic White
After running through group play to a 4-0 record, the Orlando Magic's White team tipped it up Friday afternoon with a chance to win the Orlando Summer League Championship. Facing off against the Memphis Grizzlies, one of two other undefeated teams on the week, the White squad was up against one of their toughest challenges of the week.
Early on, Memphis had full control of the game, swarming on defense and seemingly getting whatever they wanted on the offensive end. Their strong play on both ends overwhelmed the Magic, en route to a 20-6 lead after one.
The cinderella run by the Magic's White team seemed over.
However, behind ramped up play on the defensive end, the Magic began to fight their way back into the game, outscoring the Grizzlies by 12 to trail by just two heading into halftime.
Out of the 10-minute break, the Magic jumped on their foes, grabbing as big as a 10-point lead in the third quarter. Things had swung in the Magic's favor, making it seem as though the White team would be able to complete the improbable and beat the locked and loaded Grizzlies.
Memphis answered, however, cutting into the Magic's seven point lead instantly in the fourth quarter. The Magic didn't flinch, going blow-for-blow with the Grizzlies. Up by five late, things went down hill quickly, as a turnovers began to mount, allowing Memphis to tie the game and send it into overtime.
In the two-minute extra period, both teams struggled, turning the ball over six combined times. With neither team scoring in the period, the game went to sudden death overtime. Memphis won the tip and quickly won with a Russ Smith floater, giving the Grizzlies the title of Orlando Summer League champions.
While the run for the Magic didn't end how they had hoped, they still put together a great week. Chalked full of NBA D-Leaguers and free agents from various leagues around the world, the White team went on an inspiring run, defying all odds en route to the title game.
The week gave those players a chance to try and prove that they belong on teams, and many of them did. From consistent strong play on both ends from point guard Keith Appling, to vicious blocks and rim rocking dunks from Keith Benson, the White team put on a clinic of how to play as underdogs and as a team.
They may not have been the most talented team to tip it up in Orlando this week, but they played like the hungriest bunch. None of the players on the team are guaranteed a chance to play next season, but with their performances throughout the week could catch the eye of teams looking for established players.
It was a disappointing ending to an other wise great week, but no one on the White team can hang their head, as they went out there, played their hearts out, and pushed some of the NBA's young guns to the brink all week.
Blue finishes up with a win
A disappointing week for the Magic's Blue team finished on a high note, with an impressive victory against the indiana Pacers. After falling to the Pacers on Thursday, the Blue team dominated from the start, leading by as many as 27 en route to an effortless 98-74. The team never trailed, showing what could have been had they played better from the start of the week.
Getting extended minutes for the first time all week, former Dayton guard Jordan Sibert showed off his shooting ability, knocking down five three-pointers en route to a team high 18 points. Jabril Trawick, playing just his second game this week, finished with 16 points.
Of the notable players on the Blue roster, only Devyn Marble and Tyler Harvey played. Marble, who wreaked havoc on the defensive end all week, finished with seven points, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal, finishing the week with averages of 11 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.6 steals per game in 26 minutes of action per game.
Harvey, the NCAA's reigning scoring leader, showed off his quick release, finishing the game with 12 points. The gifted scorer had a relatively quiet week overall, finishing with averages of 10.6 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
The Blue team was expected to be the Magic's better side, but struggled to close out games. While they played good stretched on both ends, they couldn't put it together for a full 40 minutes, until Friday.
The roster players on the team -- Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Elfrid Payton and Marble -- can take away positives from the week individually, but all were clearly disappointed in the teams overall performance.
It was an up-and-down week for the Magic overall, but both teams showed a lot of good, and some bad. Simply put, it was Summer League, and now the focus can shift to the remainder of the offseason, and training camp.