Despite being plagued by injuries the 76ers got their first win of the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League Wednesday over the Brooklyn Nets, 79-71. Justin Holiday once again led the way, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds.
The Sixers were without arguably their best player throughout the summer league thus far, Jacob Pullen. Pullen sprained his right ankle, but thankfully x-rays were negative. “Big Nik” Vucevic continued to rest his aggravated Achilles and rookie Maurice Harkless remained sidelined after injuring his hip yesterday against the Utah Jazz.
On the other side of things Lavoy Allen, who made his two-year $6 million deal official today, was in the starting lineup. Rounding out the first-five for the Sixers was Holiday, Xavier Silas, Clay Tucker and Solomon Jones.
For guys like Silas, Jones and Jon Scheyer Wednesday was an important day. Silas and Scheyer were high on the list of summer league players looking to gain an invite to training camp, but with slow starts to the week and nice performances from Pullen and Holiday their dreams are becoming long, long shots.
Rosen got his opportunity early, and looked nice. The former Penn Quaker checked in at point in the first quarter and seemed much more comfortable than earlier this week.
“Zack was great for us,” coach Aaron Mckie said. “We got off to a slow start and Zack came in and got a little penetration. We wanted to be the aggressor and Zack came in and ran some screen and roll and did good things for us.”
Allen didn’t hesitate to make his presence known early, finding open shots and being a presence on the inside. The second year big man out of Temple filled the stat sheet, finishing the game with six points, six assists and four rebounds while leading all Sixers with 28 minutes.
Forward Devin Searcy, who spent last year in Japan, also played well inside. Searcy was 3-5 from the field with six points in 18 minutes. But his impact on the Sixers was even more clear through his +22 plus-minus rating against the Nets.
It was a close game all the way through, with the Sixers leading 36-33 at the midpoint.
In the second half Rosen continued to play well running the point. When the undersized guard can get some room in the mid-range his jumper is on point. While he struggled to find open space or penetrate well on Monday and Tuesday he did a nice job coming off screens and driving to the bucket today.
Silas, who also needed a nice game against the Nets shot much better. Silas was 4-8 from the field and finished with 12 points.
Things took a strong turn towards the Sixers midway through the fourth. A Holiday three followed by a Rosen pull-up jumper gave the 7-6 a six point lead with five minutes to go. Shortly after, back to back threes by Scheyer and Clay Tucker stretched the lead to nine.
A late block on Marshon Brooks from Holiday was the icing on the cake, the Sixers never looked back, winning 79-71.
As we turn the corner on the week the question of who will see more playing time of for the Sixers is even more prevalent. Pullen and Holiday are near locks in my mind to get invited to the 76ers training camp, and McKie thinks Holiday is “absolutely” an NBA player.
“Defensively he rotates, he understands defensive schemes and he’s very vocal out there,” McKie said. “We can do a number of things with him out on the floor.”
Yesterday Holiday expressed his desire to be a part of the NBA, “It’s going to be a while before I give up on basketball,” he said. “Hopefully this works out for me somewhere in this league because that’s where I want to be. I want to be able to get better and play at the best level. If not, I’m going to keep playing until I get here, and then when I get here I’m not going to stop either.”
As with many down here in Orlando, McKie has been impressed with Pullen’s play, “I’m blown away by how good he is,” he said. “How good he is with the ball and with his size. He’s just a tough guy and he’s been shooting the ball pretty well.”
With two more games left to go the pressure is sure to mount on these guys as they continue to fight for a coveted roster spot.
The Sixers are the final game of the day tomorrow, tipping off at 5 pm against the Orlando Magic. All games are televised live on NBA TV.
You can find the full box score and some highlights at NBA.com and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Philadunkia for updates as I will be in Orlando all week.