2017 Summer League Recap: Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers – July 6, 2017

ORLANDO – It was Championship Day at Orlando Summer League, and even though the Thunder wasn’t in the finals, it still had an opportunity to learn and vie against the Indiana Pacers for third place. Ultimately, the Thunder gave up too many and-ones in the closing minutes, derailing a comeback and leading to an 89-80 defeat.

All five starters scored in double figures in the game, led by Semaj Christon’s 21 on 5-for-10 shooting, including a 10-for-10 mark from the free throw line. The Thunder battled all game long even after only scoring 11 points in the first quarter on 1-for-10 shooting. The team’s execution got better throughout the afternoon, but ultimately it fell short. The final score and results this week in Orlando were less important than the way the team played, the development and the growth of the individuals.

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“Our effort throughout the week was good. We had a competitive, hardworking team,” Thunder Summer League coach Mark Daigneault said. “We didn’t execute the way we wanted to especially in the last couple games. We were actually a little better today than we had been in the last two games. We made some improvements there on the defensive end.”

“We got better,” Christon said. “I got better as a point guard and as a leader. We competed hard.”

Christon is one of the veterans on the Summer League team, with the most NBA experience of anyone on the squad. Just last year, Christon was in the same position as many of these young players – a point guard coming into uncertain circumstances, desperate to make an NBA roster. He did so, and as a result he was able to provide some perspective about how to attack their daily work to try to carve their path into professional basketball.

“Just go and compete. If you’re doing the right things, people will see,” Christon said.

“That’s why you play the games, you can build on the success. If you have some setbacks, you can build on the setbacks. That’s the deal,” Daigneault said.

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Hamilton Squares off Against Brother, Looks Towards Summer Work

They had battled countless times over the years at home as kids, but on Thursday at Summer League, OKC Blue guard Daniel Hamilton and his older brother Isaac Hamilton had the chance to go against one another on the court. They crossed paths on the court only a few times, but the Thunder’s Hamilton brother knew he’s due for some good natured chatter about the game.

“This was the first time I’ve played against him in this type of setting,” Hamilton said. “It was definitely a blessing to play against him. I know I’m going to hear about it at home because he got away with the win.”

Hamilton was the Thunder’s leading assist man on the day, dishing out eight helpers to his teammates to go with 12 points and seven rebounds. Still, Hamilton wasn’t satisfied with his play during the week. After the game, he explained his determination to continue to get better over the summer. That, after all, is the eternal mindset of the Thunder’s player development program.

“I just have to get back in the gym this summer, continue to get better and keep progressing,” Hamilton explained. “The main thing is getting stronger and not turning the ball over. Defensively, it’s staying locked in and staying engaged.”

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Up Next:

That’s a wrap for 2017 Summer League here in Orlando! With the free agency moratorium over, be sure to stay here at okcthunder.com for full coverage of the Thunder’s flurry of activity, and to learn more about the newcomers!

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