Rookie Hezonja flashes potential in Magic summer league loss

ORLANDO, Fla. — Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft, scored 14 points and made several highlight reel plays Monday, but the Orlando Magic Blue squad lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 73-65 to fall to 1-1 in Orlando Summer League play.

Hezonja drove through the lane for a tomahawk dunk in the first quarter and caught a one-handed alley-oop in the fourth. Still, his main focus is on helping Orlando win games.

"The first thing that bothers me was that I wasn’t able to help my team win," said, Hezonja, who was 6-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-9 from behind the arc. "The rest will come. I just want to help them win every single game. It’s fine (that I made plays), but we lost, so it doesn’t matter now."

The rookie has fit in quickly with his teammates. He credits the Magic’s relative age as a major factor in his transition from FC Barcelona.

"We are all at the same level and we’re going up," Hezonja said. "So there is nowhere to go but up. We just got together as brothers so we just go up. It’s very awesome. We have a new coach, too, so everybody is growing together."

Hezonja is averaging 13 points through two games, while Aaron Gordon leads all Orlando Summer League players with 21.5 points and 14 rebounds following his second consecutive double-double.

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Posted by Orlando Magic on Monday, July 6, 2015

Gordon recorded a team-best 21 points and 10 rebounds Monday. The former No. 4 overall pick feels he’s more prepared for NBA competition entering his second season.

"I feel a lot more comfortable," Gordon said. "I feel like I can pretty much control what I want. I know I have a lot of improvement to go, but I take it one day at a time and just stay focused. I have a whole year under my belt. Last year was a lot of being uncomfortable. This year I feel a lot more comfortable, so it’s easy for me."

Gordon scored 10 of Orlando’s 16 points in the first quarter. But Oklahoma City gained momentum in the second and outscored the Magic 25-18 in the fourth.

Mitch McGary led the Thunder with 19 points. Seamaj Christon (12) and Levi Randolph (10) also scored in double figures.

The Magic White squad defeated the Indiana Pacers 85-76 to improve to 2-0 in summer league play. Keith Appling and Chris Singleton tied for a team-best 17 points. Both players spent the 2014-15 season in the D-League.

Appling last played for the Eerie BayHawks. Singleton ended his season with the Oklahoma City Blue.