With the Orlando Summer League championship on the line and the game tied in overtime, Justin Dentmon dug deep into his bag of tricks and threw up a one-foot step back three-pointer that led the Orlando Magic White team to a 87-84 Championship Friday victory over Stanley Johnson and the Detroit Pistons.
While Dentmon’s shot looked like a trick shot to the majority of the people in the gym, it wasn’t a surprise to any of his teammates.
“Well actually, that’s his go-to shot so none of us were surprised,” said Arinze Onuaku, who had another strong performance Friday. “But I mean, it’s hard for the defense to adjust to that. He’s been shooting that shot all week in practice so we’ve all seen it.”
Coach Bill Peterson went on to joke that he was glad that Dentmon went to his bag of tricks since he was 2-for-9 from three before hitting the championship-clinching shot.
“I just looked at the stat sheet, and I thought, ‘well I’m glad he didn’t shoot it normal, I’m glad he’s trying something different.’”
With Dentmon’s shot sealing the win, the Orlando Magic White finished off an undefeated in, capping it with a Summer League title on Friday.
“It feels good,” said Dentmon, who was one assist shy of a double-double to go along his 16 points Friday. “A championship is still a championship and we beat a really good team in the Pistons. They played us very tough. It came down to the wire and just credit to them, they played an unbelievable game.”
Onuaku said after the game that even though this was a Summer League game, the goal was always to win a championship.
“From day one when we started two-a-days we knew that the goal was to win a championship,” said Onuaku. “We were able to do that.”
The Magic White, with no first or second-round picks on their roster, bought in to what coach Bill Peterson preached to them, and that was to play together.
“It’s a credit to the coach,” said Dentmon. “He brought us together. We had never played with each other in our lives, and for us to come together and bond like that is unbelievable.”
For Coach Peterson, winning the Summer League was a very cool moment for him, especially to do it with a group he grew very fond of.
“It’s really pleasing,” said Peterson after the game. “It has to do a lot with their spirit, their fight and the kinds of individuals we had on our team. I told them all week that I was really proud, even guys that weren’t playing were up off the bench and the bench was engaged and, you know, we’re not just a group that’s been together at all.”
Peterson also mentioned that he couldn’t pick an MVP because a different player stepped up every day for the Magic. On Friday, every Magic starter scored in double-figures, led by Kevin Murphy’s 19 points.
Murphy led the Magic with 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting Friday, and gave them a much-needed lift early in the game, knocking in 12 of his 19 points in the first quarter.
Onuaku capped off a strong week with another double-double, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds against Detroit. The 28-year old big man averaged 14.8 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game in 5 games for the Magic.
For Detroit, Stanley Johnson scored 21 points on 8-for-19 shooting, while the Pistons’ first-round draft pick, Henry Ellenson, had a game-high 22 points while hauling in 11 rebounds.