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Chet Holmgren's comeback leads team to victory with a 95-85 summer league win against Jazz

Chet Holmgren shines in Oklahoma City Thunder's summer league win.

In a highly-anticipated return, Chet Holmgren showcased his defensive prowess by collecting his fourth block of the night, denying Keyonte George's drive to the basket. The Utah Jazz felt the impact of Holmgren's lengthy wingspan throughout the game, as the Oklahoma City Thunder secured a 95-85 victory in their first summer league contest.

The Thunder entered the game with a clear talent advantage, boasting a starting lineup that included last year's Rookie of the Year runner-up, the No. 2 and No. 12 picks from the 2022 draft, and a third-year guard. On the other hand, the Jazz were missing their top rookie, Taylor Hendricks, and only had Ochai Agbaji and George as notable players in their lineup.

The talent gap became evident by halftime, with the Thunder building a commanding 59-43 lead, fueled by a 43-point second quarter. It's worth noting that summer league quarters are shortened to 10 minutes, making the Thunder's offensive outburst even more impressive.

Although the Jazz made a late-game push in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Thunder 23-13, the 20-point lead that OKC had built was enough to secure the victory.

One of the key factors in the Thunder's win was their proficiency from beyond the arc. They shot an impressive 41.9% from three-point range, making 13 of their 31 attempts. In contrast, the Jazz struggled from deep, shooting just 26.5% on 9-of-34 shooting.

Agbaji and George led the way for the Jazz, with Agbaji contributing 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting and nine rebounds, while George added 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Luka Semanic also made an impact with 13 points and six rebounds.

Overall, it was a well-rounded team effort from the Thunder, but the result of summer league games holds little significance. The most exciting aspect of the night was witnessing Holmgren's return to the court after rehabbing from a Lisfranc injury that sidelined him for the entire 2022-23 season.

"It was great to be back with these guys, man. I love all of them. Let's keep working," Holmgren expressed his joy about his anticipated return.

The Thunder are hopeful that this game is a sign of things to come as they continue to develop their young core, especially Holmgren. Let's take a closer look at the individual performances of the Thunder players.

Holmgren quickly found his rhythm after a slow start in the first quarter, showcasing his versatility and impact on both ends of the court. In just 29 minutes of play, he recorded 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting, nine rebounds, and four blocks.

"After letting the game come to me, things started to open up, and we built a lead as a team," Holmgren commented on his performance.

Holmgren's presence was immediately felt on defense, where his length and shot-blocking ability disrupted the Jazz's offense. On offense, he displayed his scoring ability, finishing with 10 points in the second quarter alone, utilizing his size to score inside the paint and showcasing his pull-up jumper.

Another notable aspect of Holmgren's game was his physicality. Despite concerns about his slender frame, he showed no fear in bumping into Jazz players, taking advantage of the 13 pounds he gained since last year's summer league.

Although not as flashy as his summer league debut in the previous year, Holmgren's performance served as a reminder of why he was the No. 2 pick.

On the other hand, Jalen Williams proved that he may not spend much time in summer league due to his impressive display. With 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, and four rebounds in just 22 minutes, Williams showcased his scoring ability from the start.

Tre Mann also had a standout moment with a spectacular dunk that sent social media into a frenzy. His overall performance was impressive, as he finished with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, in 33 minutes. Mann's performance was a reminder of his potential and promise as a player.

Unfortunately, Ousmane Dieng had a tough outing, struggling to find his rhythm on offense. He finished with four points on 1-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-5 from three-point range, in 30 minutes. Dieng's difficulties in finishing through contact and his shooting struggles mirrored the challenges he faced during his rookie season. However, he will have more opportunities to prove himself throughout the summer league.

In conclusion, the Thunder's victory over the Jazz in their summer league contest showcased the impact of Chet Holmgren's return and the promising performances of their young core. While the result of the game holds little significance, it served as an encouraging sign for the Thunder's future.

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