Noel, Roberts impressive in summer league opener

Noel, Roberts impressive in summer league opener

July 5, 2014, 3:15 pm

Nerlens Noel (19 points) and Ronald Roberts Jr. (12 points) impressed in the Sixers' summer league opener. (USA Today Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nerlens Noel is back. Saturday afternoon, the 6-foot-11 center returned to the hardwood for the first time in nearly 18 months to play in an organized game.

The Magic defeated the Sixers, 83-77, in the team’s first Orlando summer league game, but the result was practically an afterthought to Noel's debut (see story).

Noel won the opening tip and proceeded to dunk the ball on the Sixers' first possession. He did not favor his right knee, which he spent last season rehabbing.

Noel did appear winded at times. He scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the first half. He also made all seven of his free-throw attempts.

St. Joe's alum Ronald Roberts Jr. also looked impressive.

The 6-foot-8 forward had a third-quarter follow slam for two of his 12 points. The former Hawk also grabbed eight rebounds.

Hollis Thompson was the Sixers' leading rebounder with 14. But Thompson did not shoot the ball well, going 2 for 11 from the field for five points.

Orlando’s Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 18 points.

An unfortunate moment took place near the end of the first quarter. Point guard Pierre Jackson had to be carried off the court by two teammates after being down at halfcourt with his head in his hands. It's unclear what caused him to go down, but the team later confirmed his diagnosis as a ruptured right Achilles tendon (see story).

Jackson was acquired in a draft night trade with the Pelicans in exchange for the 47th overall pick. Playing for the Idaho Stampede in the D-League last year, Jackson averaged 29.1 points per game.

Assistant coach Lloyd Pierce is coaching the Sixers this week. Brett Brown and Sam Hinkie are in attendance.

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