Boston didn't fare to well in the Utah Summer League, but they seem to have their legs under them in the popular Las Vegas Summer League. After beating Portland on Saturday, 85-76, the Celtics came out on Sunday night and beat hated-rival Philadelphia by the same score, 85-76. After having a rough go in the shooting department in Utah, Boston and their group of talented young players have found their shooting touch. Let's breakdown both games and see what went well and what needs improvement.
Saturday, July 11, 2015- Boston 85, Portland 76
Like we saw in Utah, Marcus Smart started at the point for game one, and he looked very good. Smart finished with 19 points, three rebounds, three steals, three assists and three turnovers. Although Smart only shot 5-17 from the field, he did shoot 4-11 from three, a good sign that his three-point-shot is continuing to improve like it did at the end of 2014-15. Rookie power forward/center Jordan Mickey may have been the best player on the floor, scoring 15 points, ripping down 10 rebounds, and providing a rim protecting presence with three blocks, something the Celtics desperately need. Rookie free agent Jonathan Holmes, a 6'8 power forward out of the University of Texas, also had his best game of the summer. Holmes finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, two blocked shots, and he only played 19:43; that is incredible production in very short minutes.
Terry Rozier didn't have his best game, finishing with seven points, three rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Rozier didn't light up the stat sheet, but he committed zero turnovers in 33:41, which shows he protects the ball well. When the game slows down for Rozier, he has a chance to be special and has shown that Danny Ainge and his staff knew what they were doing when they selected him at 16. Fellow rookie R.J. Hunter struggled from the field, but instead of just continuing to fire up shots, Hunter got to the basket, drew fouls and ended up shooting 8-10 from the free throw line. Hunter finished with 13 points, four rebounds, one steal, and he shot 2-8 from the field. Hunter only played 23:24, but there is nothing to be alarmed about. The Celtics like him and they know he is going to be instant offense for a team starved for shooters. C.J. Fair also played well, scoring 12 points and grabbing four rebounds in just 18:22 seconds.
***Paul Pressey has been removed from the Summer League Roster and is not with the team.***
Sunday, July 12, 2015- Boston 85, Philadelphia 76
The Sixers and the Celtics sat their best players in Jahlil Okafor and Marcus Smart, but that wasn't going to stop the Celtics young guns from having their best showing of the summer. Four rookies- Rozier, Hunter, Mickey, and Holmes dominated the game for Boston. Terry Rozier (+10), finished with 22 points, five assists, two rebounds, one steal, one block, and he shot 4-9 from the field (2-3 from three). Hunter filled the stat sheet; 21 points, four rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot, and a renewed confidence in his shot and scoring ability against NBA players. Last night was a perfect example of what the Celtics want Hunter to be, which is a great sign.
Jordan Mickey, who so far looks like possibly the steal of the 2015 Draft, had another great night. Mickey finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots, and one steal. Mickey has a real chance to be part of the Celtics rotation during the regular season; he's just too talented to take off the court. Jonathan Holmes, a player that many had projected as a first round talent, has been excellent for Boston and his strong play continued yesterday. Holmes finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds (five offensive), one assist, and one blocked shot. With the upcoming roster moves in the David Lee trade (Babb, Pressey are most likely to be moved to make the contracts match up) Holmes will have a chance to make the team because there will be roster spots. Speaking of contracts, the Celtics will sit down with Jordan Mickey's representatives tonight to work out a deal; there is no way they are letting that gem get away. Boston's next game is Tuesday, July 14 versus the Miami Heat, which will be a chance for Celtics fans to see the player Danny Ainge coveted, small forward Justise Winslow.
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