The Boston Celtics lost to the San Antonio Spurs 81-70 in their second game of action at the Utah Summer League, dropping their summer record to 1-1. A full box score can be found here.
Jaylen Brown just kind of coasted
After dropping 29 points in the summer league opener a few days earlier, it seemed like Jaylen Brown was content to just coast through in this one. After putting up 16 shots in that win over the Philadelphia 76ers, he only shot six times in 25 minutes of action here while handing over the reigns to some of the less experienced guys on the team. Even though Brown didn’t seem all that into the game at times, he was still able to finish with a respectable stat line in the box score. The reigning Second Team All-Rookie selection finished the night with six points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal while also getting himself to the line a team high five times.
Brown came into that first game against the 76ers knowing that he was the best player on the floor, which was thrilling to watch as he just ran up and down the floor while doing basically anything he wanted to the opposing defense. He was probably still the best player out there for this one, but he just played a full 82 game professional season while also going three rounds deep into the playoffs while a lot of these guys are coming off a 40(ish) game college season that ended sometime between March and early-April for them. It wouldn’t be smart to have Brown put his foot on the gas every time out this summer, which is probably why he will be a healthy scratch in tonight’s game.
Tatum Time getting fans excited
The Celtics depth might not shine as bright this season as the team has already lost Amir Johnson, released Tyler Zeller, rescinded the rights to Kelly Olynyk and now they have to trade at least one of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder. But third overall pick Jayson Tatum is making sure that fans aren’t panicking over these losses because he already looks set to jump right in and take a big bench role for this teams.
After scoring 21 points – including 11 in the fourth quarter – in the win over Philadelphia on Monday and also sinking the go-ahead jumper in the final seconds, Tatum took center stage once again in this loss to the Spurs by putting up 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting, a game high ten rebounds and two assists as well. Not only is he putting up numbers, but he’s making highlight reel plays as well and has wound up on the SportsCenter Top 10 after each game. A lot of people were making this offseason out to be a disaster for Danny Ainge after he traded away the number one overall pick and missed out on both Paul George and Jimmy Butler. It’s not looking so bad now with Tatum, Gordon Hayward and even an extra first round pick all added in.
Zizic showing flashes but still needs work
Nobody really expects 20-year old center Ante Zizic to be a minutes horse as a rookie next season, but he should still have a role in the Celtics thin frontcourt. To see him score six points, grab six rebounds, block a shot and record a steal in 23 minutes last night was solid. Those are pretty much Amir Johnson minutes and the numbers line up as well, but with Zizic being ten years younger you’d expect him to grow in time while Johnson has already started to see his skills begin to decline.
But there is still a lot that the 6’11” Croatian has to learn. He snagged two offensive boards in the loss last night but both of them became turnovers almost right away as he brought the ball down before trying to go back up for a put back layup, only to have it stripped away both times. There are a few other small aspects about his game that he just needs to tweak and suddenly you’ll be looking at a guy who is ready for regular season NBA minutes. There have been a lot of good things about his game too, including a few powerful dunks in each game.
Demetrius Jackson started the first summer league game but was a healthy scratch for this one, most likely because the team will have to trade him soon so they can make room for Hayward and you can’t risk a guy on the trading block getting hurt.
Give props to Abdul Nader for a turnover free game. He led all qualified D-League players in turnovers per game last season and committed three of them in the summer league opener, but he took good care of the ball in this one.
Former Kansas standout Landen Lucas was one of the bigger name undrafted free agents that Boston brought in for the Utah Summer League but he hasn’t done much at all through two games. He committed six fouls in 11 minutes of playing time last night.
Some fans got excited for Semi Ojeleye and saw him as a steal. He was a first round player according to many mock drafts and Ainge was able to snatch him up with the 37th overall pick. Ojeleye is averaging 6.0 PPG on 33.3% shooting, 2.5 RPG and 1.5 APG though two summer league games.
53rd overall pick Kadeem Allen got the start at point guard with Jackson sitting out but he didn’t impress, scoring no points in 18 minutes while dishing out just one assist.