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Celtics' summer league team commits first sin in Vegas

Cavaliers 71, Celtics 65
By Gabe Kahn

LAS VEGAS- The Celtics dream of a perfect summer league record ended today when a deep and rested Cavaliers team took them for their first loss in four tries by a score of 71-65 . Though the end result is not all that important in a league that is meant more as an exhibition for some players and an audition for others, Boston, having played the day before, looked tired and a step slower than Cleveland and seemed as depressed afterward as if they had lost a regular season game.

Like the Celtic team representing the big club, the Cavs also field a summer league team filled with NBA experience. Matt Freije, Luke Jackson, Olumide Oyedeji, Blake Stepp, James Thomas and Ime Udoka all have pro experience and Martynas Andriuskevicius was just drafted in the second round. Cleveland did not play the day before and ran the Celtics ragged while dominating the glass, 52-26. The Celtics only lead was at 2-1 and the Cavs opened up an 11-point advantage in the second quarter. The C's chipped away at the lead and even tied it up at 48 early in the fourth, but in the end, Cleveland had a little more gas in the tank.

A contribution to the Celtics first loss in summer league action was the sub-par play of Delonte West and Justin Reed. The two had been the most consistent performers but were noticeably off their game on Tuesday. West finished with just 6 points, 2 assists and 6 fouls while Reed, who had been averaging 14 points, scored just 9 to go with 2 rebounds and 6 turnovers.

On the upside, rookie Will Bynum had his best game to date, filling in well for West, who was in constant foul trouble. Bynum, who reportedly has an agreement with the Celtics to attend training camp in October, looked comfortable running the team and scored 9 points while dishing off 1 official assist. With his third straight solid game, rookie forward Ryan Gomes scored 14 points and the Celtics played their best whenever he was in the game. It seems almost a fait accompli that Gomes will be on the Celtics roster next season with an even chance he could even crack Coach Doc Rivers' rotation.

As has been a general theme during summer league, neither Al Jefferson nor Kendrick Perkins looked all that impressive. Although the competition in Vegas is dominated by guard play most of the time, it is at least a little troubling that the Celtics' own baby big men have struggled as much as they have, given their strong performances during the season as well as last year in Vegas. Perkins, especially, has had a horrific time offensively, shooting just 2-14 for all four games, and, though he did collect 5 rebounds today, has had numerous rebounds slip out of his grasp. Jefferson has not been in any groove, either, but he has created numerous shots for himself that just have not gone down. Jefferson finished his day with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 6 fouls.

Tony Allen was another bright spot for the Celtics, scoring 14 points to go with 4 steals. As ever, Allen was active on both ends of the court, mixing in drives with the occasional outside shot. High schooler Gerald Green played just 11 minutes but hit a couple of impressive outside shots during his short stint.

A despondent Celtic club (including Reed, West and Perkins, who sat in the locker room staring at the wall for five minutes after the rest of the team had gone to the bus) exited the gym shortly after the game ended and will play next on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors.

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