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Celtics talk a good game

Celtics 108, Warriors 89
By Gabe Kahn

LAS VEGAS- After an uninspiring first half marked by the Celtics' constant jarring with the officials, the Green decided to let their play do the talking, beating the Golden State Warriors 108 to 89 on the second to last day of the Reebok Vegas Summer League. The whopping 108 points in only 40 minutes were part of a remarkable second half offensively, as the Celtics scored 67 points, 2 more than the scored in their loss to the Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Led by a resurgent Kendrick Perkins and a passionate Justin Reed, the Celtics were able to overcome an injury to floor leader Delonte West, who suffered a minor right ankle sprain during Wednesday's practice. Perkins, whose lack of production in the Celtics' first four games was particularly worrisome, came out with a fire not yet seen this summer. The 21-year old from Texas was grabbing rebounds, making smart outlet passes and scoring some baskets, even mixing in a few outside shots for what was easily his best game so far. He had 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

"I knew we were going to come out hard," Perkins said. "We was kind of down on ourselves after our last loss so we had to bounce back and get this win to get back to where we were before. I felt like I had something to do with why we lost [on Tuesday]."

In the first half, the C's were clearly more focused on the young referees, and Perkins even earned a technical during one particularly irksome stretch in the second quarter (for the record, the Celtics were somewhat justified). According to Perkins, when one of the officials instructed him to "just play," Perkins replied, "well y'all won't let us play."

"You've got ten minute quarters lasting 30 minutes long," according to Perkins. "They were blowing the whistle on every play."

The Celtics entered halftime lucky to be down just 3 points with a score of 44-41 against a Golden State lineup that featured only one NBA player in Andris Biedrins and draft picks Ike Diogu and Monta Ellis. Coach Tony Brown must have lit a fire underneath them during the break because they proceeded to outscore the Warriors by 19 in the third quarter.

Reed had his only sub-par day of the summer league in Tuesday's loss Cavs and came out determined to make up for the team's loss that day. Shouting instructions to his teammates, playing a few minutes at the point and hitting from outside as well as the free throw line, Reed was indeed much improved and finished with 17 points. Tony Allen, who has come on of late, had another strong game, starting at shooting guard but playing some backup point guard. Though he was at his best when playing the off guard position, he had numerous ultra-athletic drives to the hoop and led the team in scoring with 23 points and two posterizing dunks.

Another major highlight of the evening was the play of Celtic-hopeful Will Bynum. With West out, Bynum started his first summer league game and was one of the catalysts for the team's third quarter charge. Bynum had 11 points and 4 assists and was largely responsible for the excellent ball movement shown by the Green and White in the third. Bynum will come to training camp to compete for a spot on the Celtic roster, though he certainly boosted his prospects with this game, even if Celtics' Executive Director of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge, was not amongst the crowd. Will he make it?

"I think I've got a good chance," Bynum said. When asked what he can bring to the Celtics he replied "Energy, defensive presence, get these guys some easy baskets. We've got some athletic guys so I can just run the break."

By the fourth quarter, the romp was well in progress and the final period was largely bereft of any semblance of defense. A dunk competition ensued and high schooler Gerald Green, who had 6 points, again stole the show with a very loud reverse dunk from an alley-oop pass from Reed on the break. Although Al Jefferson was not all that active on the offensive side of the floor he was efficient, scoring 9 points on 4 of 5 shooting to go with his 6 boards. Mr. Dependable Ryan Gomes scored 15 points and looked good for all of his 20 minutes. Taylor Coppenrath, also a training camp invitee, had 10 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes.

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