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Celt’s fall to Spurs; sign Wallace

LAS VEGAS- For the San Antonio Spurs, the idea of having a summer league team seems awfully superfluous. After all, unlike the Celtics, it’s hard to name a single young, inexperienced player on their professional roster. Still, the Spurs managed to field a team with nine total years of NBA experience (5 from the immortal Donnel Harvey, 3 from Jackie Butler and a single season from James White). The Celtics, on the other hand, managed just five years, though spread out between four different players.

Still, the Celtics had far more trouble with the defending champ’s squad than they did when they easily dispatched the seemingly stacked Trailblazer club that included Greg Oden on Friday night. Although it was close throughout, the Spurs took control in the final period, winning by a score of 61-53.

A lot of that had to do with Butler, who was listed at a very, very kind 260 pounds. Not to say that his listed weight was in any way fraudulent, but he ought to introduce the Celtics’ Glen Davis to whoever was working the scales that day. Butler played the role of the summer league Shaq, scoring inside and taking up loads of space wherever he went. He finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

When asked if he enjoyed the game, Celtics’ Coach Armond Hill responded, "Fun game? No, not when you have 28 turnovers, it’s no fun" he said. "I thought that the ball didn’t move at all, that the guys were playing selfish. They didn’t throw the extra pass, they weren’t looking for each other. They thought that they could come out on the floor and everything would flow like it did the other night. You’ve got to work at that. It’s simple."

Monday’s matinee game of the NBA Vegas Summer League started slowly, as is customary in summer league action, with 7 fouls and just one free throw on the scoreboard in the first 3 minutes. A lackluster game continued with 18 combined personal fouls and 18 turnovers and the Celtics leading at the end of the first quarter 11-10. It was much of the same in the second quarter and the C’s needed a 6-2 run in the closing minutes to get the score up to 26-20 at the half.

The action finally picked up a bit, at least by summer league standards, as each team scored 16 points in the third and some subtle flow evolved. In the fourth, though, the mostly nameless Spurs blazed ahead, outscoring Boston by 14, with Butler putting in 6 points and 5 boards.

The difference in the 4th, according to Hill, was that the Celtics’ bad habits from the rest of the game caught up with them and the Spurs finally capitalized.

"I thought we were sharing the ball as a second thought, and that’s why all the turnovers were happening. They weren’t moving the ball, they weren’t executing," Hill Said. "The bigs, when they caught the ball, the ball stopped. They were trying to post up. If they didn’t get it they pouted. And you can’t score if you keep turning the ball over."

For the Celtics, Davis led the way with 12 points, 9 rebounds and a couple blocks. Gerald Green finished with 10 points and Rajon Rondo had 10 points, though he also had 7 fouls and 7 turnovers. Summer revelation Brandon Wallace, and undrafted free agent who signed with the Celtics immediately following the game, had 4 points and 5 rebounds, including an athletic put-back in the second quarter.

Approximately 30 minutes after the game, Assistant Executive Director of Basketball Operations Leo Papile took Wallace and his agent, Eric Fleisher into the basement of the Cox Pavillion at UNLV where the summer league is played and signed Wallace to his first professional contract. Terms were not released.

Wallace was understandably overwhelmed.

"I guess it still hasn’t hit me yet, just from being undrafted and then from being at this point a few days later, it’s an unbelievable chain of events…I can’t describe to you right now how I feel."

Wallace, a 6’9 forward out of South Carolina, had worked out in Boston before the June draft, and while that was when the Celtics first expressed their interest to him, Wallace was hoping his workout could make him a candidate for the draft.

"After the workout, they made it known that they’d like me to come in and play summer league. I felt like I held my own in that workout, so I was happy about the workout. I didn’t even pay attention to the summer league part," he said.

Still, it seems that, at least for right now, that’s not bothering Wallace.

"But the feeling I’m feeling right now…it’s crazy." 

Editor's Note: Bulpett is reporting that it is a two year deal for Wallace.