The Celtics lost their opening game to the host Utah Jazz 100-82. The Celtics came into the game saying that they wanted to have the best defensive team in both of the Summer Leagues. They are going to have to pick it up a bit if they want to make good on that desire. The Jazz got to the hoop way too easily.
The Celtics scored very well inside but were terrible from distance, shooting just 6-25 from beyond the arc. The biggest area they need to improve on is rebounding. They were out-rebounded 51-31 in their first game and have to make more of an effort to crash the boards.
Marcus Smart, Jordan Mickey and CJ Fair all had good games. RJ Hunter was 0-5 from the field and we know that he can score and just needs to shake off this game and play better in the next one. Terry Rozier used his speed to get to the basket and was active on defense. James Young still looks lost on the defensive end in spite of the added muscle.
The Celtics could have used Colton Iverson who was supposed to be playing in his 3rd Summer League with the Celtics but he left the team and is reported to be signing with a European team again for the upcoming season. He was replaced on the roster by Ralph Sampson III who played last season with the Red Claws.
#60 Eric Buckner
# 49 CJ Fair
#68 Jonathan Holmes
#28 RJ Hunter
#55 Jordan Mickey
#48 Malcolm Miller
#47 Royce O'Neale
#12 Terry Rozier
#36 Marcus Smart
#27 Marcus Thornton
#46 Corey Walden
#13 James Young
#26 Phil Pressey
Ralph Sampson III
Jamie Young; Jay Larranaga; Walter McCarty; Micah Shrewsberry
Players to Watch
Smart was the best player in the Celtics opening game vs the Jazz finishing with 26 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. He was very effective taking the ball inside and hit 12 of 13 free throws. However, he was only 2-10 from beyond the arc.
Mickey was aggressive and played very well for the Celtics. He started at center and scored 16 points on 7-8 shooting. He also pulled down 4 rebounds and blocked 3 shots.
Players to Watch
Okafor started at center for the Sixers in their first game and came up big with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in a loss to the Spurs. He averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a freshman at Duke last season before being taken 3rd in this year's draft. The Celtics big men will be tested as they try to limit Okafor in this game.
McRae started at shooting guard for the Sixers in their first game and finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds. He was selected by the Sixers with the 58th-overall pick in last year’s draft, and spent the 2014-15 season playing in Australia before joining the Delaware 87ers of the D-League at the conclusion of United’s season in late February. For Australia he averaged 19.9 points. He averaged 25.1 points on 52.0% from the field and 42.6% in 13 games for Delaware.
Jordan Mickey vs Jahlil Okafor
Okafor was the highly rated 3rd pick in this season's draft and Jordan Mickey was the 33rd pick in the draft. It will be very interesting to see how Mickey fares against Okafor.
Keys to the Game
Rebound - The Celtics must make a better effort to crash the boards. You won't win many games being outrebounded by 20. Especially against Okafor, the Celtics have to work harder on the boards.
Defend the Paint - The Jazz got to the hoop way too easily in the Celtics first game. They have to do a better job of defending the paint and keeping the Sixers from scoring in the paint.
Take it to the Hoop - The Celtics shot just 6-25 from beyond the arc against the Sixers. The Celtics can't fall in love with the 3, especially when they aren't falling. They have players who can penetrate and get to the line and they need to play on those strengths. Marcus Smart should concentrate on getting the ball to Hunter on the perimeter and getting into the paint and leave the 3 point shots to others.