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Celtics look to bounce back as they take on the Suns

The Celtics look for their first win in Vegas as they take on the undefeated Phoenix Suns.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
vs 
Boston Celtics (0-1) vs Phoenix Suns (1-0)
Sunday, July 10, 2016
10:30 PM ET
Las Vegas Summer League Game 2
TV:  ESPN 2
Stream: ESPN 3
Thomas and Mack Center


Both teams are playing their second game in the Vegas Summer League so far and both are playing back to back.  The Celtics are coming off a 71-62 loss to the Bulls while the Suns are coming off a 86-73 win over Portland. 

The Suns have some good players on their team and will be a challenge for the Celtics.  Devin Booker is coming off a very successful rookie year where he made the All Rookie team.   They also feature 3 rookies including Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis.  Both Bender and Chriss were predicted on many of the mocks to be picked by the Celtics. 

Askia Booker and Derek Cooke both played for the Suns' D-League team.  Alec Brown was a 2014 second round pick of the Suns and played for the C's D-League team last season as well.  Kyle Kuric is an interesting story.  He underwent surgery in November to remove a brain tumor with two follow up surgeries as well.  He played 3 years in the Spanish league. 

Once again, the Celtics will have a height disadvantage.  The Celtics tallest player is 6'9" while the Suns have two players who are 7'1" (Bender, Brown) and Marquese Chriss who is 6'10" and Richard Solomon, who is 6'11".   If Mickey can shake off the rust and play like he is capable of, that should help a little and Yabusele has shown some good instincts on the boards. 

According to Gary Washburn, Terry Rozier and James Young will get some rest and not play in this game.  Jaylen Brown tweaked his knee in Saturday's game and he said that he expects  to play in this game.




Celtics Summer League Roster
Player..... Number

Ben Bentil 50
Jaylen Brown 9
RJ Hunter 28
Demetrius Jackson 26
Jordan Mickey 55
Malcolm Miller 48
Abdel Nader 51
Jayvaughn Pinkston 52
Terry Rozier 12
Marcus Thornton 27
Corey Walden 46
Guerschon Yabusele 30
Mouphtaou Yarou 63
James Young 13
Coach: Micah Shrewsberry

Possible Starting 5
Demetrius Jackson
RJ Hunter
Jaylen Brown
Guerschon Yabusele
Jordan Mickey


Suns Summer League Roster
Player   Number

Dragan Bender  3
Askia Booker  29
Devin Booker 1
Alec Brown   10
Michael Bryson  25
Marquese Chriss  0
Derek Cooke  22
Kyle Kuric  18
Shannon Scott 19
Richard Solomon  32
Tyler Ulis  8
Alan Williams 15
Troy Williams   16
Coach:  Nate Bjorkgren

Possible Starting 5
Tyler Ulis
Devin Booker
Marquese Chriss
Alan Williams
Dragan Bender 

Players to Watch

With Terry Rozier getting a rest for this game, I expect to see more of Demetrius Jackson.  Jackson still has a chance to make the Celtics if he impresses enough in Summer League. 

Jordan Mickey made his long awaited debut after missing all 3 games in Utah.  He looked like a player who hadn't played for awhile.  He finished with 5 points, 7 rebounds 2 steals and 1 block along with 6 personal fouls.  Hopefully he will look better now that he has one game under his belt.

Jaylen Brown also returned after missing the final two games in Utah with a knee injury.  Brown also looked like a player just coming back from an injury.  He finished with 9 points and 1 rebound and looked a step slow for the most part.  He reportedly tweaked his knee against the Suns and hopefully he will be able to play.  If he can't play at full speed, it would be better to let him sit this one out. 


Booker is coming off a big rookie season in which he made the All Rookie Team.  He finished the Suns win over the Blazers with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 block.  The Celtics will definitely need to keep a body on him. 

Bender was the player most though the Celtics would take at #3.  It will be interesting to see how he develops compared to Jaylen Brown.  Bender has the size at 7'1" and as the old saying goes, you can't teach size.  But, he will need to put on some muscle to play in the NBA.  He finished his first game with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals. 

Alan Williams started for the Suns at Power Forward against the Blazers.  He finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 assists.  The Celtics will need to box him out and keep him off the boards. 

Keys to the Game
Rebound -  Because of the Celtics lack of size, they have struggled on the boards.  They were out rebounded by the Bulls 46-28.  The Celtics must box out and put in extra effort on the boards in order to make up for their lack of size. 
Defense - Defense is always a key to every game, whether it is Summer League, regular season or the playoffs.  The Celtics must get stops and especially keep the Suns out of the paint where they scored 36 points against the Blazers. 
Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team in going after loose balls, in rebounding, on defense, and they must play harder than the other team.  They have to want it more. 

X-Factors
Players Out - With at least Terry Rozier and James Young getting some rest,  how will the other players respond?  Will Jackson seize the opportunity to make a case for a roster spot? 
Effort on the Boards - With yet another team that puts the Celtics at a height disadvantage,  will the Celtics put out the extra effort that they need to box out and grab rebounds away from the taller Suns?