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Celtics lose first summer league game to Bulls 71-62

The Celtics looked like the summer powerhouse coming out of Utah 3-0. In their first game in Las Vegas, they hit a wall against the Chicago Bulls.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is Jaylen Brown and Jordan Mickey were back in green and for the first time, and the Celtics had their full summer squad. The bad news is they lost to a Bulls team that played harder and tougher than they did. Chicago out-Celtic'd the Celtics.

Brown's summer league numbers are largely irrelevant because they're summer league numbers, but here they are anyway: 9 points (on 3-for-13 shooting, 2-for-5 from three), 1 rebound, and zero assists. That's underwhelming for a player picked third in the draft, but let's remember that he's coming off a bone bruise in his knee, a knee that he again tweaked today. However, what's promising is that Brown is still getting to the rim: five of his (missed) shots were in the restricted area.

Terry Rozier and Guerschon Yabusele continue to be bright spots. Rozier finished with 13 points, 2 assists, and 3 steals after being one of the best players in Salt Lake City. He's stepped up as the clear leader of this team and looks to be prime for a regular role in Brad Stevens' rotation in November. He's talked about filling in for the departed Evan Turner, and his development has really shown over the last four games. He's always had that burst since leaving Louisville, but he's added some change of pace elements to his game and a year in the weight room has given him more strength to finish around the rim. He'll get tomorrow off, but of course, he's salty about it.

Yabusele had a humble 10 and 7, but the versatile skill set is there. Two back-to-back threes in the second quarter helped the Celtics overcome a cold first quarter, and he was a terror on the offensive glass along with Mickey. It may be best for Yabusele's development to remain a draft-and-stash candidate, but with word today that the Celtics rescinded Jared Sullinger's qualifying offer, Yabusele may be appearing for the Cs stateside sooner rather than later.

After seeing today's game in person, I think it's important to note that in summer league, teams don't run a lot of intricate sets. It's basic pick-and-rolls with drives and kicks and little off-ball action. These are teams that are quickly put together after the draft and just have a handful of practices to get to know each other. Players don't know where their teammates sweet spots are nor are plays drawn up to get players to those spots. Chemistry hasn't been developed well enough that eye contact or an eyebrow raise leads to the perfect bounce pass to a back-door cut. Summer league is just a high-level pick up game.

That may sound like a qualifier for bad play, but think about how the Celtics get their guys their shots. You've got those down screens for Avery Bradley to come up for his mid-range jumper or those high PnRs with Isaiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk to free them up for a three. That kind of player-specific play calling doesn't really exist in summer league. You hope that better players—particularly great players—are able to separate themselves from the pack, but that just doesn't always happen.  And for what it's worth, I think that Ainge and Stevens have been careful drafting players that don't necessarily see these showcases as chances for them to justify their hype.

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