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Celtics begin tournament play against the Golden State Warriors

The Boston Celtics face the Golden State Warriors in the first round of tournament play at the Las Vegas Summer League. Is it too early to call this an NBA Finals preview?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics (3-0) vs Golden State Warriors (1-3)
Thursday, July 13, 2017
6:00 PM ET
Las Vegas Summer League Game #4
Thomas and Mack Center

The Celtics begin the Las Vegas Summer League tournament play with a game against the Golden State Warriors.  After losing all three preliminary games, the Warriors entered the tournament stage of Summer League as the 22nd seed with a 0-3 record.  The Warriors beat the Timberwolves to advance in the tournment to play the Celtics. 

The winner of this game between the Celtics and the Warriors will face the winner of the 19th seed Sacramento Kings vs the 3rd seed Dallas Mavericks in the Quarterfinals on July 15th.  The Mavericks, like the Celtics, were 3-0 in preliminary play and had a bye on the first day of tournament play.   The loser will face the loser of the Clippers vs the Heat

Jaylen Brown bruised his thigh in the game vs the Sixers and is out for this game.  Abdel Nader missed the last 2 games with a strained calf and is also out for this game.  Jayson Tatum is listed with patellar tendonitis and is out for this game, and possibly the rest of Summer League.  With three of the top players on the team out, the rest of the team is going to have to dig deep to pull out wins in the tournament. 

Golden State’s Summer League roster is highlighted by current Warriors players Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, all of whom played for the Warriors last season.  They also feature Jordan Bell, the 38th selection in the 2017 draft. Additionally, the Warriors include Jabari Brown, Elgin Cook and Alex Hamilton, who were all members of the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State's D League team.

Celtics Summer League Roster
45 Kadeem Allen
52 Rosco Allen
26 Jabari Bird
7 Jaylen Brown
38 Perrin Buford
9 Demetrius Jackson
63 Landen Lucas
51 Abdel Nader
37 Semi Ojeleye
28 Terran Petteway
40 Scoochie Smith
11 Jayson Tatum
60 Trevor Thompson
46 Scott Wood
54 Ante Zizic

Possible Starting Lineup
Demetrius Jackson,  Kadeem Allen, Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye, Ante Zizic


Abdel Nader (strained left calf)   out
Jaylen Brown (thigh bruise) out
Jayson Tatum (tendonitis) out

Players to Watch

Jayson Tatum - The Celtics first round pick, #3 overall, will continue to have the spotlight on him throughout his first Summer League. In Utah, Tatum averaged 18.7 points on 46.8% shooting along with 9.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.3 steals.  He is also the player that most of his fellow players say has stood out in this year's Summer League. 
Demetrius Jackson -  After sitting out the final two games in Utah, Jackson was back on the court against the Lakers.  He finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.  Most importantly,  the Celtics are 4-0 with Jackson and 0-2 without him.  He finished against the Sixers with 14 points and 4 assists. 
Ante Zizic - The Celtics drafted Zizic 23rd in 2016.  He impressed this past season playing for David Blatt with Darüşşafaka Doğuş.  Blatt described him as having a nose for the ball and being unafraid of anything.   His play has gotten stronger with each game, as he is getting more used to the faster NBA game.  He had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 1 block against the Sixers. 
Semi Ojeleye - Ojeleye was projected to be drafted in the 20's but slid to the Celtics at 37.  He struggled somewhat in Utah, but came on strong in his first game in Vegas with 19 points including 5-9 from beyond the arc with 3 rebounds.  He played well once again vs the Blazers with 9 points and 5 rebounds.  Brad Stevens had a lot of good things to say about his defense after the Sixers game. 

Warriors Summer League Roster
12  Bryce Alford
18  Noah Allen
2   Jordan Bell
25  Chris Boucher
32  Jabari Brown
8  Elgin Cook
10  Deividas Dulkys
31  Dylan Ennis
33 Alex Hamilton
40  Justin Harper
15  Damian Jones
5   Kevon Looney
0   Patrick McCaw
6   Xavier Munford
7   Joe Rahon
19  Tai Webster
55  Darrell Williams
4   JaCorey Williams

Possible Starting Lineup
Alex Hamilton, Bryce Alford, Patrick McCaw, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones

Players to Watch

Bryce Alford - Alford is the son of Steve Alford, who won a national championship with Indiana University and who coached Bryce at UCLA.  Bryce went undrafted in the 2017 draft.  He finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists against the Wolves.
Jordan Bell - Bell was the 38th pick in the 2017 draft, one pick behind the Celtics' Semi Ojeleye.  Bell has been garnering some comparisons to Draymond Green during his Summer League play.  Bell finished with 6 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks against the Wolves.  He is averaging 1.8 steals and 2.8 blocks per game. 
Elgin Cook - Cook played for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the D League last season.  He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist against the Wolves. 
Patrick McCaw - McCaw played with the Warriors last season and, like Jaylen Brown, played some key minutes in the playoffs.  He  finished with 26 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists against the Wolves and is averaging 20 points per game in the playoffs.  In four SL games, McCaw has averaged 20 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while playing just over 30 minutes a game.

Keys to the Game
Chemistry - Both of these teams have been together for long enough to begin building chemistry as a team.  We should see the benefits of this chemistry in the passing and the plays run on the court. 
Defense -  Defense is always a key to winning, whether in Summer League, regular season or especially in the playoffs.  The Celtics need to play tough defense to give themselves a chance to win. 
Rebound - Rebounding was one of the Celtics' weaknesses last season.  With Ante Zizic and Semi Ojeleye and Jayson Tatum,  hopefully the Celtics are in the process of remedying that weakness.
Injuries/Resting Players - The Celtics are a little banged up and it's always possible that the coaches decide to rest some players in order to get a better look at others.  The Celtics who play need to pick up their game and push themselves to get the win.

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