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Bird soars as summer Celtics defeat defending champ Warriors 93-69

Jabari Bird finishes with 17 as Ante Zizic shows more and more promise.

NBA: Summer League-Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Abdel Nader out nursing minor injuries, the start of the summer league playoffs against the Golden State Warriors served as a showcase for some of the unknowns on the Vegas roster. They responded in a 93-69 of the defending champs.

Outside of Tatum, the Celtics drafted three players in the second round: Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Bird, and Kadeem Allen. Ojeleye has looked great in seven games in Utah and Las Vegas. Tonight, he finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds and continued his strong play of defense. With Brad Stevens’ positive comments about Ojeleye’s defensive versatility, he’s more than likely earned himself a contract next season.

Bird made a strong case for one of Boston’s two two-way contracts for next season. He’s not an exceptionally gifted athlete (ahem, sounds like another Bird from Celtics’ history), but he can score from all three levels. He had 17 points on an efficient 8-for-10 shooting.

Could this be Demetrius Jackson’s final game in green? He was solid with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in just 19 minutes. The Summer Celtics won’t play again until Saturday, then final day until Jackson’s 2017-2018 contract fully guarantees. Boston is fully stocked at point guard, but Jackson has shown he belongs in this league.

This was also Ante Zizic’s most complete game. He finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. What makes Ante an intriguing prospect for playing time next season is his ability to catch passes off the pick-and-roll and clog up the middle on defense. He doesn’t have the fastest feet, but his hands are so quick to the ball on passes and rebounds.

The Celtics will now face the winner of the Mavericks-Kings game later tonight.

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