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Celtics and Mavericks meet in Vegas Summer League Quarterfinals

It's win or go home time as the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks clash in the Vegas Summer League Quarterfinals..

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics (4-0) vs Dallas Mavericks (4-0)
Saturday, July 15, 2017
8:00 PM ET
Vegas Summer League Game #5
Thomas and Mack Center

The Celtics and the Mavericks have both advanced to the quarterfinals undefeated, with identical 4-0 records.  The winner of this game will go on to face the winner of the Los Angeles Lakers vs Brooklyn Nets in the Semifinals on Sunday.  The loser of this game will be finished with Summer League and go home.

The Celtics won their last game against the Golden State Warriors without their 3 best players.  Abdel Nader, who just signed a 4 year contract with the Celtics, has missed 3 games with a calf injury.  Celtics 2nd year player left the game with the Sixers with a thigh bruise and didn't play against the Warriors.  The Celtics impressive rookie, Jayson Tatum sat out the game vs the Warriors with tendonitis. Brown is listed as out for this game while Nader and Tatum are listed as game time decisions.  

Demetrius Jackson was waived from the Celtics and is doubtful to play in this game.  In the meantime, the Mavericks have not reported any injuries, but they may opt to rest players like Dennis Smith, Jr and Yogi Ferrell who have played well and have nothing more to prove in Summer League.  But then again, sometimes Mark Cuban thinks winning as opposed to what's best for his players. 

With their three best players possibly out with various injuries and/or rest,  and Demetrius Jackson likely out as well,  the Celtics will need other players to step up.  Jabari Bird stepped up against the Warriors and they will need him and others to play their best game against a tough Mavericks team.  It's win or go home time in Summer League and the Celtics need to step up their game in order to get a win.

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
Kadeem Allen, Perrin Buford, Jabari Bird, Semi Ojeleye, Ante Zizic


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

Players to Watch

Jabari Bird - With Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Abdel Nader all out with bumps and bruises, the Celtics needed someone to step up against the Warriors and Bird was one who stepped up his game and hit some big shots.  Against the Warriors, Bird had 17 points, 1 rebound and 1 assists.  He is averaging 11.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in Vegas.   
Ante Zizic -  Zizic's 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.   He is averaging 9.3 points,8.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. 
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 has played very well in Vegas.  Brad Stevens had a lot of good things to say about his play.  He is averaging 11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in Vegas and has shown the ability to play tough defense. 

Mavericks' Summer League Roster
21 Brandon Ashley
8  Ding Yangyuhang
55 Johnathan Motley
52 Satnam Singh
11 Jogi Ferrell
19 Corey Webster
10 Dorian Finney Smith
14 Josh Adams
24 Torian Graham
33 Stevenb Spieth
29 Carrick Felix
9  Nicholas Brussino
1 Dennis Smith, Jr

Possible Starting Lineup
Dennis Smith, Jr,  Yogi Ferrell,  Nicholas Brussino,  Brandon Ashley,  Dorian Finney-Smith

Players to Watch

Dennis Smith, Jr - Smith was taken by the Mavericks with the 9th overall pick in the 2017 draft.  He has been impressing with his play in Vegas, averaging 20.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. 
Brandon Ashley - Ashley was undrafted in 2015 but was signed to a camp contract and played 7 games with the Mavericks that season before being waived.  He is averaging 12.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in Vegas and Mark Cuban has said that Ashley has a good chance of making the team this season. 
Yogi Ferrell - Ferrell went undrafted in 2016.  In January of 2017 he signed a 10 day contract with the Mavericks and played so well that they signed him for the rest of the season.  He was named to the All Rookie 2nd team.  He is averaging 11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in Vegas for the Mavs. 
Johnathan Motley - After going undrafted in 2017, Motley signed a two-way contract to play for the Mavericks and their G-League team this coming year.  Ye is averaging 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in Vegas.  

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 they run on the court. 
Defense -  Defense is always a key to winning, whether in Summer League, regular season or 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,  hopefully the Celtics are in the process of remedying that weakness. They need to crash the boards as a team to win the rebounding battle. 
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.  If Nader, Jackson, and/or Tatum can play, it will make a big difference.  The Celtics who play need to pick up their game and push themselves if they hope to get the win.

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