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Celtics open Vegas Summer League Play against long time rival Lakers

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Jayson Tatum and the Celtics open their Las Vegas Summer League play with a game against Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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Boston Celtics (0-0) vs Los Angeles Lakers (0-1)
Saturday, July 8, 2017
8:30 PM ET
Las Vegas Summer League Game 1
Thomas and Mack Center


The Celtics will face their long time rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in their first game of the Las Vegas Summer League.  After playing in the smaller Cox Pavillion that seats 2500 last year in Vegas, this season all 3 of the Celtics' opening games are at the Thomas and Mack Center that seats 15,000. 

For the first time in Vegas Summer League history,  a game was sold out in advance as ticket for this game were quickly sold out.  Expect the stands to be packed with Lakers fans as they were on Friday night for the Lakers and Clippers opening game, which the Clippers won 96-93 in overtime.

The Celtics had Friday night off between their last game in Utah and their first game in Vegas.  The Lakers played  an overtime game on Friday night and will be playing in back to back games.  The Celtics have had a little more experience together, having played 3 games in Utah while the Lakers have had just the one game in Las Vegas. 

With this being the first game in Las Vegas and against the Lakers, I don't see Coach Allen resting Jaylen or Jayson.  Demetrius Jackson sat out the final two games in Utah which may be because he may be traded or waived.  The Celtics have until July 15th to guarantee his contract for the rest of the season.  The Celtics could use a steady point guard for Summer League so hopefully he can play in this one.



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,  Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye, Ante Zizic

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. 
Abdel Nader - Nader, the 58th pick in last year's draft played last season with the Red Claws and was named D-League Rookie of the Year.  He averaged 14.7 point, 3 rebounds and 1 assist, while shooting 48.6% from the floor.  He is trying to make a case for joining the Celtics this season. 
Jaylen Brown - Jaylen was a man among boys in his first game against the Sixers with 29 points and 13 rebounds.  Against the Spurs, Brown struggled with just 6 points on 2-6 shooting and 0-4 from beyond the arc.  He sat out the third game against the Jazz.  Hopefully he will be back to playing in this one. 
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.   He finished his first game with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block and  followed that with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block in his second game.  Against the Jazz, he scored 9 points to go with 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. 



Lakers Summer League Roster
2 Lonzo Ball
1 Vander Blue
3 Alec Brown
31 Thomas Bryant
4 Alex Caruso
6 PJ Dozier
5 Josh Hart
14 Brandon Ingram
0 Kyle Kuzma
20 David Nwaba
19 Matt Thomas
21 Travis Wear
7 Gabe York
40 Ivica Zubac

Possible Starting Lineup
Vander Blue, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Travis Wear, Ivica Zubac

Players to Watch

Brandon Ingram - Ingram played very well in the Lakers' opener against the Clippers.  He finished with 26 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.  He took a hard fall at the end of regulation and sat out the overtime but hopefully will be ready to play in this one.
Lonzo Ball - Whether it was nerves or being out of shape or whatever reason, Ball struggled in his debut.  He finished with 5 points on 2-15 shooting (1-11 3 pointers), 4 rebounds and 5 assists.  After that first game, you know he's going to want to bounce back in this one.
Vander Blue - Vander Blue played in 3 games for the Celtics back in the 2013-14 season.  He's vying for a spot on the Lakers now and finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
Thomas Bryant - Bryant, a center out of Indiana,  was the 42nd pick in the 2017 draft. He played well in his first game with 13 points and 5 rebounds. 

Key Matchups
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Jayson Tatum vs Lonzo Ball
The 2nd and 3rd picks in the 2017 draft will face each other in this game.  The Celtics' rookie Jayson Tatum played very well in Utah, averaging 18.7 points and 9.7 rebounds.  in his debut, he finished with 21 points on 8-17 shooting and 7 rebounds.   Ball didn't fare quite as well in his debut with just 5 points on 2-15 shooting with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. 

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Jaylen Brown vs Brandon Ingram
Two lottery picks from the 2016 draft will also be key to each of their teams.  Jaylen Brown played well so far as did Brandon Ingram.  Will one give their team the advantage? 

Keys to the Game
Chemistry - Both of these teams have been together for a limited time, but the Celtics have played 3 games to try to build some chemistry as a team while the Lakers have played just 1 game. 
Defense -  Defense is always a key to winning, whether in Summer League, regular season or especially in the playoffs. 
Rookie Play -  Each team has a rookie playing who is expected to come in and contribute right away to their teams.  So far, the Celtics #3 pick has outplayed the Lakers #2 pick.  Will that continue in this game? 
Point Guard Play - Demetrius Jackson played the point for the Celtics in their first game in Utah but was held out for the final two games.  In Thursday's game in Utah, Kadeem Allen and Jayson Tatum played some point but the Celtics could certainly use Jackson to handle point guard duties for a portion of the game.