The playoff bracket is set, and the Summer League Celtics start off their run to become champions in Las Vegas. After going 4-0 in group stage, the Celtics secured themselves a one seed in the final single-elimination bracket. Now, the Celtics have a familiar foe as they take on the eight-seeded Memphis Grizzlies who they just defeated Thursday 113-87. The Celtics were only one of three teams to finish with a 4-0 record. They’ll put it all on the line and try to continue their perfection Saturday at 4:30 EST.
The best thing about Summer League basketball is the introduction to young, new players across the league. It is their first chance to showcase their talent on a bit smaller stage to see if they have what it takes to secure a contract. Everyone gives it their all on offense while still understanding it’s still Summer League (unless your Grayson Allen). It’s mostly good natured, competitive basketball with the guys just playing the game they love.
It should be interesting if that mindset changes at all heading into the knockout portion of this tournament. It’s do-or-die and all of these guys have that competitive edge where they won’t go out without a fight. That is why the Celtics will not have another blowout win as they did Thursday. The Grizzlies will make some adjustments and know more of what to expect on both sides of the court from the Celtics.
For the Celtics to succeed they need to just rely on who has gotten them here to this point. Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards, and Tremont Waters have put up the stats to carry the Celtics to their undefeated start in Summer League. Unfortunately, Waters status is questionable after the tragic news of his father. That means that Carsen Edwards will most likely take the job starting at point trying to continue his push for the Summer League MVP. He has been on fire this Summer League scoring at will and showing off his deep range. It was a quality of his at Purdue that can translate well to the league.
Grant Williams is in the same boat. He is coming off yet another game as the Celtics lead scorer with 21 points and 7 rebounds last time facing this Grizzlies team. He has been the perfect Summer League player knowing how to exploit other players at the same position showing off his inside outside game. He has stepped behind the arc and showed off a three-point game we have not seen from his time at Tennessee. That is a big positive sign for Williams entering into the new league.
Without the Grizzlies star draft pick, Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have lacked on offense finding an answer at guard. The last game on Thursday against the Celtics, the Grizzlies could not hit their free-throws or threes. Grayson Allen was too busy getting flagrant fouls to contribute for the Grizzlies. Which led to there not being any consistent scoring leading to the blow out.
Coming into today, the intensity will be revved up. These teams know each other very well and are ready to fight for a championship. This one should be closer than Thursday, but for the Celtics to win, they will need to continue to rely on Carsen Edwards and Grant Williams. And of course, Tacko Fall needs to continue his dominance for another game.
PG – Carsen Edwards - Tyler Harvey
SG - Javonte Green - Grayson Allen
SF - Max Strus - Shaq Buchanan
PF - Grant Williams - Ivan Rabb
C - Robert Williams III - Brandan Clarke
Boston – Tremont Waters (Questionable, Personal); Romeo Langford (Out, Finger)
Memphis– Ja Morant (Out, Knee)
How To Watch
Time – 4:30 EST
TV – ESPN; NBC Sports Boston