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Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets Summer League Game #2

The Celtics look to win their second straight game as they take on the Denver Nuggets in Summer League Play.

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets - Game Five Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Celtics face the Denver Nuggets in their second Summer League Game. The Celtics squeaked past the Atlanta Hawks, 85-83 in their first game while the Nuggets lost by 20 points, 97-77, to the Miami Heat in their first game. Against the Heat, they played just 10 of 19 players and they had to sign 2 extra players just to have enough healthy players to be able to play the game.

The Nuggets were missing several key players including their first round draft pick, Bones Hyland. They were also missing Zeke Nnaji, who played for the Nuggets last season, and Markus Howard who spent last season with the Nuggets’ G-league team. Also out was Tarik Black, who had played 5 years in the NBA before playing the last 3 seasons in the Euroleague.

The Nuggets signed Josh Gray and Daniel Hamilton, who weren’t originally on the roster for Summer League, just to have enough players to be able to compete. They are hoping that some of their key players will be able to return for this game. Even if they do, they have not had much practice time as a team and that will put them at a disadvantage.

The Nuggets struggled in their first game, shooting just 36.1% from the field and 24.1% from beyond the arc. They scored 32 points in the paint, compared to 22 points in the paint for the Celtics. The Celtics leaned heavily on their outside shooting, taking 51 three pointers and making 16 of them. The Nuggets turned the ball over 21 times while the Celtics turned it over just 11 times.

The Celtics were expected to dominate their matchups in Summer League as they feature 4 first and second year players, 3 of whom have been a part of the rotation both in the regular season and in the playoffs. However, they struggled against the Hawks, shooting just 38.3% from the floor and beating them by just 2 points. Hopefully they got their nerves out of the way and will play better in this game.

As with any Summer League Game, we can never be sure who will start and even who will play. Coaches like to experiment with combinations of players and to give players a chance to play in different lineups. The Celtics have added Bruno Fernando, who was acquired in the Tristan Thompson trade and they will likely want to see him play before deciding if they want to keep him.

Starters in Last Game
Payton Pritchard 6’2” G
Carsen Edwards 5’11” G
Aaron Nesmith 6’6” F
Dedric Lawson 6’7” F
Romeo Langford 6’4” G

Rest of the Roster
Juhann Begarin 6’5” G
Sam Hauser 6’8” F
Aric Holman 6’9” C
Dedric Lawson 6’7” F
KJ Lawson 6’7” F
Yam Mader 6’3” G
Zach Auguste 6’10” C
Bruno Fernando 6’9” F

Head Coach: Joe Mazzulla

Players to Watch
Payton Pritchard
Pritchard was definitely the best player on the court in this game. He finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers. He has increased his range, taking some shots from way outside the 3 point line, making 46.7% of his threes. Several articles have suggested that Pritchard may not play big minutes going forward as he has already shown that he is a ready for rotation minutes this season.

Carsen Edwards
Edwards finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists against the Hawks. He also had no turnovers. He hustled on defense and worked hard to show that he can contribute on the NBA level after mostly struggling in his first two seasons with the Celtics.

Romeo Langford
Langford finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers. He shot 42% from beyond the arc and hit the go ahead 3 to put the Celtics in front for good. He looked confident in his shot and also looked good on defense.

Honorable Mention
Yam Madar and Juhann Begarin
Both played very well in their first game. Madar came in when the Celtics were down 0-10 to start the game and sparked a 17-3 run. He was strong on defense and also shot the ball well. Begarin played but energy and also looked good on defense. He stole the Hawks inbound pass to seal the win for the Celtics.

Starters in Last Game
Caleb Agada 6’3” G
Davon Reed 6’5” G/F
Zylan Cheatham 6’8” F
Bol Bol 7’2” F/C
Giorgi Bezhanishvili 6’9”F/C

Rest of the Roster
Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland 6’3” G
Markus Howard 5’11” G
Zeke Nnaji 6’11” F
Chudier Bile 6’7” F
Steffon Mitchell 6’8” F
Tarik Black 6’9” F
Jason Burnell 6’7” F
Deonte Burton 6’5” F
Semaj Christon 6’3” G
Eugene German 6’0” G
Matur Maker 6’11” F
Arnas Velicka 6’4” G
Josh Gray 6’0” G
Daniel Hamilton 6’7” F

Head Coach: Charles Klask

Players to Watch
Bol Bol
Bol is 7’2” tall and is tough to score against. He finished his first game with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He also had 6 turnovers. He took 14 free throws and, after a slow first half, he finished strong. After injuries derailed much of his first 2 seasons, he is looking to earn a spot in the Nuggets rotation for this season.

Caleb Agada
Agada finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. He shot 40% from beyond the arc. After playing the last 4 seasons in Canada, Europe and Israel, he is looking to impress enough to earn a spot on an NBA team this season.

Honorable Mention
Davon Reed
Reed was a late addition to the Nuggets Summer League Team. He appeared in 31 games for Indiana and Phoenix, after being picked 32nd in the 2017 draft. He has also played in the G-League and in Taiwan. He finished with 15 points, 3 rebounds 1 steal, and 1 block with just one 1 turnover.

Game Notes
Denver is hoping to have some of their players who have been out due to health and safety protocols back in their lineup. If they do, expect Bones Hyland, Zeke Nnaji and Tarik Black to feature in their rotation. The Celtics will likely feature Pritchard, Edwards, Langford, Nesmith, Begarin and Madar once again. Although, Pritchard may have shown all he needs to show in his first game.

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