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Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Las Vegas Summer League Game #1 7/9/22

The Summer Celtics take on the Summer Heat in their first Las Vegas Summer League Game.

NBA: Summer League-Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Summer Celtics take on the Summer Heat. These franchises last met in the Eastern Conference Finals where the Celtics beat the Heat in 7 games to move on to the NBA Finals. While the rivalry lessens with the Summer League version of these teams, it is a rivalry no less and these two franchises do not like each other.

This is the first game for both of these teams in the Las Vegas Summer League. However, the Heat played in the California Classic, finishing with a 1-2 record. They averaged 74.7 points and 38.3 rebounds in those games. They shot 38.5% from the field and 27.6% from beyond the arc. The experience in California could give the Heat an advantage when it comes to chemistry.

As with every Summer League, it’s difficult to predict a starting lineup as coaches are looking to try different lineups and combination of players and they want to get an idea of what each player brings to the table. For the most part, evaluating players to see which ones might fit with the roster is more important to these coaches than winning the games.

Celtics Roster
JD Davison 20
Juhann Begarin 45
Trevion Williams 50
Jordan Bone 51
Mfiondu Kabengele 24
AJ Reeves 41
Brodric Thomas 97
Matt Ryan 37
Sam Hauser 30
Jericole Hellems 29
Bryton Hobbs 55
Aubrey Dawkins 38
Robert Franks 43

Possible Starters
JD Davison
Juhann Begarin
Sam Hauser
Matt Ryan
Trevion Williams

Head Coach
Ben Sullivan

Players to Watch

Sam Hauser Hauser is the only Summer League player with a guaranteed roster spot for next season. He just signed a new 3 year contract with the Celtics. He shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range in 13 games with Maine and 43.2 percent from beyond the arc in 26 games with Boston in his rookie season. He will be looking to prove that he belongs on the roster with a solid showing in Las Vegas.

Trevion Williams With the Celtics needing more help at center for the upcoming season, the team will take a good look at Trevion Williams, an undrafted center out of Purdue. He is a strong rebounder and finisher and has garnered a lot of attention for his elite passing in Summer League practices so far.

JD Davison The Celtics only pick in this year’s draft was JD Davison, taken with the 53rd pick. The Celtics will be watching to see if he can run the offense and also if he can improve on his turnover numbers from college. He has promised to be a “dog” on both ends of the court and if he can follow up on that promise, he may be a pleasant surprise.

Heat Roster
Marcus Garrett 0
Nikola Jovic 5
Mychal Mulder 12
Javonte Smart 15
Haywood Highsmith 24
Kyle Allman, Jr 50
Jamaree Bouyea 52
Bryce Hamilton 53
Jamal Cain 54
Jalen Adaway 56
Aaron Wheeler 57
Bryson Williams 58
Orlando Robinson 59
Omer Yurtseven 77

Possible Starters
Mychal Mulder
Javonte Smart
Nikola Jovic
Haywood Highsmith
Orlando Robinson

Head Coach
Malik Allen

Players to Watch

Nikola Jovic Jovic was the 27th pick in this year’s draft. He had 25 points and 9 rebounds in the Heat’s final game in the California Summer League. He is a talented shot maker who can score from all over the court. He has good size for a wing and will be looking to make the 26 teams who passed on him sorry that they did.

Orlando Robinson Robinson started every game for the Heat in California, averaging 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. The 7 footer has signed an Exhibit 10 contract and will be competing for a two-way spot with the Heat for this upcoming season.

Haywood Highsmith Highsmith started all of the Heat’s games in California and averaged 10.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He shot 41.7% from beyond the arc in those games. He has 2 years experience with the 76ers and their G-League team. He also played 1 year in Europe. He feels he can replace what PJ Tucker brought to the Heat and will be looking to prove that in these games.

Keys to the Game
Shooting - The Celtics will be looking for players who can shoot from the outside and also who can finish at the basket. Sam Hauser will look to earn a spot in the rotation by showing he can hit his shots and also defend on the NBA level.

Defense - The Celtics put a premium on playing defense and they will be looking to see which Summer Celtics fit that mold. JD Davison has already said that he plans to show he can be a dog on the defensive end. Will other Celtics step up on defense as well?

Chemistry - The Heat have already played in 3 games in California and will have an advantage with their chemistry. The Heat lost their first 2 games in California and then won their 3rd, showing that their chemistry is growing. Will the Celtics be able to develop chemistry quickly and play together on both ends of the court?

X-Factors
It’s Summer League - While teams want to win, every one of these teams is pretty much cobbled together from undrafted players, end of bench players, and G-League players. They have had limited practice time for the most part and so it’s hard to tell how each team will play and which teams will dominate. One thing for sure is that every player is trying to get noticed and earn a place on a roster and so we may see some players surprise us.