The Celtics’ Summer League roster of NBA hopefuls had one last chance to make an impression on Saturday. Though the game script wasn’t pretty, Boston had several contributors step up in key moments to earn a 94-77 blowout win against the Magic on Saturday.
Jordan Walsh scored 12 points in just under 16 minutes of playing time to cap his strong summer. Every one of the 11 Celtics who played scored, a true team effort that sent the ragtag group home on a high note.
The opening minutes certainly looked like the last stretch of a long nine days for both teams. Neither side scored for the first 2:56 of the first quarter, until Orlando’s Dexter Dennis finally drove hard through the lane for a layup. Jay Scrubb responded with a give-and-go bucket off of an Olek Balcerowski assist, but the Magic still held a 20-16 advantage after the first frame.
However, the waning possessions in Vegas offered unlikely contributors an opportunity to shine. Reginald Kissoonlal, a 7-foot center and Maine Celtic who had not played all Summer League, provided the spark Boston needed. Kissoonlal stepped in for his first minutes and registered a steal in zone defense, a block, and two above-the-break threes, helping the Celtics keep pace.
Then the rest of the team started to heat up. JD Davison scored nine first-half points and made four of six shots, flashing some of his best moments as an individual creator. Jordan Walsh played hounding on-ball defense and drilled two 3-pointers early. He also finished off an alley-oop layup from Davison with 0.2 seconds left in the first half, helping Boston take a 43-34 lead into the break.
It was Vincent Valerio-Bodon’s turn to shine in the second half. The 22-year-old Hungarian forward, also making his Celtics Summer League debut, canned a three and then finished off a cutting layup for an and-1 highlight. Valerio-Bodon wound up with a team-high 13 points, plus six rebounds.
The Celtics used a 15-2 run to balloon a 51-44 lead into a 66-46 cushion that carried them the rest of the way. They shuffled between zone and man defensive schemes, with both holding down the fort, and cut all over a flimsy Magic defense. Boston assisted on 23 of its 35 made baskets, including boatloads of open catch-and-shoot threes, and its subs outscored the Magic 55-25.
Kissoonlal compiled a healthy 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks off the bench. Kamar Baldwin and Justin Bean each tossed in 10 points.
Orlando, which sat No. 6 overall pick Anthony Black on Saturday, finished a dismal 0-5. The Magic shot just 37.3% from the field Saturday, including 27.5% behind the arc. Robert Baker led with 15 points.
Though the headlines now turn almost entirely toward Jaylen Brown contract extension talks, Brad Stevens will now also have to assess who from this middling squad might be worth a roster spot. The Celtics have one of three two-way contract slots available, with Davison and Scrubb signed to two-way deals.