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Boston Celtics (0-0) vs Miami Heat (0-0) Las Vegas Summer League Game #1 7/8/23

2022 NBA Summer League - Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Summer Celtics take on the Summer Heat. These franchises last met in the Eastern Conference Finals where the 8th seeded Heat beat the 2nd seeded Celtics 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 1-1 record. They averaged 95 points and 33.5 rebounds in those games. They shot 47.5% from the field and 42.2% from beyond the arc. The experience in California could give the Heat an advantage when it comes to chemistry and being already warmed up.

The Celtics are coached by assistant coach Tony Dobbins, who has been an assistant with the Celtics since 2020, under Brad Stevens, Ime Udoka and Joe Mazzulla. He served as a video coordinator for the Celtics during the 2019-20 season. The Heat are coached by Caron Butler, who has been an assistant coach for the Heat since 2020. He was the 10th pick in the 2002 draft by the Miami Heat and played 14 seasons in the NBA for 9 different teams.

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. The Heat used the same starters for both games in California and may or may not start the same players in this game. 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
J.D. Davison #20
Kamar Baldwin #26
Jordan Walsh #27
Jay Scrubb #29
Mychal Mulder #37
Justin Bean #38
Vincent Valerio-Bodin #41
Sam Griesel #45
Olek Balcerowski #50
Udoka Azubuike #51
Reggie Kisoonlal #55
Justin Champagnie #99

Possible Starters
PG: JD Davison
SG: Mychal Mulder
SF: Jordan Walsh
PF: Udoka Azubuike
C: Olek Balcerowksi

Head Coach
Tony Dobbins

Players to Watch

JD Davison
Davison was the Celtics 53rd pick in the 2022 draft. He was a 2-Way player for the Celtics last season. He played 26 games with the Maine Celtics and averaged 12.5 points and just under 9 assists per game. He played spot minutes in 12 games for the Celtics. According to SL coach Tony Dobbins, Davison is embracing his role as a point guard and actively directing his teammates on the court.

Jordan Walsh
Walsh was the Celtics 38th pick in the 2023 draft. He is 6’7” with a 7’3” wingspan. He averaged 7.1 ppg for Arkansas last season on 43% shooting. He can defend 1-5 and with and is unselfish and a hard worker. He just signed a 4 year $7.6 million contract with the Celtics. If he can impress in Summer League he may find a spot in the Celtics rotation in the season.

Mychal Mulder
Mulder is the oldest player on the Celtics summer league team at 29 years old. He played for the Golden State Warriors in the 2019-20 season but was waived after that season. He has had short stints with Orlando and Miami and played last season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the G-League. He averaged 17.3 points while shooting 40.4% from beyond the arc.

Heat Roster
Nikola Jovic #5
Jamal Cain #8
Dru Smith #9
Jaime Jaquez, Jr #11
Orlando Robinson #25
Jamaree Bouyea #71J
ustin Powell #72
Caleb Daniels #74
Trenton Messner #75
Alondes Williams #76
Drew Peterson #81
Taylor Funk #83J
a’von Franklin #84
Brandon McCoy #94
Patrick Gardner #95

Possible Starters
PG: Jaime Jaquez, Jr
SG: Dru Smith
SF: Nikola Jovic
PF: Drew Peterson
C: Orlando Robinson

Head Coach
Caron Butler

Players to Watch

Nikola Jovic
Jovic was the Heat’s 27th pick in the 2022 draft. He is a skilled oversized wing that can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court. This is his 2nd Summer League with the Heat. He averaged 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2 assists in two games in the California Summer League held just before this one.

Jaime Jaquez, Jr
Jaquez was the 18th pick in the 2023 draft after spending 4 years at UCLA. He had 22 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist in the first game in the California Classic Summer League but just 4 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists in the second game.

Chase Audige
Audige was undrafted out of Northwestern. He is a disruptive perimeter defender who can score from beyond the arc. In his first game of the California Classic he finished with 18 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist while shooting 4 of 7 on 3 pointers off the bench.

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. They will also be looking for players who can shore up the wings and point guard spots.

Defense - The Celtics have put a premium on playing defense in the pastand 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 and Jordan Walsh is also a very good defender.

Chemistry - The Heat have already played in 3 games in California and will have an advantage with their chemistry. The Heat won their first game in California but then lost the second but I imagine that they built some chemistry along the way. Will the Celtics be able to develop chemistry quickly and play together on both ends of the court?

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.

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