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The Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers squared off in the second round of the summer league playoffs tonight. Boston's night started promising by opening the first quarter on a 7-0 run. The Trail Blazers outscored Boston the rest of the frame 28-14, and the C's finished the quarter down 28-23. Marcus Smart led the C's with 7 points, but there would not be much basketball left for him the rest of the night.

Just after the 7 minute mark in the second quarter, Celtics fans went from delighted to distraught. Terry Rozier absolutely shook Arlington's own Pat Connaughton on a cross-over, and put a short one-handed jumper off the glass. Portland's ensuing offensive possession resulted in a missed shot, and in the scrum for the rebound Marcus Smart landed awkwardly on his right hand.

Smart was screaming in pain, and was taken to the bench and tended to by trainer Eddie Lacerte. He was then brought to the locker room and did not return to the game.

Hopefully it is in fact just two dislocations, and nothing more serious is revealed in the x-rays. Smart did return to the bench 3 minutes into the 4th quarter to join his teammates, but his hand was covered by a towel. Still, his return was promising.

Though the focus was on Smart and his injury, basketball did continue. In fact his injury came in the middle of a 10-0 run that tied the game at 37. Boston ended the half on a 20-6 run, and went into the locker room up 47-43, behind 9 points from Terry Rozier, and 8 points and 4 rebounds from Jordan Mickey.

Mickey had a big third quarter as well, and so did the Celtics. Marcus Thornton extended the lead to 9 with a 3 pointer at the buzzer, and the Celtics lead by a score of 68-59. Mickey had 5 points and 5 boards in the 3rd alone.

The 4th quarter was a different story. A couple Noah Vonleh 3's and Rashad James dunks spurred the Trail Blazers to a 14-2 run that tied the game at 78. A Rashad James 3 extended that run to 17-2, and gave Portland an 81-78 lead. Rozier put the Celtics back in the lead 82-81 with 2 minutes remaining, after R.J. Hunter knocked down two free throws the prior possession.

In the last minute Terry Rozier hit a step back jumper for two, then a 3 pointer with a Portland defender absolutely in his face to give the C's a 3 point lead. Portland missed, R.J. Hunter saved a loose ball rebound (Tommy Point), and the game was sealed.


R.J. Hunter, although his shot was a little off, made some great passes (including two in close sequence in the 4th quarter that led to slams) on 4 assists, and still played good basketball. It is clear he has a good feel for the game, and he has definitely won some fans through summer league so far. Jordan Mickey finished with 13 and 10, and Terry Rozier played the role of the closer, as he nailed some key shots in the last minute.

It was fun to see who would establish themselves down the stretch in a close game without Smart, and while Hunter and Rozier made some great plays, Rozier definitely stole the show.

Also, a postgame update on Smart from Adam Himmelsbach.




Photo Credit: Associated Press



Follow Chris on Twitter @Thomp_26

Chris Thompson 7/17/2015 12:30:00 AM Edit
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