With Marcus Smart on the pine after filling up the stat sheet last night, the Celtics summer league squad looked to rebound against the Sixers. The absence of Smart was a concern, as was the lack of an interior presence to guard Jahlil Okafor. But in the end, it was 27% shooting (19-71) that doomed the Celtics in this 76-62 loss to the Sixers. Terry Rozier put in 14 points for the C's.
It started with some dismal offensive possessions, but Terry Rozier broke the cold spell by driving to the hoop for a three point play. Then, more cold. It was 3-3 halfway through the first. Young and Hunter couldn't capitalize on some open threes, but someone named Royce O'Neale (out of Baylor) dropped a quick five points and the Celtics ended up closing out the first with a 16-12 lead.
The second quarter also got off to a slow start, with the teams trading turnovers and misses until Philly mercifully ended the drought with a Jerami Grant slam 3 minutes into the frame. The altitude must still be getting to James Young, because he got off to another slow shooting start tonight. The Celtics got on the board with a nice Jordan Mickey reverse lay in where he cruised by Okafor for two. Mickey's got a nice first step, or Okafor's feet were in cement. Sadly, this was one of the few highlights for a quarter that somehow was just as low scoring as the first. At the half it was 27-26 Sixers. Both teams shot less than 30%. This was painful. Marcus Smart would have helped here.
Cover your eyes but here's the Celtics/76ers halftime box: pic.twitter.com/2TCptfwbYN— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 7, 2015
The first few minutes of the second half better resembled basketball. Rozier had a nice take for an easy two early on, and James Young took a hard foul and managed to get up and drain two free throws. But it was Furkan Aldemir of the Sixers who stuck a few threes and had Philly up five halfway through the third. The Sixers went on a 15-4 run in the middle of the quarter to jump out to a 15 point lead. A nice Rozier post-up led to two free throws. James Young dropped six straight points at the end of the third when he finally connected from deep and then converted a tough and-1 to close out the quarter. That had to be good for his psyche. Celtics trailed 55-45 after three.
CJ Fair started the scoring in the fourth with a nice put back. But Philly, led by Richaun Holmes, went off for a 9-0 run and the Celtics just could not hit shots to keep pace. The Celtics interior defense allowed easy look after easy look and Jordan Mickey continued to get manhandled on the glass. No one got hot for the C's, who really could have used some threes from RJ Hunter and James Young. That didn't happen. The Sixers coasted through the fourth and took the win.
This game was gross. So many turnovers. Since the league is televising the games and charging people for seats, maybe we could give the summer league teams an extra week of practice?
Rozier is fast. Like blazingly so. Yes, it's summer league, but he seemed to get into the paint with ease and definitely is disruptive on the defensive end. He needs to add strength and work on his three, but I get why the Celtics fell in love with him. I also liked how he did the Rondo ball fake on a drive in the third.
In a game where no one could score in the early going, you would think the Sixers would pound the ball to Okafor. But it was Furkan Aldemir who was more of a difference maker in the Sixers front court. Okafor end up with 13 points and 9 rebounds, but didn't look dominant tonight.
Marcus Thorton dribbling off his leg at the end of the first half was a low point. I bet his passport photo is sweet looking though and that he'll enjoy his time overseas.
CJ Fair is solid. If it weren't for the glut of power forwards on the Celtics, I'd say he'd have a chance of making the team... but he won't. Wouldn't surprise me if he spent some time in the league this year though.
Paul Colahan 7/07/2015 08:55:00 PM Tweet Edit