The Boston Celtics (1-1) entered halftime with a one-point advantage over the Denver Nuggets (2-0) before falling apart in the final 20 minutes. The Celtics committed a baffling amount of turnovers, finishing with 16 overall in the game.
Malik Beasley led the Nuggets with 19 points, three rebounds, and three steals. The former Florida State star finally looks like he belongs at the NBA level as he enters his third season with Denver. Beasley is more under control on offense and he's figured out how to use his athleticism to make tough baskets.
Outside of Jabari Bird, Hassan Martin, and maybe Jarrell Eddie, there wasn't much for the Celtics to take away from this loss. Just four of the ten players that played tonight for Boston shot over 50%. As a team, the C's shot just 26/63 (41.3%) from the field and 4/18 (22.2%) from distance. Semi Ojeleye finished with a mere three points on 1/5 shooting and Guerschon Yabusele wasn't much better, recording seven points on 2/7 shooting.
Thankfully, the mundane performance from the majority of the summer league roster couldn't take away anything from the Bird show. The former Cal star continued to show why he belongs on an NBA roster; insane athleticism and playmaking ability. Bird finished with a game-high 24 points, three rebounds, and three steals.
Amazingly, especially in this new era of the NBA where the three-pointer is relied on so often, Bird took 17 shots without attempting one from behind the arc. It was mostly an array of acrobatic layups and powerful dunks. Case and point:
Bird is an excellent cutter and both of these plays outline his ability to find the right lane and hit it before using his athleticism to finish. It's beginning to become clear that he's too talented for the G-League. Bird is currently a restricted free-agent but another team could give him an offer that Boston couldn't afford match.
Martin also continued to play well after sparking the Celtics comeback in the fourth quarter in their summer league opening win against the Philadelphia 76ers. He recorded eight points, seven rebounds, and block while knocking down both of the shots he attempted. Martin got a chance to play 17 minutes after the injury to Robert Williams and he made the most of it.
All in all, it wasn't a very pretty night for Boston. Thankfully, the Dancing Bear had this huge dunk to sorta make up for it.
The Celtics will be back in action at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 9 on ESPN2 in a matchup with the Charlotte Hornets. Boston will continue to monitor Williams' status over the next few days to determine if he's healthy enough to play.