Jay’s computer betrayed him in attempt to save him from the news of Kris Joseph’s injury (he’s fine; Kris I mean) so I’ll be handling the recap of last night’s Celtics-Bulls slugfest.
The Celtics put on a clinic in the second quarter and jumped out to a 21-point lead, and then — just like the real life Celtics — they completely blew the lead in the second half. It was such a perfect impersonation of the regular season that I almost lost my cool during the final quarter, as they scored only nine points and their shooting percentage dropped from 56% to 40%. The C’s still got the win, largely because of E’Twaun Moore, so that’s where we’ll kick off our player-by-player analysis.
I can be one of E’Twaun Moore’s biggest critics but last night’s performance was really impressive, showcasing everything I love about his game. E’Twaun (25 points, seven rebounds, two assists) started off strong and absolutely killed it in the first half. He destroyed Marcus Teague and took some tough shots that he hit, but I hope he never takes again. When the lead got tight in the fourth, E’Twaun was forced back into the game and his shot wasn’t falling as consistently. But whenever things got to close the Purdue product would make something happen: a put back, a floater, a pair of clutch free-throws. He clearly wants to play for the Celtics next year and made his case pretty strongly last night.
Jared Sullinger’s stat line betrays him a bit tonight because he played a lot smarter than his 3-of-15 shooting would suggest. Sullinger (seven points, 14 rebounds, two blocks) is an incredibly cerebral player he realized he couldn’t bully Leon Powe in the post so he stepped back to take floaters and jump shots over him. Some days the ball just doesn’t fall, but it’s an encouraging sign that Sullinger was able to recognize the situation and adjust his game. He also made up for his poor shooting night by crashing the boards and grabbing 14 rebounds. A rebounder, in a Celtics uniform: Awesome.
If JaJuan Johnson needs to play the 3 then why don’t the Celtics ever try playing him there? Both the announcers and Danny Ainge mentioned last night that JaJuan would likely have to learn to play some SF, so what am I missing? JaJuan (seven points, 12 rebounds) put in another decent performance last night, but nothing stands out to me besides the 12 rebounds he grabbed, and him getting thrown all over the place on the block, and this is friggin’ summer league! In a real NBA game he’ll be like a 140-pound high school running back who put on an NFL uniform and just sprinted smack dab into a snarling Ray Lewis. JaJuan either needs to put on 10 pounds or change positions and right now neither is happening.
Dionte Christmas (18 points, three rebounds) was solid across the board, despite having to play out of position for a good portion of the night after Kris Joseph got injured. It’s been said a thousand times; I really hope this kid gets a training camp invite, but if he’s smart he’ll go to a team other than the Celtics. He’ll have a much better shot at making the roster (and getting playing time) on another team.
I think Fab Melo’s jump shot is getting better but that doesn’t mean I want to see him take it. He only had two rebounds (one of which resulted in a put-back slam) and continues to pass the ball like it’s a hot potato. Melo (five points, two rebounds) continues to show flashes of his potential (which has resulted in me cringing every time he takes a charge), and his future looks bright if KG can help refine his game.
Jamar Smith (11 points, one assists) has never gone out of his way to draw attention to himself during summer league, but his stats have been rock solid. After paying special attention to him during last night’s game maybe that’s a good thing, I think he’s a virtual lock to make the Celtics’ training camp roster (it’s summer league, I’ll jump to as many conclusions as I like). Smith always seems to make the right play, he knows when to shoot and when to pass, and I never notice him for the wrong reason. His ability to blend in while steadily contributing is something that could lend itself well to the Celtics roster, so I’ll be driving the Jamar Smith bandwagon if anyone else would like to hop on board.
The Celtics have Wednesday off but they’ll be back Thursday at 6:30, facing off against the Sacramento Kings.
Thomas Robinson and The Jimmer, folks.