The Celtics kicked off Summer League play with a 85-77 victory over the Heat Saturday in Orlando.

The game featured 22 lead changes and 12 ties before a 25-13 Boston run to close out the contest helped the Celtics seal the victory.

Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 20 points and eight rebounds. (AP)

Kelly Olynyk led Boston with 20 points and eight boards. (AP)

The Celtics kicked off Summer League play with a 85-77 victory over the Heat Saturday in Orlando.

The game featured 22 lead changes and 12 ties before a 25-13 Boston run to close out the contest helped the Celtics seal the victory.

Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 20 points (8-of-17 shooting) and eight rebounds while forward Mike Moser contributed 17 points (6-of-11) in 24 minutes off the bench.

Celtics rookie guard and sixth pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Marcus Smart, struggled from the field (2-of-8), but made his presence felt across the stat sheet, finishing the day with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and five steals.

Phil Pressey was solid as the team’€™s starting point guard, scoring nine points (3-of-9) while dishing out seven assists. Pressey also impressed many with a nasty crossover move on Miami rookie point guard Shabazz Napier.

Forward James Ennis led the Heat with 17 points (5-of-11) and eight boards. It was a rough debut for Napier, who scored 12 points, but off a horrible 20 percent shooting percentage from the field (3-of-15) while recording just two assists and eight turnovers.

Celtics rookie guard James Young, taken with the 17th overall pick of the 2014 draft, did not play in Saturday’€™s game for precautionary reasons after injuring his neck in a car accident a few weeks ago.

Boston’€™s next Summer League matchup will be on July 7, as the Celtics take on the Indiana Pacers.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

WALTHAM –€“ The Celtics held their final practice in Waltham on Thursday before heading down to Orlando for the Summer League.

With such a young roster that includes two big name rookies, the Summer League is going to carry significantly more weight for Boston than in past years. Marcus Smart is considered the most exciting talent that everyone is expected have their eyes on. Smart is just excited to get his first taste of the NBA; even if it’€™s just Summer League action.

WALTHAM –€“ The Celtics held their final practice in Waltham on Thursday before heading down to Orlando for the Summer League.

With such a young roster that includes two big name rookies, the Summer League is going to carry significantly more weight for Boston than in past years. Marcus Smart is considered the most exciting talent that everyone is expected have their eyes on. Smart is just excited to get his first taste of the NBA; even if it’€™s just Summer League action.

“€œIt’€™s still going to be a big deal because it is my first game,” Smart told media members before practice started.

Smart expects his Celtics squad to fare well when they take the court at the Amway Center practice floor in Orlando.

“€œActually, we’€™ve come pretty far,”€ said Smart of his team’€™s progress over the last three days. “€œ[We'€™ve] got all these new guys in, [Coach Jay Larranaga is] putting in some new plays, trying to learn some things and playing with different type of style. We’€™ve come a long way.”

We know Smart is ready to begin polishing his game in Orlando before his first season as a professional begins, however, fellow rookie James Young is in a different boat. Young is still recovering from a neck injury suffered in a June car accident.

“€œI haven’€™t heard from Ed [Lacerte], or Danny [Ainge] or Brad [Stevens] on what the plan is for James,” Larranaga told reporters.

Young’€™s status, in terms of playing in Orlando, sounds as if it’€™s up in the air at the moment.

“€œHe did some more stuff yesterday as far as non-contact on the bike,”€ Stevens added on Young. “€œI think he’€™ll be continuing to do some of that stuff today, but I haven’€™t been given a timeline on it. And, obviously, he was in the car accident a couple weeks ago. It’€™s Summer League, we want to be very, very smart about this with him. He’€™s anxious to play, he’€™s antsy, he wants to [play]. But at the same time, I want to be cognizant of the big picture here.”

So is Young’€™s neck a short-term injury?

“Yeah,”€ Stevens immediately responded. “No question.”

Although the team is going to play it safe with Young, he has still not been ruled out, leaving a chance he will make his debut sometime in Orlando.

The focus will not solely be on the recent draft picks, though. Second-year players Kelly Olynyk and Phil Pressey are expected to play big roles on the Summer League team, while developing their individual games.

“The new guys are just trying to get everything down,”€ Stevens elaborated. “[The second-year] guys are trying to continue to enhance their play within the system and within their role. And getting better within that role, hopefully expanding that role. The thing about all of our young guys is they’€™ve worked. They work at a great pace. That’€™s the good part about it.”

Despite the Celtics‘€™ roster having some of the bigger names in the Summer League this year, it’€™s still a busy schedule. That means minutes are going to be available to everyone.

“€œI’€™m pretty comfortable just giving the minutes to players,”€ Larranaga said of his rotation. “€œIt’€™s not real difficult. You just play and substitute guys in and try and get everyone a rest when they need it. We play five games in seven days, so fatigue will be a factor for certain players. Everyone has to be ready to step up when they get their opportunity.”

In the end, what are the Celtics looking to accomplish in Summer League?

“€œStarting to develop the habits that will make us successful during the year,”€ a straightforward Larranaga responded. “That’€™s offensively, that’€™s defensively, that’€™s approach to the game, approach to practice. I think the players have done a great job, so far, of that.

“And I would like to win,” Larranaga said of goals to be reached.

Coach Larranaga and the Celtics will get their first shot at a victory on Saturday, July 5 against the Heat. The game can be seen on NBATV at 11 A.M.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

WALTHAM — Marcus Smart is beginning to feel comfortable in Boston. Well, at least in the gym that is.

‘€œDefinitely,’€ Smart responded after being asked if the practice facility was beginning to feel like his own gym. ‘€œI’€™m knocking down shots on those rims now,’€ said Smart, while gesturing over to the nearest hoop, ‘€œso that’€™s good. I’€™m getting a little bit more comfortable day-by-day.’€

Outside of workouts and practices is a whole different story for Smart.

‘€œNah,’€ Smart said, while shaking his head when asked if he had gotten a chance to explore Boston yet. ‘€œEspecially with the two-a-days ‘€“ we finish around seven [o'€™clock] ‘€“ you’€™re pretty much tired. You get your workout and go to bed and start it all over again.’€

Smart was expecting the NBA lifestyle to be this way, though.

‘€œThis is your life. This is your job,’€ Smart proclaimed. ‘€œIf you want to be the best, you have to put in the work.’€

Avery Bradley has put in the work over his young NBA career. The 23-year-old was rewarded Wednesday with a 4-year deal worth $32 million. Bradley, like Rajon Rondo, is a player Smart can relate to.

‘€œHe reminds me a little bit of [me],” Smart said. “You know, physical, athletic, can defend the one, the two, or the three spot. [I can] do whatever coach [Brad Stevens] asks me to do.’€

The Bradley defensive comparisons are not farfetched. Jared Sullinger admitted that he was surprised by Smart’€™s abilities on that side of the ball. That’€™s because defense has always been a part of Smart’€™s game.

‘€œThat was a big pride,’€ Smart said, speaking on his defense in college. ‘€œThat’€™s what we wanted to do. Make our identity as a defensive team, and we tried. We had some things that happened, but we were still one of the best defensive teams in college. It was a big pride of mine and I just wanted to make sure I could carry that over at the next level.’€

Needless to say, Smart is excited to have the chance to team up with Bradley in the backcourt.

‘€œAs a competitor, you want somebody who’€™s going to be out there competing with you that you know will have your back. Not only on the offensive end, but on the defensive end. Avery does that. He holds himself and everybody else accountable.’€

Smart may be starting to feel at home in the practice facilities, but he is still waiting to have that feeling about his new city.

‘€œNo, not at all;’€ Smart revealed when asked if any fans had recognized him yet in public. ‘€œLike I said, I haven’€™t really been out outside of the gym.’€

Knowing Smart’€™s work ethic, it comes as no shock that he’€™s hardly left the gym. But with expectations as high as they are for him, Smart can expect to be recognized soon. Even if he just leaves the gym for a second.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

WALTHAM — Jared Sullinger got the message loud and clear at the end of the season from Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens. If the big man from Ohio State was going to take that next step in what many – including Celtics‘ brass – see as a successful NBA future, he needs to be in better shape.

Sullinger was the only player with two years of NBA experience in attendance Wednesday at the Celtics training facility, as the team continued its two-a-day workouts in advance of this Saturday’s summer league opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando.

“I think conditioning was a big factor,” said Sullinger, listed by the Celtics at 260 pounds. “Late in the game, I’d get tired and stop doing the things that I normally do in the first quarter. I think conditioning will kind of help that out.

“[Joining the summer practice is] another opportunity to play against other guys and kind of push myself to another limit, work on things that I don’€™t normally work on by myself and then I’€™ve got bodies out here. Going against bodies, pushing myself through contact. So everything is kind of helping me with conditioning.”

But to the 6-foot-9 Sullinger, being in good basketball condition has not so much to do with his weight as his endurance.

“It’s more shape,” Sullinger said. “How long I can run, how fast I can run. Pretty much how long I can stay on the court without passing out. I’€™m working on that every day.”

Sullinger, still just 22, averaged 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game last season. Coming off season ending back surgery in his rookie season, he played 74 games, starting 44.

Of course, there is the possibility that the Celtics deal him. If they do, they want to get maximum return. Sullinger isn’t worried about what the front office does or doesn’t do. He’s focused on improving a team that suffered through 25 wins, the worst season of his college or pro career.

“I’€™m not a [general manager]; I’€™m a player,” Sullinger said. “But regardless of what [president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge], [director of player personnel] Austin [Ainge] or [assistant general manager Mike] Zarren do, I’€™m full support. My job is to play, their job is to manage. As long as I don’€™t try to manage and play, I think the Boston Celtics will be a pretty [good] team in the East.”

He may not be in the front office but there is one role he feels he can serve if he sticks around in Boston, and it provided another reason beyond conditioning for him to be in attendance Wednesday – leadership. One of those looking up to Sullinger while working out with him Wednesday was Kelly Olynyk.

“Honestly, yes, there’s things I can help Kelly out with, if I see something he’s not doing well,” said Sullinger, who will not be making the trip to Orlando for the Summer League. “We kind of police ourselves so he helps me out at the same time I help him out. It’s kind of two-way street. It gives me an opportunity to kind of help out the younger guys and kind of test my IQ and see if I really know basketball the way I say I do.”


As for any trade rumors involving Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Sullinger said it just comes with the territory.

“Danny is just doing his job,” said Sullinger. “You’€™ve got to understand that. Danny is doing his job. We had a down year last year and he’€™s just trying to be as competitive as possible in the east. He’€™s just doing his job.”

Sullinger said he wasn’t aware of teammate Avery Bradley re-signing for four years and $32 million, adding, “if that’s true, I’m happy he’s back.” Neither Danny Ainge or Brad Stevens are permitted to speak about any player transactions during a moratorium that continues through July 10.

Sullinger did get a chance to see first-round draft pick Marcus Smart up close and personal on Wednesday.

“Marcus’€™ last name pretty much says it all about him on the basketball court. He’€™s smart. He plays well,” said Sullinger. “He’€™s a very, very tough defender. That was real shocking to me. I really didn’€™t watch a lot of college basketball, but you see a lot of highlights on SportsCenter. He was always up there, but they never said anything about his defensive ability. That’€™s one thing about him. And James, watching him in the national championship in the tournament, he was one of the key guys for the Kentucky team. He’€™s really long and really athletic. That really helps us out.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WALTHAM — It appears more likely that first-round draft pick James Young won’t be making his Celtics summer debut this weekend in Orlando as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in a car accident in early June.

Young did not take part in the Wednesday morning session at the club’s practice facility, the third straight absence as the team plays it cautious with the 18-year-old swingman.

WALTHAM — It appears more likely that first-round draft pick James Young won’t be making his Celtics summer debut this weekend in Orlando as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in a car accident in early June.

Young did not take part in the Wednesday morning session at the club’s practice facility, the third straight absence as the team plays it cautious with the 18-year-old swingman.

“James observed practice, did the stationary bike a little bit and just watched and participated from the sidelines,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who will be coaching the Celtics‘ summer league team for five games starting this Saturday in Orlando.

As was the case Tuesday, when the rookie missed both workout sessions, Larranaga deferred all questions about his availability to head coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, neither of whom spoke to the media on Wednesday.

The car accident forced Young to miss several pre-draft workouts for teams leading up to the June 26 draft. There is a belief that uncertainty about Young’s medical status and his inability to work out allowed him to fall to No. 17, where the Celtics selected the former Kentucky Wildcats star.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
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Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Avery Bradley‘s dip into the waters of restricted free agency didn’t last long.

Bradley, who was tended a qualifying offer of $3.6 million for next season on Monday, has re-signed with the Celtics on a long-term deal just one day into restricted free agency, according to a report from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett.