Stars, studs and duds: Smart dominant defensively


LAS VEGAS – From the opening tip, there was a different vibe to the Boston Celtics.

Maybe it was the energy-sapping altitude of Utah no longer being an issue.

Then again, it could be the players are starting to get a better feel for how to not just play, but win with one another.

Whatever the reason, the outcome – an 85-76 win over Portland – is something the Celtics will gladly take as they try to continue on their winning ways in the Las Vegas Summer League.

“We played well offensively the last two games, or at least better,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “The bar wasn’t real high after the first two. Defensively we had some lapses but held on to win. It was a fun game.”

A game that was filled with impressive performances by both teams.

With that, here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game.



He led all scorers with 19 points, but seems to be doing a better job of exerting his will defensively on games. There were several multiple effort plays made by Smart defensively that spoke to his dominance on that side of the ball even more so than his game-high three steals.


The former standout for the Maine Red Claws of the Development League (the Celtics D-League affiliate) has been a solid performer in the limited minutes he has had in the NBA. One of his strengths in the D-League was racking up triple-doubles and he nearly had one on Saturday before finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.



He remains Boston’s most active player around the rim, providing scoring, solid defense and rim protection that all contributed to his double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds along with a game-high three blocked shots. Of course this is summer league and success here doesn’t necessarily translate to real NBA games. But for a second-round pick, Mickey’s play has been extremely encouraging.


It’s unlikely he’ll find a spot with the Boston Celtics, but Holmes is certainly doing the kind of things that will help put him on the radar of other NBA teams to consider bringing him in for training camp this fall. On Saturday, he had 15 points for the Celtics along with seven rebounds and two blocked shots.



It’s never a good sign when half of a team’s total assists come in the first quarter of play. Boston’s 10 field goals made in the first came on four assists. The Celtics tallied just four more assists in the final three quarters to finish with eight assists on 24 made field goals.

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