Ta­tum hits go-ahead shot as Celtics edge Fultz, 76ers

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - OR­LANDO:

Bos­ton’s Jayson Ta­tum opened the Utah Sum­mer League and his pro ca­reer with a go-ahead bas­ket to beat No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz and Philadel­phia.

The game in Salt Lake City was the most an­tic­i­pated con­test thus far, as sum­mer play heated up Mon­day with the Or­lando Pro Sum­mer League en­ter­ing its third day and the Utah Sum­mer League tip­ping get­ting started. The 24-team NBA Sum­mer League in Las Ve­gas starts on Fri­day. New York, Ok­la­homa City, Or­lando, Dal­las, In­di­ana and Mi­ami were in ac­tion in Or­lando on Mon­day. Bos­ton, Philadel­phia, Utah and San An­to­nio got go­ing in Salt Lake City later on Mon­day.

A look at some of the no­table ac­tion.


Ta­tum’s jumper and the Celtics’ en­su­ing stop of Fultz gave Bos­ton an 89-88 vic­tory. Fultz played well on both ends of the floor and showed why the 76ers took him with the top pick they ac­quired from Bos­ton. Fultz fin­ished with three blocks, in­clud­ing a weak­side swat of Kadeem Allen that had the crowd gasp­ing. He had 17 points on 6for-16 shoot­ing, in­clud­ing two 3-point­ers.

“Peo­ple have big ex­pec­ta­tions but, to me, it was just an­other day to play bas­ket­ball and do what I love,” Fultz said. “I love chasing down blocks and block­ing shots. On de­fense I’m al­ways go­ing to give ef­fort on both ends of the floor. That’s one thing that goes un­no­ticed is just how hard I play on both ends. I’m a great shot-block­ing point guard.”

Ta­tum was not over­shad­owed as the 6foot-8, 208-pounder showed the ver­sa­til­ity he’s known for and knocked down a pull-up jumper with 5.7 sec­onds left. Fultz’s shot was blocked on the other end to end the game. Ta­tum, the No. 3 pick, may have had the most awe-in­spir­ing play of the night with a thun­der­ing, one-hand tom­a­hawk dunk on Kaleb Tar­czewski. He posted 21 points, seven re­bounds, three as­sists and five steals.

“He kind of has this old soul,” Celtics coach Jerome Allen said. “This pro-like ap­proach, doesn’t get rat­tled, doesn’t show a lot of emo­tions. Just kind of plays at his pace like he’s been here be­fore.

“We can say it’s only Sum­mer League, but he just made plays.” While all eyes were on the two rook­ies, 2016 No. 3 over­all pick Jaylen Brown was hands down the best player on the floor and looked like he had no busi­ness play­ing Sum­mer League games. He fin­ished with 29 points. Brown has taken Ta­tum un­der his wing since he joined the team. “Jaylen can help him with a lot of things,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “They’ve been in the gym a lot to­gether. They’ve been work­ing out to­gether. I know Jaylen’s picked him up and taken him to the prac­tice fa­cil­ity a few times.”


In­di­ana Pac­ers first-round draft pick T. J. Leaf showed that his im­pres­sive de­but wasn’t a fluke by fol­low­ing that per­for­mance up with an even bet­ter sec­ond game in Or­lando. Leaf im­proved on Sun­day’s 12point de­but by scor­ing 19 points and grab­bing 10 re­bounds to help lead the Pac­ers to an 86-83 win over Mi­ami to move them to 3-0. The 6-foot-10 for­ward from UCLA, who missed the Sum­mer League opener on Satur­day to at­tend a fam­ily wed­ding, showed some ver­sa­til­ity with scor­ing on the perime­ter and in the paint while con­vert­ing 9 of 17 from the field in 28 min­utes.

Joe Young fin­ished with 17 points and six as­sists, while Jar­nell Stokes added 14 points and Chris John­son con­trib­uted 12. Mi­ami’s first-round pick Bam Ade­bayo led all scor­ers with 29 points and grabbed 11 re­bounds in nearly 32 min­utes.


The Dal­las Mav­er­icks found them­selves quickly in a 17-point hole against Or­lando dur­ing Mon­day’s game. They re­cov­ered in the sec­ond quar­ter and then sep­a­rated in the third on the way to an 86-76 win. Dal­las im­proved to 2-0. Guard Dwight Buy­cks led the Mav­er­icks with 20 points, while for­ward Bran­don Paul added 18.

No. 6 over­all pick Jonathan Isaac had eight points in the first quar­ter but hurt his hip on a col­li­sion in the sec­ond and didn’t re­turn in the sec­ond half. Point guard Mar­cus Ge­orges-Hunt, who was called up from the D-League by the Magic in April, con­trib­uted 20 points but he had lit­tle help.


Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina has missed the first three games with a knee in­jury. It’s un­clear whether the No. 8 over­all pick will par­tic­i­pate in Sum­mer League play. Knicks coach Jeff Hor­nacek did not talk to re­porters fol­low­ing the game. New York dropped to 0-3 af­ter Mon­day’s 99-87 loss to Ok­la­homa City.


Chants of “Gor­don Hay­ward!” broke out in the stands early in Salt Lake City, con­firm­ing that minds are on the Jazz All-Star. Hay­ward, an un­re­stricted free agent, met with the Jazz in San Diego on Mon­day, the Celtics on Sun­day and the Heat on Satur­day. Celtics pres­i­dent Danny Angie and Stevens were both in Salt Lake City to watch Sum­mer League.

Hay­ward is one of the mar­quee names in free agency this year and is ex­pected to com­mand a max­i­mum con­tract.


Jazz Sum­mer League coach Alex Jensen said Dante Exum needs to be heads and shoul­ders above the com­pe­ti­tion dur­ing the ses­sion as he en­ters his fourth year in the league. The 2014 No. 5 over­all pick has yet to find his groove in the NBA, par­tially due to a torn ACL that cost him all of 2015-16. No other lot­tery pick from the 2014 or 2015 is play­ing in Or­lando or Salt Lake City.—AP

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