Gibson Sparks C's to Second Straight Win

VP, Digital Media
Dionte Christmas

Dionte Christmas may have been Boston's best all-around player over the first two days of the summer league.

Fernando Medina/Boston Celtics

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Boston Celtics advanced their 2012 Summer League record to 2-0 with an 82-73 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday evening. Jonathan Gibson, who hasn’t gained much media attention thus far in the summer league, was the star of the contest.

Gibson scored 15 points in the fourth quarter while shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. His total of 15 points was one more than the entire Nets team scored in the frame.

Gibson’s efforts streamlined an incredible turnaround for the Celtics in the fourth quarter. Boston trailed by seven points at the end of three quarters but outscored the Nets by 16 points in the final period. Gibson’s 15 points were a big reason why, but he also had some help.

The rest of Boston’s youngsters turned up their aggressiveness in the fourth quarter and it paid off in the form of trips to the free-throw line. The Celtics attempted 14 free throws in the fourth quarter alone and cashed in on 10 of them. The team had totaled just nine free throws in the first three quarters combined.

The fourth-quarter comeback was necessary due to Boston’s offensive struggles in the second period. The C’s simply could not put the ball through the basket, which allowed the Nets to get out in transition and rack up plenty of easy points. Brooklyn outscored Boston 27-7 in the second quarter, giving the Nets a 45-31 lead at halftime.

The Celtics’ struggles in the second quarter put them in a large hole, but luckily they were able to crawl out of it quickly. A balanced offensive attack, led by eight points from Jamar Smith, led Boston to a 21-point third quarter, good for three-times the amount of points the team accumulated in the pervious stanza. While Smith scored the most points in the frame, Dionte Christmas also excelled at both ends and Kris Joseph dropped in five points. Their performances helped swing momentum in the Celtics’ favor as the fourth quarter arrived.

Gibson took the reigns from there and brought the Celtics to the finish line for their second victory in as many days. He finished the contest with a game-high 17 points and shot 5-of-7 from the field, including a 3-of-5 showing from downtown.

Boston’s staff must also be excited about what they saw from the rest of the roster. E’Twaun Moore had another solid game with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jared Sullinger, who was in the starting lineup for the first time, grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds while he battled through a tough shooting night. And for the second consecutive game, Christmas delivered in all three major categories, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds and a game-high five assists.

Brooklyn, which had three players in its starting lineup who have played significant minutes in the NBA, struggled to overcome the Celtics’ defense. Al Thornton (16 points), MarShon Brooks (13 points) and Adam Morrison (10 points) all had decent games, but the Nets shot just 38.7 percent as a team and committed 20 turnovers.

The Celtics will have a quick turnaround and return to the court at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning to take on the Indiana Pacers. Brooklyn, meanwhile, will face off against the Philadelphia 76ers at 3 p.m.