Moore, Christmas Lead Celtics Past Bulls
LAS VEGAS – Break up the Summer Celtics!
With another impressive performance, the Celtics improved to 6-1 with a 79-74 victory over the Chicago Bulls Tuesday Night at Cox Pavilion.
E’Twaun Moore and Dionte Christmas did most of the damage for the Celtics, as they continued their impressive summer league play. Moore looked incredibly comfortable and confident, even blocking a shot early third quarter.
Moore hit his first four shots to start the game, and connected on 10 of his 19 field goal attempts en route to his 25-point, seven-rebound night.
“I just hit a few early, so I felt like, why not keep shooting? I felt good. I felt aggressive,” Moore said. “I haven’t really played for like seven months consistently, so it’s (good) to get a chance to get in game flow.”
Christmas continued to raise eyebrows by adding 18 points of his own while playing strong defense on the other end.
Yeah, defense. That’s right.
Summer league games are typically notorious for an emphasis on guard play, and little to no defense, but Tyronn Lue and company apparently never got the memo. They held the Bulls to 32.4 percent shooting (11-of-34) in the first half, and were it not for 12 trips to the free-throw line, the Bulls may have screamed “uncle” at intermission.
“I thought our defense was great. I think going under with pick-and-rolls against Teague really threw them off a bit,” said Lue, who could be heard shouting “under” almost every time Chicago set up a pick-and-roll.
Speaking of rolls, the C’s closed the first half on an incredible 21-2 run over the last 6:21 of the second quarter, staking them to a 53-32 lead at the break. The Bulls did chip away at what was once a 23-point Celtics lead over the next 18 minutes of play, making things interesting the final two minutes.
“We kept our composure and were able to finish the game. Usually teams crack in that position, but guys stuck with it, we grinded it out, and hit the shots we had to to win the game,” Lue said.
With another win, the Celtics are 2-0 in the NBA Summer League (6-1 includes play in the Orlando Pro Summer League) and are playing at a higher level than many of their competitors.
Sure, summer league is more about developing players than it is about wins and losses, but the Celtics seem fixed on doing both. There’s nothing wrong with that.