Shorthanded Summer C's Struggle vs. Kings

LAS VEGAS – With potential basketball business rumored to be on the horizon, the Celtics Summer League squad found itself shorthanded Thursday afternoon, and Boston fell to Sacramento 91-82 at the Thomas And Mack Center.

JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Sean Williams were all late scratches minutes before the game began, fueling speculation about trade rumors surrounding the team.

“Right when we got here, Danny said certain guys couldn’t play,” Celtics coach Tyronn Lue said.

Lue was left with only nine players at his disposal, and while the C’s played the Kings even for a half, they struggled to score the ball and played very little defense to boot. Sacramento shot 47 percent from the field, while the Celtics shot a shade under 40 percent.

“I thought guys competed. I thought we played hard,” Lue said. “I didn’t think today we shared the ball, or moved the ball well. I thought we had a little head-dropping when things weren’t going our way.”

Dionte Christmas, who’s been impressive the last two weeks, continued that trend and led the Celtics with 19 points.

Fab Melo, who started in the front court, played just 13 minutes and did not score. He told reporters after the game that he “jammed” his left hand and his status remains day-to-day for the rest of the week. Kris Joseph, who’s been dealing with a sore knee, started and played 23 minutes, but wasn’t nearly as effective as he’s been in previous outings.

“We appreciate him trying to gut it out,” Lue said. “It’s just part of the game.”

The Celtics’ abysmal free throw shooting didn’t help the cause, as they went just 15-for-30 from the line. And they didn’t have an answer for Sacramento’s Thomas Robinson, who had 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Kings.

The Celtics will take Friday off (they won’t likely have enough bodies to practice anyway) and return to action on Saturday night, when they face the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. PST.