Denver Nuggets 82, Boston Celtics 107: Three takeaways from second 2021 Summer League game

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

The Nuggets got some reinforcements, but it wasn’t enough as they suffered a 107-82 defeat to the Boston Celtics in their second Summer League contest.

Bol Bol continued his strong play in this tournament, racking up 26 points, nine boards, and two blocks in Denver’s loss. Aaron Nesmith was dominant for the Celtics, hitting 7 of 9 threes en route to a 33-point and seven-rebound performance.

Bones Hyland, Zeke Nnaji, and Tariq Black were among the players who were cleared to play in Tuesday’s contest after going through health and safety protocols. With the group arriving in Las Vegas Tuesday, the lack of chemistry was evident on both ends of the court. Still, there were some strong individual plays throughout the contest.

The Nuggets will be searching for their first win of the 2021 Summer League when they play the Suns Thursday (8 p.m. MT, NBA TV).

Here are the takeaways:

Bones makes Summer League debut

Hyland landed in Las Vegas just hours before tip-off. He got to work quickly, showcasing why the Nuggets selected him with the No. 26 pick of this year’s draft.

The guard got the start and immediately embraced being a playmaker for the Nuggets, dropping seven assists to three turnovers and adding 16 points. He appeared to have great chemistry throughout the night with Bol, tossing up several eye-popping assists to the center.

The 20-year-old showed some impressive handles and was able to penetrate effectively, drawing five trips to the line. While the rookie will need to work on his defense and hitting more shots from downtown (he connected on 2-of-7 on threes), it was a solid first outing all considered.

Three point defending remains an issue

Less than 48 hours after allowing Miami to hit 13 threes on almost 40 percent shooting, the Nuggets conceded another 15 to Boston – with their opponents hitting at 46.9 percent. A lot of the issues are down to a lack of practice time with the current group, but opponents aren’t going to be sympathetic.

The team will also need to hit the three if it wants to secure a win against Phoenix Thursday. Denver has hit just 14 threes out of 55 attempts.

With more practice, hopefully, there will be an improvement on both ends.

Bol takes another step forward

Bol’s play was a bright spot in the opener and he took another step forward Tuesday. The 21-year-old was arguably the best player on the court and was dominant at times on both ends.

What was most impressive about Bol’s scoring output was his continued reliance on getting to the free-throw line – racking up another 10 attempts. He also only missed four of his 12 shots and had zero turnovers. His speed stood out as he was able to finish on several nice feeds from Hyland. It was another strong outing for the former high school standout.

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