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The Boston Globe

Sports

Celtics Notebook

Kris Joseph, Fab Melo continue to make strides for Celtics

LAS VEGAS — Kris Joseph (knee) and Fab Melo (hand) returned to the Celtics’ lineup for an 88-87 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Las Vegas Summer League action Saturday night. The Celtics, 6-3 overall this summer, conclude league play with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

Joseph, who scored 11 points Saturday, has been part of an effective starting lineup.

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“He’s been very good,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “He can rebound the ball, shoot, defend. I’m surprised he went in the second round. I think he’s a first-round player.”

Melo has been impressive at times.

“I think Fab is getting more comfortable,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “We need him to be more consistent and he will in time. I think the next few months are going to be big for him and his development. He has to put time in in the weight room and learning the system, defensively.”

Asked about a timetable for Melo, Ainge replied: “I’m not sure. He does have an upside, for sure. What I like is he blocks shots and takes charges – very few people do that and he does that already. He doesn’t have to learn to do that and I think that’s a quality – he’ll sacrifice his body.

“He just has to learn our pick-and-roll coverage and he’ll be a terrific defender. People think it’s easy just picking something up but, I mean, you’ve got to be able to see it and react to it in the game. Fab played a lot of zone in college and so he’s good at the rim and good at taking charges — so now he’s got to take it to another level.”

Smith signs

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Guard Jamar Smith signed a contract and played Saturday night. Smith, 25, led the Maine Red Claws of the D-League with 105 3-pointers in 2010-11, and played for BK Prostejov in the Czech Republic last season.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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