MILAN — Celtics forward Perry Jones is scheduled to fly to Dallas on Wednesday to attend a cousin’s funeral. He will miss the team’s game in Spain against Real Madrid on Thursday.
“Coach thought it would be good for me mentally to go home and go to the service so I could have a better mind-set going forward,” Jones said.
The Celtics have 16 players under guaranteed contracts and will need to trim that number to 15 before the regular season starts, and Jones might be the player with the most to prove. He said he understands that this is a tough time to miss a game.
“But family is the most important thing,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t want to go forward saying I should have done this or should have done that. Basketball will be here.”
Jones had 2 points and 2 rebounds in the Celtics’ 124-91 win over Olimpia Milano on Tuesday night. He said he was extremely close to his cousin who passed away, and that it was difficult to play with a heavy heart.
“It’d be tough for anybody,” he said. “That’s why they think it’d be good for me to get back. I can ease some of my stress and some of my pain and be able to see my family.”
Jones said he would be back at practice with the Celtics once they return from Madrid.
Celtics rookie R.J. Hunter said coach Brad Stevens told him he should look to establish himself by spacing the floor quickly when he enters a game.
On Tuesday, Hunter drilled his first shot — a 3-point attempt — from the right corner.
“I felt real comfortable,” Hunter said. “I think the scrimmage back home really helped, because that’s when I got all the jitters out. So when I came out here, it was natural.”
Hunter finished with 3 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes. Terry Rozier had 9 points and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes and Jordan Mickey added 7 points and 3 rebounds in just 7 minutes.
The Celtics were impressed by Olimpia Milano forward Alessandro Gentile, who was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft by the Houston Rockets. Gentile, 22, tallied a team-high 19 points. “He played well. He shot the ball well,” Celtics center Tyler Zeller said. “He’s got some very good shots that are tough to block, so I think he played a great game.” Added Stevens: “From our view, he was extremely difficult to play against.” . . . Celtics guard Evan Turner missed Tuesday night’s game because of a knee strain. Stevens said the injury is not believed to be serious and that Turner is day to day . . . Oliver Lafayette, who played in one game for the Celtics in the 2009-10 season, scored 5 points for Olimpia Milano.
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.