LAS VEGAS — A sparkling performance this week in Salt Lake City was followed by a forgettable showing for the Celtics in their Las Vegas Summer League opener on Saturday.
Boston grinded offensively, going scoreless for numerous stretches and then were pushed around by the more energetic Bulls in a 71-62 loss at Cox Pavilion.
The highlight of the afternoon was a pair of 3-pointers from rookie Frenchman Guerschon Yabusele, who finished with 10 points, and the debut of second-year forward Jordan Mickey, who grabbed seven rebounds.
Third overall pick Jaylen Brown returned from a two-game absence with a hyperextended right knee and missed 10 of 13 shots, finishing with just 9 points. Brown tweaked the knee missing a two-handed dunk on a pretty crossover move but said he expects to play Sunday against the Phoenix Suns.
“It’s bothering me a little bit but [I’ve got to] shake some of the rust off and get back into the flow of the game,” Brown said. “I felt like I was stuck in the mud a little bit, missed some baskets going to my left hand because I was exploding off my right leg, but I’ve just got to get it stronger.”
The Celtics were outrebounded, 46-28, shot 32.8 percent and scored just 24 points in the second half. When the fouls began piling up in the fourth quarter, assistant coach Jerome Allen picked up a technical foul in disgust.
“I don’t think we competed as hard as we did last week [in Salt Lake City],” Las Vegas Summer League coach Jamie Young said. “We didn’t impact them defensively at all.”
Yabusele appears to be gaining comfort after a difficult summer league debut. He finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals, displaying his perimeter shooting ability with the pair of 3-pointers.
“I’m kind of undersized a little bit, so I can’t play passive, play with [aggression] and they can’t guard me,” said the 6-foot-8-inch, 275-pound Yabusele, who played power forward. “When I am on the perimeter, I got my 3-point shot or I can drive or kick the ball into the corner.”