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Shorthanded Celtics eliminated in Vegas Summer League quarterfinals

Ding Yanyuhang (right) of the Dallas Mavericks — driving against the Celtics’ Scott Wood — was a crowd favorite at the Thomas and Mack Center. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS —With four starters on the bench with various injuries and their eighth game in 12 nights, the Celtics simply lacked energy and were eliminated from the Las Vegas Summer League in a 91-74 quarterfinal loss to the Mavericks Saturday night.

The Celtics sat Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Abdel Nader, and Ante Zizic and never led after midway in the first quarter. The absences allowed second-round picks Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird to get considerable playing time but both looked tired as the Mavericks dominated throughout.

In all, Boston finished 5-3 in the Utah and Las Vegas summer leagues and the organization walked away encouraged by the performances of not only Tatum, but Bird, and the development of Zizic and Semi Ojeleye, who is expected to make the roster.


The club moved on from point guard Demetrius Jackson, waiving him before his contract for next season became guaranteed. Allen, a defensive-minded guard from Arizona, got to play point guard extensively during the summer.

In his final three summer games, Allen averaged 5.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists Saturday.

“He’s very crafty with the ball,” summer league head coach Walter McCarty said. “He can get himself in the lane and make plays and finish strong as far as getting to the rim. He showed a lot of burst and played a lot of minutes and really pressure and dog the ball, which is really good, which he needs to do in order to play in this league and be effective.”

Zizic, who struggled with the game speed at the beginning of the summer league, said he became more comfortable and was pleased with how he fared. He will enter camp as one of the team’s only legitimate big men.


“For me, it was a good lesson for the beginning of NBA,” he said. “I started off slowly but at the end I had a couple of good games. I’m really happy with this experience. It’s a big difference between the game in the States and the game in Europe. I needed time to acclimate to this type of game.”

The Mavericks made 15 3-pointers and got 20 points from Yogi Ferrell as they played four players — Ferrell, Dennis Smith, Nicolas Brussino and Dorian Finney-Smith — who are expected to make the roster.

Rosco Allen, a power forward from Stanford, led the Celtics with 12 points and Terran Petteway and Scott Wood each added 10.

The Thomas and Mack Center crowd, filling up for the following Lakers-Nets game, began cheering each time Dallas forward Ding Yanyuhang got the ball in the second half. The Chinese Basketball Association Domestic MVP finished with 11 points in 20 minutes. The crowd roared after each basket and began chanting “MVP” when he attempted free throws.

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.