Rapid Reaction: Celtics 87, Hawks 69
July, 16, 2012
By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesCeltics rookie center Fab Melo at work in the Las Vegas Summer League.LAS VEGAS -- Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks 87-69 to kick off their stint in the Las Vegas Summer League:
HOW THE GAME WAS WON
Jared Sullinger paced a balanced offensive attack for the Celtics, who saw five players score in double figures. Sullinger finished with a team-high 14 points (matched by Kris Joseph) to go along with seven rebounds, while Jonathan Gibson added 11 points. E'Twaun Moore flirted with double figures, scoring nine points on 4-of-10 shooting.
SULLINGER STILL ASSERTIVE
Sullinger continued to be one of the Celtics' most consistent sources of offense this summer, as he used a combination of face-up moves and back-to-the-basket maneuvers to accrue his 14 points. While Sullinger might lack significant height for his position, he reinforced that he isn't afraid to bowl his way through people to get to the free throw line. Sullinger's ability to still get his shot off after absorbing contact should translate to numerous free throw attempts going forward. Sullinger scored Boston's first six points of the third quarter, helping the Celtics establish a sizable double-digit lead the Hawks couldn't overcome.
MELO SHOWING STRIDES
Fab Melo came through with arguably his finest half of the summer, putting in seven points and four rebounds over the opening 20 minutes. Most noticeable was Melo's level of engagement, as he was incredibly active on both ends of the floor. Continuing to show a solid passing ability, he fed Sean Williams a slick touch pass for a dunk late in the first. On defense, he further exhibited his willingness to take charges by drawing an offensive foul on the Hawks' Mike Scott. Melo's second half was shakier, as his inconsistent label came to fruition thanks to a host of slow defensive rotations. But overall, it was a largely productive outing for Boston's first-round pick.
JOSEPH STAYS AGGRESSIVE
Second-round pick Joseph continued his productive play, tying Sullinger with a team-high 14 points. It was evident Joseph came into Monday's game looking for his shot, as he tied Sullinger and Moore for most field goal attempts with 10. Not only did he bury a host of jump shots and convert all five of his free throws, he came through with a critical 3-point play late in the fourth quarter off of a feed from JaJuan Johnson.
GIBSON HEATS UP
Gibson put in 11 points in just less than 12 minutes, coming through with arguably his most efficient performance of the summer. Taking over at the point guard spot for much of the second half, Gibson wasn't afraid to fire away and he managed to connect on all three of his 3-point field goal attempts.