Yabusele, Zizic start off stong overseas


Yabusele, Zizic start off stong overseas

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics turned heads on draft night when they used two of their three, first-round picks on international players that they ultimately decided to stash overseas for at least a year.

There’s no way of telling how they will fare if they in fact eventually make their way stateside to the NBA, but both Guershon Yabusele and Ante Zizic had promising debuts over the weekend.

Zizic, selected by Boston with the 23rd overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, had 17 points, 7 rebounds and two blocked shots on Sunday playing with Croatian club team KK Cibona.

And on Sunday, Yabusele, selected with the 16th overall selection in last June’s draft, had a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds while playing with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanghai Sharks.

The Sharks are owned by former NBA legend and Hall of Fame center Yao Ming whose former NBA team, Houston, thrashed his Sharks squad 131-94.

The Celtics were leaning towards stashing the 6-foot-11 Zizic leading up to the draft, but Yabusele was a much tougher call for them to make.

The burly Frenchman had a solid showing with the Celtics’ summer league team in Salt Lake City.

After a rough first game, Yabusele bounced back with a near double-double of 13 points and eight rebounds in helping Boston knock off the host team Utah, 89-82.

Assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry said Yabusele’s struggles in the first game had more to do with not being put in the right position to do well.

“I got Twitter, too,” Shrewsberry, who coached the summer league team in Salt Lake City, told reporters at that time. “I read it. People say he (Yabusele) didn’t play very well the first game. Part of that is, we didn’t call his number too much. It’s not because of him.”

Yabusele had a similar situation play out in the loss to Houston on Sunday, as teammate and former first round pick Jimmer Fredette kept chucking one shot after another while playing some EZ Pass defense at the other end of the floor.

A 6-8, 270-pound forward with surprisingly nimble feet, Yabusele did most of his scoring damage in the second half when the game was well out of reach and the players on the floor for the Rockets had little success in trying to limit him.

It wasn’t all that surprising a performance for Yabusele who will be given serious consideration as a player the Celtics will bring over next season.

Having him in camp this season didn’t make a lot of sense for all involved.

The Celtics want to see him develop and that just wasn’t going to happen on a roster that doesn’t have a clear path towards playing time now. And to have him in the Development League all season, that didn’t make a lot of sense either.

By having him play overseas in the CBA, Yabusele will get a chance to continue enhancing his game as the Celtics look on to monitor his progress.

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.



Morris caps off improbable comeback vs Thunder

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Morris caps off improbable comeback vs Thunder

BOSTON – Marcus Morris has never been one to lack for confidence, regardless of time or score.

So with the game on the line, Morris … hesitated?

Uh, not exactly. 

It was a pump fake to create just enough space to launch what would become a game-winning 3-pointer that lifted Boston to an improbable 100-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Morris was asked about his uh, hesitation before draining the first game-winner of his NBA career.

“Hesitation? I don’t even know how to spell that (bleep),” quipped Morris. 

Morris arrived in Boston as a two-way talent via trade from Detroit, whose strength was more at the defensive end of the floor.

But with Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) both out, Morris has emerged as one of the team’s primary scoring options. 

“He’s another huge part of our team moving forward,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “If you’re counting on 13 or 14 (points) from him, now we’re counting on 16 or 18.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 100-99 win over Oklahoma City. 


Marcus Morris: Even before he drained the game-winning basket, Morris was having a good night for the Celtics. He finished with 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting to go with four rebounds and one steal.

Jayson Tatum: He has looked to score more now with key players sidelined, and the Celtics will be better for this long-term. Tatum had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Boston. And being 20 years and 17 days old, he became the youngest player in franchise history to have a game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, bettering the previous record set by Antoine Walker (20 years and 165 days old on Jan. 24, 1997.

Russell Westbrook: A normal night for Russell Westbrook is a career game-like performance for most NBA players. He led the Thunder with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. 

Paul George: Boston had problems limiting Paul George most of the game. For the second time in as many games this season against Boston, George tallied a double-double. He had 24 points on 9-for-19 shooting along with a game-high 13 rebounds.



Greg Monroe: On those stretches when the Celtics are thirsty for points, he has been the ultimate thirst-quencher off the bench. He led all reserves on Tuesday with 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.

Shane Larkin: He continues to make the most of his increased role with Kyrie Irving out. Larkin had 13 points off the bench on 5-for-9 shooting with four rebounds.



Carmelo Anthony: He had 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting, but Melo’s impact was minimal at best. What he will be remembered for from this game was the two free throw misses with 8.4 seconds and the Thunder up two points, that set up the Celtics’ Marcus Morris for his game-winning 3-pointer.

Al Horford: This was yet another stinker in terms of shooting the ball, for Al Horford. Not only did he miss shots that he knows he should have knocked down, but many came at a time when the Celtics needed a big shot to get some semblance of control. Usually it’s Horford whose play lifts Boston to victory. But on this night, it was his teammates who bailed him out because if Boston lost this game you can bet there would have been plenty of eyes that would gloss past his seven assists and six rebounds, and instead lock on to his five points (on 2-for-9 shooting) and four turnovers.