UNCASVILLE, Conn. – You don’t need a mathematics degree from MIT to realize that the numbers simply don’t look good for Jordan Mickey in terms of playing time this season.
So every opportunity he gets to play decent minutes, the second-year big man has to make the most of them.
That’s exactly what happened on Saturday in Boston’s 104-86 win over Charlotte.
Mickey played nearly 22 minutes on Saturday and scored a game-high 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go along with six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“It was great for me to be out there, get a little time,” Mickey said. “It’s always a great opportunity when you get a chance to go out there and play and just play your game.”
In the first two preseason games, Jordan played a total of 19 minutes which for any player young or old, makes it difficult to make an impact of any significance.
“Coming from the position I’m in, you have to always be ready,” Mickey said. “You can’t take three or four minutes to get warmed up. That might be all you have. You have to be prepared no matter when your name is called when you’re on the bench and be watching the game and just be warm.”
Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from today’s game.
No matter the role, Zeller seems to always be ready to play when given an opportunity to get on the floor. In the starting lineup on Saturday, Zeller scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half and finished 5-for-7 from the field. He also managed to dish out three assists and grab three rebounds.
While he’s not necessarily a lock to be with the Celtics at the start of the regular season, he’s about as close to that as any of Boston’s young players. And for good measure, performances like the one he put on Saturday night remind us all why the Celtics are so high on this guy. He had 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go with six rebounds for what was easily his best game to date here in the preseason.
You had to believe that Hunter would have a breakout performance in the preseason at some point. He finished with 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting, but more than anything else he looked confident while on the floor. In the first two preseason games, there was a hint of hesitation after his first shot didn’t go down or he got beat defensively. But on Saturday, he played through any struggles he had and in the end, had a really strong night. And while he is viewed as a shooter, he showed his ability to get others involved as he dished out five assists which was tops among Celtics reserves.
He only played seven minutes after getting whacked in the mouth by Christian Wood with an elbow in the second quarter, but Rozier’s presence remains undeniable. Rozier, who finished with four points, did not return to the game after getting seven stitches to close the cut. But the incident led to free throws for R.J. Hunter which seemed to jumpstart the Celtics’ second quarter run that would prove to be too much for the Hornets to overcome.
The more I watch him play, it becomes an even bigger head-scratcher as to how he slipped into the middle of the second round. At (maybe) 6-1 he’s not a big guard, but he does have that intangible quality of making big shots like the 3-pointer he drained at the end of the third quarter. He played 15 minutes on Saturday, tallying 9 points on 3-for-6 shooting overall and 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
Celtics fans will remember him for the elbow (and the flagrant foul he was called for) he delivered that decked Terry Rozier, but Wood did a lot of nice things for the Hornets on Saturday. He had a team-high 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting to go with seven rebounds.
He finished with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, but this former lottery pick was a non-factor all game. The only reason he tallied a double-double was because he played just under 34 minutes, a full 7-plus minutes more than the player with the next highest total (Jaylen Brown, 26 minutes, 32 seconds).