Celtics

Summer League takeaways: Jabari Bird impresses once again

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Summer League takeaways: Jabari Bird impresses once again

LAS VEGAS – Winning is always the goal when it comes to playing in the NBA, but Summer League results are more about making progress than making game-winning shots.

The Celtics lost 82-69 to the Denver Nuggets, but there were indeed some positives they could take away from the experience.

Here are three takeaways from Boston’s matchup against the Nuggets.

Jabari Bird

For the second time in as many nights, Jabari Bird showcased what we’ve seen in spurts – athleticism and tremendous versatility. In addition to defending multiple positions, Bird’s ability to score attacking the rim from various points including some highlight-quality above-the-rim plays, speaks to the promise that the Celtics are hoping to tap into this season. For the game, Bird finished with 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting along with three rebounds and an assist.

Three-point shooting

Whether it’s the summer league version of the Celtics or the ones we’ll see in the regular season, this team will have nights when the 3-point shot won’t fall. That’s exactly what we saw on Saturday as the Celtics opened by missing 13 of their first 14 three-point attempts. The struggles didn’t let up as time went on, with the Celtics finishing a dismal 22.2 percent (4-for-18) shooting from 3-point range.

Transition Defense

The Celtics had too many empty possessions where they didn’t get back quick enough on defense. And to the Nuggets credit, they made the Celtics pay for this most of the time. The Nuggets would finish the game with 16 fast-break points compared to just six for Boston.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Breakfast Pod: Will Kyrie Irving reunite with LeBron James next season?

Breakfast Pod: Will Kyrie Irving reunite with LeBron James next season?

Kyrie Irving in a Lakers uniform? LeBron likes it, but will it happen? Also, who are the best players in the Stanley Cup Final? Check out our Bruins-Blues draft.

1:06 - A. Sherrod Blakley joins the BST crew to explain why he doesn't buy into the Kyrie/LeBron reunion rumors.

8:23 - Joe Haggerty and Bob Beers look ahead to the Bruins-Blues matchup by choosing their top 5 players in a Stanley Cup Final player draft.

13:37 - A. Sherrod Blakley and Danielle Trotta discuss if Kawhi Leonard is the best available NBA player this offseason and if the Celtics would have any shot at landing him.

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Kyrie Irving to Lakers? Jackie MacMullan 'very strongly' believes that won't happen

Kyrie Irving to Lakers? Jackie MacMullan 'very strongly' believes that won't happen

We're more than a month away from the beginning of NBA free agency, but the Kyrie Irving-to-L.A. rumors are swirling.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst added some fuel to that fire by saying he believes Irving is "considering" the Lakers as a destination. LeBron James "liking" a photoshopped image of Irving in a Lakers uniform added even more.

But despite all the talk of Irving possibly reuniting with his ex-teammate, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan said on the latest Hoops Collective Podcast she doesn't see it happening.

“I did a little digging around and my feeling is very strongly that while LeBron and Kyrie have kissed and made up, that Kyrie is not going there,” MacMullan said. “He’s just not. I just don’t believe it. And I think people close to him just don’t believe it either.”

MacMullan's comments echo her ESPN colleague Stephen A. Smith's dismissal of the rumors from earlier this month.

We'll have to wait a while before the Irving rumors come to an end. NBA free agency begins on June 30.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.