Celtics

You may not see these young Celtics studs in NBA Summer League playoffs

You may not see these young Celtics studs in NBA Summer League playoffs

BOSTON -- After crushing the Memphis Grizzlies 113-87 to cap off the NBA Summer League “regular season” with a perfect 4-0 record, the Celtics go into the playoffs as the top seed.

With only the top eight teams advancing to the playoffs, the Celtics begin their run toward a summer league crown Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET against the very same Memphis Grizzlies.

But here’s where things might get interesting for the Celtics. 

It’s not unusual for teams to hold out some of their key players at this point in the summer to ensure they avoid getting injured and negate the strides they have made this summer. 

Looking up and down Boston's roster, there are plenty of candidates who could be given the rest of the summer off, or short of that, be held out of Saturday’s quarterfinal game. 

ROBERT WILLIAMS III

Coming off his best game of the summer with a 16-point, 16-rebound performance against Memphis, Williams has already had a “load management” game off and responded Thursday with his best effort of the summer. 

He is the only player on the summer league roster who has a shot at potentially being in the Celtics’ starting lineup. 

Williams has played in a total of three games, averaging a near double-double of 11.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while dishing out 2.3 assists with 1.7 blocked shots. 

After he battled knee tendinitis at times last season, it would not be all that surprising if we saw Williams shut down the rest of the summer to keep him as fresh as possible for the start of the season, when he’ll be among a handful of players battling for the vacant starting job at center. 

CARSEN EDWARDS

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has already pointed out how Carsen Edwards, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft, is a player he believes can contribute to the team’s success right away. 

Edwards has been a star from day one for Boston this summer, averaging a team-best 18.0 points in just 23 minutes per game while connecting on 52 percent of his shots. 

There’s very little at this point left for Edwards to prove. 

Edwards was scoring as a starter the first couple of games, while the last two Celtics games have seen him come off the bench and deliver a comparable offensive punch. 

While Edwards hasn’t played nearly well enough to enter the conversation to potentially start, he has done more than enough to validate Stevens’ belief that he’ll be in the rotation and play off the bench this season. 

GRANT WILLIAMS

The No. 22 pick in last month’s NBA draft, Grant Williams has been as good as advertised. 

He was billed as a solid player whose greatest skill appears to be impacting winning, and thus far he has not disappointed. 

Williams has appeared in all four summer league games and ranks as the team’s No. 2 scorer (13.5 points per game) and rebounder (6.8 per game) while shooting a solid 50 percent (18-for-36) from the field.

He too has played well enough to where he’ll be in the scrum to play minutes off the bench this year, showcasing a high basketball IQ in terms of his passing and decision-making out of the post while boasting a 3-point shot that has been better than what we saw in college. 

While Boston may be tempted to shut Williams down, more likely than not he’ll continue playing his usual minutes, which the Celtics will need if they are to continue on their winning ways. 

TREMONT WATERS

Another one of the Celtics’ summer league stars, the 5-foot-11 Waters has been Boston’s best playmaker as well as one of its top defenders. He’s averaging 10.0 points per game along with a team-best 5.3 assists.

Having already agreed to a two-way contract with Boston, there’s little left for him to show the Celtics coaching staff that would impact their views on him as a player. 

That said, there’s still a sense that Waters will continue playing if for no other reason than to keep reminding the C's of just how impactful he can be in games despite his small frame. 

Right now, the Celtics look pretty stacked in the backcourt with Marcus Smart, Carsen Edwards and Brad Wanamaker all vying for minutes, not to mention Gordon Hayward will at times slide over and facilitate the offense, too. 

That all means that Waters’ best shot at staying on the Celtics’ radar while still playing probably will come as a member of the team’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. 

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Celtics vs. Blazers odds: Best NBA picks with two All-Star guards out

Celtics vs. Blazers odds: Best NBA picks with two All-Star guards out

The Boston Celtics have had some trouble with Western Conference opponents this season. 

Will the Portland Trail Blazers continue that trend?

The Celtics enter Tuesday's game in Portland with a 14-8 record against the West, compared to a 25-9 mark against Eastern Conference foes. They've also lost three of their last five road games versus West opponents -- their latest a one-point defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday -- and will be without Kemba Walker for the third consecutive game.

The good news for Boston? The Blazers won't have star point guard Damian Lillard due to a groin injury and have lost four of their last six.

Here are our betting predictions for Celtics-Blazers, as well as our two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET

Moneyline: Jayson Tatum is on an absolute tear, with 30-plus points in four of his last six games. The Celtics (-310) are 8-2 over their last 10 games and should take care of business as long as Tatum shows up.

Point Spread: The Blazers are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games and failed to cover without Lillard in Sunday's win over the Detroit Pistons. The Celtics (-7.5) , meanwhile, have covered in six consecutive games as a favorite.

Point Total: Portland hasn't allowed fewer than 100 points since early January, while four of Boston's last five games have hit the over. I'll go OVER again on 223.5 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 75-44-1 (62.5% success rate)

NBA Lock of the Night

Milwaukee Bucks (-1) at Toronto RaptorsYes, the Bucks just played an overtime game in Washington on Monday night. Yes, the Raptors are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. But Milwaukee is 49-8 for a reason. I'll take the best team in the NBA in a virtual pick 'em.

New Orleans Pelicans (+7.5) at Los Angeles LakersZion Williamson and his band of Lakers cast-offs (Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart) rolling into Staples Center and pulling off the upset? I could see it. Either way, the Pelicans should keep this close.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 38-40-1 (48.1% success rate)

How Tacko Fall, Tremont Waters fared for Red Claws vs. Capital City Go Go

How Tacko Fall, Tremont Waters fared for Red Claws vs. Capital City Go Go

Basketball fans in the nation's capital got an up-close look at Tacko Fall on Tuesday, and the 7-foot-5 standout delivered in a big way on Tacko Tuesday.

Fall racked up a double-double before the Red Claws and Capital City Go Go even headed into the locker rooms at halftime, helping Maine to a 125-93 victory.

Here's how Fall and Tremont Waters performed:

TACKO FALL

Fall filled up the stat sheet with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with a career-high 20 rebounds (seven offensive boards) and five blocks.

It's his 15th double-double of the season and fifth this month.

TREMONT WATERS

Waters chipped in 16 points and four assists, the 20th time in his last 21 games he's reached double figures in scoring

Jaysean Page led Maine with 27 points, while Bryce Brown added 24 in the 32-point victory

The Red Claws return to action with a home game against the Lakeland Magic at 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Portland Expo Center.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.