2002 Shaw’s Pro Summer League at UMB

2002 Shaws Pro Summer League at UMB

Jason Campos

The Boston Celtics came back from a 12 point deficit in the first half to beat the New Jersey Nets, the team that ended their playoff run last season, 81-69, to win their first game in the 2002 Shaw’s Pro Summer League held in the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston. On hand were Celtic President Red Auerbach and Coach Jim O’Brien, who sat at mid-court to evaluate the talent.

Although the players playing in the Pro Summer League will in all likelihood be role players off the bench, it is nevertheless an important time for these young players to showcase their talents, if not for the roster they are currently on, then for other teams around the National Basketball Association who may be interested in them

There was no Jason Kidd or Kenyon Martin, but the Nets fielded some players that had significant playing time last season, including Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brian Scalabrine. At times, Jefferson was a one-man wrecking crew, scoring a total of 19 points in 36 minutes, with stints of tenacious defense and tireless hustle.

The Celtics had several players show signs of intensity and passion. Terquin Mott was vocal and physical throughout the night while contributing 12 points. Starting center Derrick Alston had a solid night with eight points and seven rebounds.

Other Celtics’ players did not fare as well out on the court. Crowd favorite Kedrick Brown in particular did not shine on this night, at times playing with trepidation.

The Celtics started out cold from the floor as New Jersey jumped out to a quick 14-4 lead. To make matters worse, no Boston player could sink a free throw to punish the Nets for their aggressive play.

What looked like a long night for the Celtics turned around late in the first half. Guard Omar Cook sparked a 7-0 run to end the second quarter to draw the Celtics even with the Nets at 31 apiece.

Cook opened the second half with a lay up to give Boston its first lead of the night. Second year player Joseph Forte, who spent much of last year on the injured reserve, got into the action with back-to-back baskets. Forte led the Celtics with 14 points.

New Jersey picked up their game and offensive flow. A Jefferson jumper with 4.9 seconds left gave the Nets a 60-55 lead to end the third quarter.

Little known J.R. Bremer of Boston made some big plays in the early part of the fourth quarter, hitting a three pointer to tie the game with 7:53 left. On the next possession, Bremer drove into the lane, was fouled by Collins and scored. The free throw completed the old-fashioned three-point play.

An alley-oop play from Tamar Slay to Jefferson gave the Nets a 67-65 lead. A short while later, an illegal defense was called on New Jersey, and Forte sank the technical free throw to give Boston the lead for good at 70-69.

The Celtics finished the night by scoring the last eleven points, four of them by Forte on runner on the right baseline and a 15-foot jumper. Mott sealed the game’s fate as he stole the ball at mid-court and went to the basket unhindered for a dunk to give the Celtics an eight-point lead with less than a minute remaining.