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Marcus Smart shows promise in another summer league victory

07.10.14 at 7:52 pm ET
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The Celtics improved their record to 3-1 in the Orlando Summer League with a 76-67 victory over the Magic on Thursday evening.

Boston got the win without its top scorer, Kelly Olynyk, who took the day to rest. Other lineup changes included shifting Phil Pressey to the bench, which meant No. 6 overall pick Marcus Smart received his first start at point guard.

The rookie responded fairly well, putting up a game-high 19 points, but his shooting struggles continued. While Smart shot 5-for-14 from the field overall (7-for-8 at the free throw line), 3-point shooting was his downfall.

The Oklahoma State product was just 2-for-9 from downtown (the two baskets came on back-to-back possessions late in the game while it was tight). Clearly, shooting is still an area that Smart needs to improve — although he did convert on 3-of-5 attempts inside the arc, something he should look to do more.

Smart finished with five assists, three rebounds and a steal to go with his 19 points in 30 minutes of action.

Meanwhile, the transition to coming off the bench was not kind to Pressey. He shot an atrocious 1-for-15 on field goals, only converting  an early layup. Nothing would go down all game for the crafty point guard. Pressey totaled just five points along with five boards and three helpers. It will be interesting to see how coach Jay Larranaga chooses to use Pressey next game.

Chris Johnson (12 points), Mike Moser (12 points), Colton Iverson (10 points) and Edwin Jackson (10 points) joined Smart as the Celtics players to score in double figures in the game.

The Magic were led by Seth Curry, who scored 15 points off the bench on a barrage of 3-pointers. While Victor Oladipo rested, all eyes were on Orlando’s rookies to carry the team.

Aaron Gordon scored seven points while collecting eight rebounds, but it was Elfrid Payton who was the better rookie on this day. Payton flirted with a triple-double, going for a Rondo-esque eight points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

The Celtics will play in the third-place game on Friday morning at 10 a.m. They will face either the Pistons or Grizzlies (determined by late Thursday night games). It will be Boston’s final game in Orlando before heading west for the Las Vegas Summer League.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow 

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