BOSTON (CBS) -- The Summer Celtics couldn't finish the deal and bring home a Summer League title Tuesday night, falling to the Sacramento Kings 100-67 in the championship game in Las Vegas. The Kings upped the tempo right from the jump and Boston was never able to catch up.
It was a disappointing finish to an otherwise successful stint for Boston's Summer League team, one that has left a sour taste in the young Celtics' mouths. But the sorrow of falling in the title game will further fuel the players on the Boston roster when the 2021-22 NBA season arrives in a few short months.
"It's a humbling experience. We played really well the first four games and kind of blew teams out, and to come into this game and kind of be on the other end of the story, it hurts. It sucks," said swingman Aaron Nesmith, who is now shifting his focus to his second NBA season. "But it's just motivation to get right back to the drawing board tomorrow morning and get right back to work."
Nesmith had an incredible five-game run for Boston in Summer League action, and he's hoping to bring his new tricks to the NBA level in October. The 2020 first-round pick made it sound like he'll be at Boston's practice facilities on Wednesday, though the team would probably like it if the 21-year-old took a few days off after his stint in Vegas.
But you can't blame Nesmith for wanting to keep hitting the floor as often as possible. He had just 12 points off 4-for-10 shooting in the title game, well below his production of the previous four contests. He probably wants to get replays of Tuesday night out of his head as quickly as possible.
Tuesday's loss shouldn't dampen everything else that Nesmith did this summer, either. Overall, he averaged 17.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, knocking down 50 percent from the floor and 36.1 percent from downtown. He had a pair of 30-point games, including a 33-point performance against the Denver Nuggets where he shot 13-for-18 and 7-for-9 from three.
Nesmith didn't rely solely on his long distance attack in Vegas, showing that he's more than just a sharpshooter with an all-around offensive game. He provided the Summer C's with a lot of versatility on the offensive end, and is looking to carry that over to the Boston Celtics next season.
"That's what I've been working on all summer; being able to put the ball on the floor when they run me off the line, and having a first, second and even third move. When I put the ball on the floor not being set on a single decision and make the best play," he said. "That's what I'll carry into next season.
"I did a better job of becoming a more multi-dimensional player -- moving the ball, putting the ball on the floor, finding open teammates, taking confident shots," he added. "That's what I think that I expanded."
Nesmith struggled to start his NBA career but worked his way into the Boston lineup in late April. He played consistently over the final month of the regular season, and played in all five games against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
Now he's hoping to draw off his Summer League success as he looks to become an important part of the Boston bench next season and beyond.
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