NBA Summer League 2021: Kings vs. Celtics TV Schedule and Predictions

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2021

Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell, right, drives against Los Angeles Lakers guard Justin Robinson during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The 2021 NBA Summer League champions will be crowned Tuesday as the Sacramento Kings battle the Boston Celtics at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Sports 1140 KHTK @Sports1140KHTK

Kings. Celtics. Summer League championship. 𝙏𝙊𝙉𝙄𝙂𝙃𝙏. 👑 https://t.co/OX9XGJ5qLb

The emergence of young scorers for Boston and a stifling defense in Sacramento have fueled them to the championship game. Despite two other unbeaten squads (Minnesota and New Orleans), the teams are competing for the title because of their respective point differentials, the two highest in the league.

With potential roles in starting lineups at stake, Tuesday's final could provide more entertainment than a Sin City show, thanks to these stars and storylines.


TV Schedule

9 p.m., ESPN



Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas


Something's Gotta Give

To say Boston has been dominant this summer would be an understatement.

After a gritty win over Atlanta in their first game, the Celtics fired off 20-plus-point victories in each of their next three. Equally as impressive? They never scored less than 100 points in those games.

Point guard Payton Pritchard has been a considerable part of that success, knocking down 51.4 percent of his field goals, 57.7 from beyond the arc and 88.9 percent of his free throws to average 20.3 points per game.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

92?! 🤯 Celtics' guard @paytonpritch3 was a WALKING BUCKET this entire week 🔥 After averaging 20.3 PPG and 8.7 APG in Summer League, he dropped 92- and 60-point performances in back-to-back games at the Portland Pro-Am! (📸: @ShotsByChubbs) https://t.co/L2a5EdETxD

He has, at times, proved too good for the summer league and is one player who should find floor time in the  regular season.

Teammate Aaron Nesmith is averaging 18.8 per game and scored a team-high 33 points in Boston's win over Denver, making a one-two punch that has been insurmountable so far. 

Sacramento, though, has been an impenetrable force.

The Kings have not allowed a single opponent to score more than 75 points in any of their four victories.

Rookie Davion Mitchell's tenacious defense has been key to the team's advancement to the championship game. "I'm really competitive at everything I do. It just comes with not letting my man score on me and making it hard for the best player. I want to show I can guard anybody 1 to 4, 1 to 5," he told ESPN.

The Athletic NBA @TheAthleticNBA

Davion Mitchell’s defense on Cade Cunningham last season convinced the Kings he could guard bigger players, sources tell @sam_amick. "They’re optimistic about the idea of routinely running three-guard lineups." More: https://t.co/xjunEwQeq3 https://t.co/yfbC8e4wat

The battle between dominant offense and defense usually comes down to scheming and how well the latter can contain the former. Though Boston has two competent scorers who can take over any game in which they play, if Sacramento can limit them to even 80-85 points, there is reason to believe Mitchell and the Kings will walk away with the win.

That is a big ask, but defense, as they say, wins championships.

Prediction: Sacramento edges Boston to win the Summer League championship