Jayson Tatum nails game-winner as Celtics deny top pick Fultz, Sixers in Summer League debut
Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum slams one home with Sixers' top pick Markelle Fultz trailing. AP

ORLANDO, Fla. — Boston’s Jayson Tatum opened the Utah Summer League and his pro career with a go-ahead basket to beat No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz and Philadelphia.

Tatum’s jumper and the Celtics’ ensuing stop of Fultz gave Boston an 89-88 victory.

The game in Salt Lake City was the most anticipated contest thus far, as summer play heated up Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) with the Orlando Pro Summer League entering its third day and the Utah Summer League tipping getting started. The 24-team NBA Summer League in Las Vegas starts on Friday.

Fultz played well on both ends of the floor and showed why the 76ers took him with the top pick they acquired from Boston. He looked smooth on offense, playing both lead and off guard, but his defensive work may have been most impressive. Fultz finished with three blocks, including a weakside swat of Kadeem Allen that had the crowd gasping. He had 17 points on 6-for-16 shooting, including two three-pointers

Tatum was not overshadowed as the 6’8”, 208-pounder showed the versatility he’s known for and knocked down a pull-up midrange jumper with 5.7 seconds left. Fultz’s shot was blocked on the other end to end the game.

Tatum, the No. 3 pick, may have had the most awe-inspiring play of the night with a thundering, one-hand tomahawk dunk on Kaleb Tarczewski. He posted 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists and five steals.

“He kind of has this old soul,” Celtics coach Jerome Allen said. “This pro-like approach, doesn’t get rattled, doesn’t show a lot of emotions. Just kind of plays at his pace like he’s been here before.

“We can say it’s only Summer League, but he just made plays. He turned the corner, he was aggressive, he shared the ball, he defended and rebounded.”

While all eyes were on the two rookies, 2016 No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown was hands down the best player on the floor and looked like he had no business playing Summer League games. He finished with 29 points. 

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