The Boston Celtics wrapped up their three exhibition scrimmages Tuesday night as they fell to the Houston Rockets 137-113. Boston was without their top 7 rotation players in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, and Enes Kanter. This allowed fans to get a glimpse of the Celtics bench as they played big minutes against a fully loaded Rockets team.
Not too much to take away from here as the scrimmage mostly served to rest our rotational players. Here are some of the takeaways from Tuesday night.
Biggest Takeaways From The Celtics-Rockets Scrimmage
Thank God Brad Stevens Rested Our Starters
At first glance, it seemed rather questionable for Brad Stevens to rest all of the Celtics starters against the Rockets, especially since Houston didn’t rest their star players. The purpose of these scrimmages is to ramp up the player’s back to game speed. Resting them after four months off seemed like a step in the opposite direction.
However, it was the safe decision and ultimately the right decision. Rockets forward Eric Gordon went down with a non-contact left ankle injury. His x-rays were negative, but he is expected to miss the next few days of activity. This is a huge blow to the Rockets that could have easily been avoided. With only eight seeding games to play, the time will fly by and Houston will be without their third option offensively. That could be a major blow to their final standing.
Despite sitting out Tuesday night, reports emerged that the Celtics key players took part in a high-intensity workout on Monday since they knew they would be sitting out the final scrimmage. Everyone remained healthy and the players were able to get their wind under them while allowing their bench players to get the spotlight against the Rockets.
Tatum, Brown, Walker, and company should have fresh legs come Friday night.
Big Game For The Rookies
As said before, with the starters resting, players from the bench had to pick up the slack, we just didn’t know who. Grant Williams has been one of the Celtics’ most reliable players this season. Not looked to for his scoring, Williams is a Jack-of-most trades for the Celtics. Undersized at the forward and center spot, Williams still provides much-needed defense and hustle that benefits Boston tremendously. Tuesday night, he was able to show off his offense in a strong outing.
He ended the first half with 14 points of 4-of-5 shooting, and finished with 15 along with nine rebounds.
Another Celtics rookie with something to prove during these scrimmages was Carsen Edwards, who delivered tremendously Tuesday against the Rockets. Edwards had a team high 19 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds. The one downside was he led the team in worst plus minus on the night with a -23.
The big Celtic highlight of the night was Edwards poster dunk on James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Yes, you read that correctly. 5’10 Carsen Edwards blew past one former MVP and dunked over the other former MVP.
CARSEN EDWARDS OVER RUSS AND HARDEN 😳 pic.twitter.com/bTLErZQCvR
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 29, 2020
Very few knew that Edwards was capable of something like this, as he tends to look for his offense beyond the three-point line. If Edwards is able to just get to the rim more often, not even to dunk over larger defenders, but just get to the rim, he could see more minutes come his way as a young, offensive-minded point guard.
Yes, the team ended up losing the scrimmage to the Rockets by 20+. Don’t invest too much into that as a team with Brad Wanamaker and a foul-troubled Tacko Fall at the helm is highly unlikely to topple two former MVPs. Fans should be content with what they saw from their young role players in their bigger role for the night.
Now that the scrimmages have concluded, the games from here on out carry much more weight. The second go-around with the Suns showed the most positives, but there were plenty of both bright spots and areas of improvement in all three. Ultimately, Celtic fans should have a fairly high level of confidence as the team continues to work their way back to the dark horse championship favorite that many see them as.
Main PhotoEmbed from Getty Images