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Houston Rockets starters down Boston Celtics bench, 137-112

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Celtics rotation players get a decent workout in scrimmage game #3

Boston Celtics v Houston Rockets Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

With the Celtics resting starters ahead of Friday’s matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first of eight seeding games, Brad Stevens gave the younger guys some burn. Semi Ojeleye, Brad Wanamaker, Romeo Langford, Robert Williams and Carsen Edwards all started for Boston against a full strength Houston Rockets team. It was the Celtics who came out fast with a 10-0 lead behind a Robert Williams low block flush after Russell Westbrook got switched onto the big man, this was followed by a quick three from Carsen Edwards.

With Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Enes Kanter, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, Daniel Theis and Jayson Tatum all resting after a big practice yesterday, the young guys finally got a chance. Coming from the bench, Grant Williams provided some good minutes and created for himself with a nice dribble and step-back at the top of the key, 2 plays later, Grant got to the elbow and buried a neat turnaround jumper.

It was Boston’s 2nd and 3rd stringers that paced the Rockets early and Boston had established the lead before James Harden exploded on the Celtics from inside and out for 13 first quarter points as Houston stretched out to a lead. However, credit to he hustling young Celtics as they managed to keep it close at the end of the 1st quarter 28-32 with Harden taking a breather.

Rookie Tacko Fall started the second quarter and was the recipient of some great entry passing, firstly from Grant Williams and also from Javonte Green.

It was encouraging to see the young players productive as mostly all available showed individual flashes. Tremont Waters hit a nice three pointer on a quick catch and shoot, Romeo Langford attacked the basket hard off the dribble to get to the line. Javonte Green almost put PJ Tucker on a poster and Semi Ojeleye pulled off a beautiful up and under layin coming up on the opposite side of the bucket.

Behind the Rockets 10 first-half triples and 5-7 for James Harden alone, Houston stretched out to 77-60 lead at the half. Carsen Edwards got sick of watching the Rockets bury consective triples as the second half opened as he slipped by Russell Westbrook and threw down a monster dunk over a retreating James Harden.

With arguably “dunk of the bubble” under his belt, Edwards got cooking behind a pull up jumper at the top of the key and running the break solo. Carsen Edwards would lead the team with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Jay Larranaga was charged with leading the team in this one as Brad Stevens took a back seat on managing rotations. The shooting from behind the arc was the story of the game for Houston though, as they kept the scoreboard ticking at an incredible clip hitting 100-point mark with 3:45 to go in the third quarter.

The final quarter fulfilled the very promise of “scrimmage” as Houston Rockets rested it’s starters and spluttered through the 4th quarter erasing any efficiency they had generated in shooting splits of the previous 3 quarters. The Celtics kept hanging with the Rockets second stringers getting it back to within 11 at one point, but Houston did enough to hold on during the final five minutes of regulation as the Refs well and truly put away the whistles. For the Celtics, Robert Williams chipped in 12 points, Grant Williams had a solid showing with 15 points and nine boards, Tremont Waters tallied 12 points and Javonte Green logged 13 points.

Houston would finish the game shooting 23-57 for three. The Celtics next face the Bucks Friday at 5:30pm in what should their biggest test so far in Orlando.