Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker returns in scrimmage against Phoenix

Sunday, the Boston Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 117-103 in their second scrimmage in the Disney bubble.

On Sunday afternoon the Boston Celtics collected their first win in the bubble, beating the Phoenix Suns 117-103. The game was filled with positive performances — especially in comparison to how their last outing went — all around, especially with the return of Kemba Walker after being sidelined for almost five months.

Walker was eased back into action, only playing nine minutes, all in the first half. He scored six points on two for six shooting and was able to drive to the basket and finish through contact. Walker repeatedly showcased his burst and quickness against the Phoenix defenders, taking advantage of their lack of above-average defenders.

It’s no secret that Kemba is a major key to the C’s upcoming playoff run. If he can get back to his successful ways, especially against the Milwaukee Bucks, they have a good shot of coming out of the east.

This scrimmage was a good indicator that he can get back to those ways.

Besides Walker, Jaylen Brown shined in the Celtics’ second scrimmage. Playing 27 minutes of action, he finished with 21 points on seven of thirteen shooting, including draining three buckets from deep.

He’s improved both his handle and mid-range game, giving Boston another option on offense when Jayson Tatum isn’t knocking down his shots.

With Tatum ascending as the best player on the Boston Celtics, he automatically draws the opposition’s best defender. This gives Brown an opportunity to capitalize and attack on lesser defenders, as Mikal Bridges was shadowing Tatum almost all game.

As for how the All-Star faired, he got off to another rough start, reverting to his early-season ways by failing to finish at the rim. However, he ended up catching fire, hitting step-back threes and mid-range jumpers against tight defense as the game progressed.

He finished the contest with a team-high 28 minutes, going six for seventeen from the field for 16 points. It’ll take a while for him to regain his February form, but his game looked similar, the shots just weren’t falling at the same rate.

Gordon Hayward also had an encouraging performance, scoring 17 points on six of ten from the field. He got to the spots on the court he wanted to, sinking turn-around elbow shots over and over again. The public seems to have forgotten how good of a player Hayward can really be — an All-Star-caliber fourth option for this championship contender.

For the bench, Romeo Langford stood out as a key performer. Scoring nine points in 12 minutes, he both was able to sink his jump shots with ease — he even made a fluid three — and constantly was trying to find ways to cut to the rim, catching insane bounce passes from teammate Tremont Waters. Waters, himself, had three assists in five minutes, providing a spark in the backup point guard position, one that counterpart Brad Wanamaker fails to possess.

For the Suns, star Devin Booker scored 17 on questionable efficiency (33.3 percent shooting), as the Celtics did a decent job on defense against the 23-year-old. Bridges and Deandre Ayton also wound up with 16 and 11, respectively.

Overall, there were lots of bright spots in this scrimmage for the Boston Celtics, headlined by the long-awaited return of their franchise point guard.

Let’s try not to get too ahead of ourselves in regard to how we believe these performances are indicative of what’s to come during the upcoming seeding and postseason contests; after all, this was just scrimmage number two.

Having said that, it was nice to see a fully intact lineup roll out onto the hardwood for the first time in over four months and attain a sound victory.

Next: Ranking the top 3 bubble seeding game opponents