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Jan 3, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) celebrates with center Enes Kanter (11) during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

It may have come with shortened quarters in an empty gym, but Boston Celtics basketball returned on Friday.

In their first of three scrimmages in the NBA Bubble, the C’s faced the Oklahoma City Thunder, falling 98-84.

The Celtics started strong on defense, with Jayson Tatum picking up a pair of early steals. On the other end, they had trouble finishing at the rim in transition. Still, a strong mid-range game helped keep things close, with OKC leading 21-17 after the first quarter.

Boston started the second quarter with a 6-0 run and briefly took the lead, but the Thunder answered with a run of their own. After a bit of a back-and-forth, a Marcus Smart steal and score tied the game at 29 late in the quarter.

The issue for the Celtics in the first half? Three-points shooting. Boston was 3-14 from deep in the first 20 minutes (the scrimmage has 10-minute quarters), which allowed Oklahoma City to take a 47-42 lead into halftime.

Brad Stevens elected to go with mostly reserves in the second half, highlighted by a team-high 11 points from Enes Kanter, who also picked up 10 rebounds for a double-double. Tremont Waters led the Celtics front court, with five assists and three steals.

The good news for the Celtics is they still have two more chances to shake the rust off. Next up, a scrimmage with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. That game tips at 1:30 p.m., and you can catch the call on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com