Boston Celtics: 3 thoughts on preseason opener against Orlando Magic

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (42) and Boston Celtics guard Dennis Schroder (71)  Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: Bench comes up big

The starters were capped at around 24 minutes by coach Ime Udoka in this one, so it ultimately came down to whether the bench would be able to pull out the victory. Things didn’t look great early on in the fourth, especially once they fell down by double digits. But they buckled down, got some stops, and hit some clutch shots to pull out the victory.

Of the bench players, the one that stood out the most was Aaron Nesmith. Nesmith followed up a solid Summer League showing with a game changing stint off the bench in the fourth quarter. Nesmith shot 4-5, including 2-3 from three, and picked up three rebounds, two of which were offensive. Nesmith also had one of the plays of the game, which is too hard to explain in detail, so I’ll just leave the video and let you admire it.

Nesmith’s gritty play helped the Celtics bring the game back, but the guy who will get the most credit is Romeo Langford. After Payton Pritchard missed a midrange jumper from, the Magic picked up the rebound, seemingly putting an end to the Celtics rally. But Langford intercepted the ensuing pass, handed it off to Pritchard, only for Pritchard to give it right back to Langford, who buried the wide open three from the wing to win it.

Nesmith and Langford were the two clear standouts off the bench for Boston, which is a great sign. With some of the veteran guys struggling ahead of them, the young guys were up to the challenge last night, and definitely made a good impression on their coaches. Both guys are probably fighting each other for playing time at this point, so it’s important they keep performing when called upon if they want to keep getting minutes.

The revamping of the bench was the key to the Celtics offseason. The Celtics lacked depth last season, and it killed them the entire way through. If the bench can step up like they did tonight when the real games roll around, you can expect a nice increase in the column from last season.

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