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Celtics Demolish the Magic, 100-75, Improve to 2-0 in Preseason Play

Romeo Langford played his first minutes, Daniel Theis got the start, and the Jayward Trio looked great.

NBA: Preseason-Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1st half thoughts:

Grant Williams told Abby Chin in his pre-game interview that the Celtics needed to bring the defensive intensity and offensive pacing that they didn’t have against the Hornets. With Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis in the starting lineup, Boston won the first quarter 35-11, playing a near-perfect game for the first eleven minutes (Robert Williams and Semi Ojeleye gave up some silly fouls in the last 60 seconds). Whatever you wanted to see the Celtics do this year - you saw it here. Jaylen Brown leading fast breaks and slinging passes, Jayson Tatum rebelling against Kobe’s teachings and shooting threes, and Gordon Hayward stonewalling Aaron Gordon - who the Magic turned to early and often - on the defensive end.

The second quarter was just a dumpster fire for Orlando, although the Celtics still did well to capitalize. The Celtics’ wings were gifted free points off turnovers, as Tatum sauntered his way into an effortless 12-point half. It really makes a world of difference as to how fluid the offense looks when you cut out the momentum-killing, low-percentage isolation plays. I can’t fully explain how silly the second quarter got better than this clip can:

I’m still looking at every game as a progress report on Hayward’s legs and...

Things are looking good.

2nd half thoughts:

As I’ve harped about Daniel Theis as my personal pick for the Celtics’ starting center spot, seeing him torture the Magic bigs to start the third quarter was especially encouraging, given the problems Orlando’s length has given the C’s in the past couple seasons. Theis never looked to be at full strength last year, but I think his work on the boards tonight are evidence that he’s good to go.

Two negative takeaways regarding the rotation: Brad Wanamaker and Semi Ojeleye are straight up not having a good time out there, man. Their shots went down tonight - everybody’s did - but the rest was messy. Passes were picked off and fouls were committed against a Magic team that frankly stopped trying with about 18 minutes of game clock remaining.

Romeo Langford’s first minutes were pretty uneventful, but I’m happy to finally see that he’s a capable basketball player. After a nice drive and offensive board, Romeo was quiet, but steady. This is one of those times where no news is good news.

Tremont Waters’ passing is really, really nice. It flies a little under the radar, but he’s legitimately been good in every game he’s played in as a Celtic, dating back to the summer league. I hate that he won’t see any relevant minutes, but as a two-way contract guy buried under Kemba, Smart, Edwards, Langford, and our playmaking wings, I’ll have to settle for Red Claws highlights for the time being. I’ll also add that both Edwards and Waters are pesky defenders for their size, and I’m still mystified as to why they weren’t drafted higher.

And of course we got more of this:

My two cents: I think people genuinely love Tacko. I think they see his attitude, listen to his interviews, and come to the only possible conclusion, which is that he’s a great dude that might be good enough to play in the NBA. I see it as people cheering for him and not at him, although I understand that many of you see it differently.

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