Healthy Jaylen dominates as C's beat Magic in preseason opener


TD Garden played host to the Boston Celtics' preseason opener against the Orlando Magic on Monday night, but it certainly didn't sound or feel like a preseason affair.

The energy in the building was phenomenal, particularly at the start of the game and at the end of the fourth quarter when the outcome hung in the balance.

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The Celtics went on a 22-10 run in the fourth quarter and took a one-point lead on a 3-pointer by Romeo Langford with 14.2 second remaining. The C's held on for a 98-97 victory.

Here are three takeaways from the first of four Celtics preseason games.

Jaylen Brown's wrist looks OK

Brown missed the last portion of the 2020-21 regular season and the Celtics' entire first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets due to wrist injury that required surgery. He returned to game action Monday night and played fantastic.

The All-Star guard was aggressive from the opening tip, scoring 14 of Boston's first 17 points. He was attacking the basket, knocking down shots from mid-range and was effective from beyond the arc, too. He looked more athletic and explosive in transition and driving to the rim, both of which are encouraging signs for the C's.

Brown finished with a team-high 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting, along with four rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes.

The Celtics won't reach their goals this season without a healthy Brown. So far, so good on that front.

Aaron Nesmith continues to show exciting potential

Bench scoring has been an issue for the C's in recent years. They need a couple of the younger players to step up and provide valuable offense in a reserve role, and Nesmith is the most likely candidate in the group.


Nesmith was among Boston's best players in the 2021 Summer League tournament out in Las Vegas, and he's carried that momentum into the preseason.

The 2020 first-round draft picked scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting (2-of-3 from 3-point range) with three rebounds in 15 minutes of action. All of Nesmith's points came in the last eight minutes of the fourth quarter as the C's made their run to regain the lead. 

The Celtics bench will be in good shape this season if Nesmith can be a consistent outside shooter and provide plenty of hustle/energy at both ends of the court.

Offseason additions fitting in well

The Celtics made a bunch of changes to their roster over the offseason, and there were several positives from this group Monday night.

Josh Richardson struggled offensively (1-of-7 shooting) but immediately made a positive impact on defense. The Celtics were plus-11 when Richardson was on the floor. Dennis Schroder also had a tough night shooting the ball (1-of-7 overall) but ran the offense well at point guard and brought tremendous energy to the floor. Veteran center Al Horford made a seamless transition back into the Celtics offense, scoring five points with seven rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes.

It's going to take some time for head coach Ime Udoka to figure out the best lineups and how to maximize the talents of the offseason acquisitions. But the early returns from training camp and one preseason game are encouraging. There's no question this Celtics roster is deeper than last year's group.