The short-handed Boston Celtics returned from a week-long hiatus to dominate the Orlando Magic on Friday night, 124-97.
With Jayson Tatum out (health and safety protocols), Jaylen Brown took over with 21 points and 8 assists to tie his career high. Boston's bench stepped up big time in the victory with 66 points.
Here are three instant overreactions as the Celtics extend their win streak to five games and improve to 8-3 on the season:
1. This was the C's best performance of the season so far.
It may have been against the depleted Magic, but there's no question this was the Celtics' best win of the campaign to this point. With no Tatum and several others missing due to health and safety protocols, nearly every active player stepped up to provide big minutes in the 27-point beatdown.
As great as Brown was, the supporting cast's performance is what made this win so impressive. Semi Ojeleye continued his hot streak with 18 points off the bench to go with 6 rebounds. Jeff Teague was thrown into the starting lineup and contributed 17 points. As a whole, the Celtics shot 51.1 percent from the floor and 40.5 percent from 3. That'll get the job done.
Verdict: Not an overreaction.
2. Tacko/Payton Pritchard Mania is here to stay.
Why didn't we mention Tacko Fall and Payton Pritchard in the previous section, you ask? Well, because they deserve a section of their own.
We're running out of things to say about Pritchard at this point. The rookie has crushed expectations this season and continued to do so Friday night with 16 points (6-for-13) in 25 minutes. Best of all, he didn't step out of bounds! Progress.
As for Tacko, he certainly made the most of his 8 garbage-time minutes. His moment came with one minute left in the game, when he banked home a deep jumpshot that sent the Celtics bench into a frenzy.
He'd finish with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and a block.
It's becoming more and more clear with each game: Tacko/Pritchard mania isn't going anywhere.
Verdict: Not an overreaction
3. Aaron Nesmith is a bust.
While Pritchard has been sensational, the Celtics' 2020 lottery pick has left plenty to be desired. Nesmith has struggled on both sides of the floor in his limited minutes so far this season, and that continued for most of Friday's contest.
In the fourth quarter, however, Nesmith started to show a little something. He'd finish with 5 points (2-for-7, 1-for-5 from 3) and 2 assists in 18 minutes.
"We know how good Aaron can be on both ends of the floor. Especially on that offensive end. We're going to need him, and I think tonight he really came out and he showed it," Marcus Smart said of Nesmith after the game.
Nesmith has plenty of work to do, but it's far too early to put him in the "bust" category. The Vanderbilt sharpshooter's moment will come.