Five takeaways from Celtics preseason win at Orlando: Tacko Edition
ORLANDO, Fla. -- After a lackluster performance defensively followed by more than a week of talking and prepping and focusing on you know, being a better team defensively, you had the feeling Boston’s defense against Orlando would be better than it was in the opener.
Was. It. Ever.
The Celtics delivered the kind of stifling defensive performance against the Magic that this group desperately needed, resulting in a 100-75 blowout win.
How dominant were the Celtics defensively?
Boston opened with an 11-0 run. Once the Magic finally got on the scoreboard, the Celtics followed that up with a 10-0 spurt.
The lead would reach 35 points in the first half which ended with the Celtics on top, 62-34.
There’s a lot to unpack following this resounding Celtics victory, but here are the five biggest takeaways from Boston’s blowout win against the Magic.
TACKO FALL FANDEMONIUM
The chants for Tacko Fall to play began in the first half, and really gained steam in the fourth quarter. Celtics coach Brad Stevens went to the bench but … he turned to Tremont Waters. And moments later, Stevens - by now being soundly booed by the Tacko-maniacs in the building - decided to put fellow rookie big man Vincent Poirier into the game. Fall finally entered the game about halfway through the fourth quarter, greeted by a loud chorus of cheers from the pro-Tacko crowd. He would finish with two rebounds and an assist.
Lots of players contributed to Boston’s dominant performance, but the defensive play of Daniel Theis in the first quarter really stood out. Whether it was keeping Orlando’s bigs off the glass, or helping out defensively to force a turnover, his presence was undeniable. It was the kind of performance that keeps Theis well in the thick of things for the starting job at center. He had four points, nine rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot while playing a little less than 14 minutes.
JAYSON TATUM’S ALL-AROUND PLAY
This was yet another game in which Jayson Tatum, by and large, showed a well-rounded attack offensively along with solid play as a defender. With no Kemba Walker (knee) on the floor, Tatum was more of the focal point offensively. And unlike the last couple years, he didn’t settle for the long jumpers or 3’s but instead attacked the rim and had some nice finishes at the rim before tallying 15 points and five rebounds.
Even though Orlando has all that length and athleticism and was playing at home for the first time this preseason, it was the Celtics who were running things - on the floor and on the scoreboard. Boston’s 28-point lead at the half was fueled in large part by their ability to get out in transition which resulted in a 20-7 edge in fast-break points. For the game, Boston outscored Orlando 27-17 in fast-break points
The Celtics’ first-round pick in last June’s draft played in his first game after missing summer league recovering from a thumb injury. For a guy who hadn’t played competitive basketball in months, Langford showed off some of the skills that made him a lottery pick after just one season at Indiana. Within seconds of entering the game, he drove into the lane for a nice finish. He would later turn an Orlando miss that was about to be rebounded by the Magic, into a loose ball recovered by the Celtics. Stevens has talked about how he does a lot of good things relying on instinct. That was indeed the case in his limited minutes on Friday. He would finish with two points and three rebounds while playing just over 11 minutes.