BOSTON -- For most of this season, there has been a steady call among fans for the Boston Celtics to bolster their roster by either adding a big man or another scorer off the bench.
But Wednesday’s 116-100 win over Orlando was yet another night when the team’s play of late has given rise to seriously thinking about keeping the band together.
Down three of their top six players, the Celtics (35-15) dug a little deeper into their rotation than usual and came up with yet another strong, across-the-board team performance.
How deep did the Celtics dig?
Rookie Romeo Langford, he of 14 games played this season Romeo Langford, got the starting nod as the Celtics went to battle without Kemba Walker (sore left knee), Marcus Smart (quad) and Daniel Theis (ankle).
After a relatively close first half, the Celtics began to pull away in the third with Jayson Tatum leading the way.
Orlando had moments in which they seemed on the cusp of swinging the game’s momentum in their favor, only for the Celtics to get a key offensive rebound put-back basket, or a blocked shot or some kind of play that continued to push the narrative that they were not going to be denied a victory at home, regardless of who they had on the floor.
TATUM TAKIN’ OVER
Jayson Tatum was the only Celtics All-Star on the floor Wednesday night, and for most of the game he played like one.
Tatum led all scorers with 33 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists.
And he delivered yet another strong game defensively, both individually and as a shot-altering, help-side defender.
Tatum has been in an impressive groove, becoming the first Celtics player since Paul Pierce during the 2000-2001 season to have seven or more consecutive games of 20-plus points within his first three NBA seasons.
GORDON THE PLAYMAKER
The versatility that we’ve talked about often when it comes to Gordon Hayward has been on display in larger doses lately with all the injuries that the Celtics have played through this season.
With no Kemba Walker or Marcus Smart, Hayward has assumed a larger share of the point guard duties.
And he has consistently come through and delivered when needed.
Against the Magic, Hayward tallied a near triple-double, finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while shooting 10-for-16 from the field.
Making his first NBA start, Romeo Langford finished with six points while logging a career-high 28 minutes.
He’s not on the floor to get points, although it’s clear scoring is going to be a part of his game going forward.
They needed him to be a solid defender and a ball-mover, two things Langford did consistently enough to the point where head coach Brad Stevens kept him on the floor for about 28 minutes.
Who knows when (or if) Langford will get another shot at starting this season.
One thing is for sure.
Langford is yet another Celtic player who made the most of his opportunity to play a larger role than usual, doing his part to keep the Celtics on their winning ways.
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