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This was the feel-good win the Celtics needed after being so-so in the first three games in Orlando. There are many great highlights to note from this game. Brown leading the scoring with 21 and 5 3-pointers. Rob Williams and Romeo dazzling on both ends of the floor. Hayward looking more and more comfortable with each game. Even without Kemba, the Celtics scored their highest point total since 1992. Roll all of these up into one and what does it give you? A very complete win.
They started with probably their best defensive half since arriving in Orlando, and actually built on their billowing lead once the reserves checked in.
And that led to a showcase for the young guys. Rob Williams, who didn’t even play in the first two bubble games, not only had a career scoring night with 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting (five of those lobs), once again teased Celtics Nation with what might be possible. He blocked three shots, altered numerous others, and LOOKED like the young interior answer this team desperately needs.
Romeo Langford has grown so much in a short amount of time that he can’t really be called a rookie anymore – not with the way the young wing player fit in last night as one of the Celtics most active defenders.
This was a fun game to watch, no doubt. All the starters were in double figures and every player who played scored. There was no 8 minute stretches with a gross lapse in defense. There were some incredible high-flying dunks by numerous Celtics. But most importantly, the energy level was there.
Smart helped set the tone right away, and the Celtics’ intensity and effort levels were noticeably high. For stretches, it looked much more like the top-five defense that this team displayed for much of this season.
“I thought the energy overall was good for our whole team,” coach Brad Stevens said. “Thought we came out and played the right way.”
This is the type of intense basketball the Celtics need to bring to every opponent. Beating up on the Nets is good, but the Celtics play the Raptors tomorrow. And they need to bring this energy to that game. And the rest of the seeding games. And throughout the playoffs. This is an encouraging victory, and Celtics fans should be excited about the young guys’ performances and overall team cohesiveness. But there is a long road ahead. Enjoy this win, and it’s onward and upward.
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