No defense. No bench.
When looking at the Celtics through their first three games those were the bubble bugaboos. Sure, their starting five could score with anyone, but there was going to be no run if these pieces of the puzzle weren't somehow addressed.
Wednesday night in the Celtics' 149-115 rout of the Nets, Brad Stevens may have actually uncovered a few solutions. (For a complete box score, click here.)
The most eye-opening element of the night -- which included the C's scoring their most points since 1992 -- was the emergence of Rob Williams. He had a cool nickname (Time Lord), and now evidently he at least has the potential to possess an equally as impressive game.
For a team starved for inside presences on both ends of the court, Williams filled the bill and then some. He scored 18 points while going 7-for-7 from the field, including his first basket from outside 18 feet as a pro. There was also the staple of the second-year forward's game, shot-blocking, coming away with three swats (one more than the entire Nets team).
Williams, who had played less than a minute combined during the first three games back, was able to function even with the Nets forcing him to guard 6-foot-9 wing player Rodions Kurucs. It was all a welcome development considering the C's came away from this one with 69 points off the bench compared to the 24 tallied against the Heat.
And about that defense ...
Even before COVID-19-induced hiatus, Langford was emerging into an interesting option for Stevens, particularly considering the rookie's ability to guard the perimeter. This time, with the Celtics taking on water defensively the first three games, Langford was the first player off the bench despite having totaled just four minutes in the initial previous three contests.
When it was all said and done, the Celtics outscored the Nets by 27 points in the 26 minutes Langford found himself on the floor,
"Romeo’s defense was excellent," Brad Stevens said. "Rob, obviously, gave us a lot once he got settled in defensively, and then offensively, he gave us a lot at the rim all day."
The Celtics clearly needed a step in the right direction after Tuesday's disappointment. Thanks in large part to these two, they got it.