Coming off of left wrist surgery, All-Star Jaylen Brown scored 16 of Boston’s 21 points in the first quarter on Monday night in the Celtics’ preseason opener against Orlando at TD Garden. Boston won, 98-97. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics debuted a new look and plenty of new lineups under new head coach Ime Udoka in their preseason opener against the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Here are four takeaways from the matchup after a late fourth-quarter rally by Boston’s reserves – including a game-winning 3 from Romeo Langford with 14.2 seconds remaining – capped a 98-97 comeback win.

JAYLEN BROWN IN MIDSEASON FORM

It was the first live game action in over five months for Brown – coming off of left wrist surgery – and the All-Star wing hit the ground running. He scored 16 of Boston’s 21 points in the first quarter alone, on an assortment of jump shots and strong drives in transition against a young Magic group of wings. Brown showed some aggression as well with six trips to the free-throw line in the first half, embracing physicality.

Jayson Tatum got off to a slower start out of the gate but he found his rhythm in the third quarter, punctuated with a sensational baseline throw-down over Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. early in the third quarter. Tatum struggled with his outside jump shot, however, opening the game shooting just 5 of 15 from the field, including a number of ugly misses from the perimeter. He did manage to contribute in other facets of the game (team leader in rebounds) but it was a rusty debut for the franchise cornerstone.

STARTING LINEUP WAS A MIXED BAG

The Celtics have the versatility to start small or big but they opted for a jumbo look Monday night, giving new trade addition Juancho Hernangomez the first opportunity at power forward in the starting five along with Rob Williams, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown.

Udoka emphasized pregame not to read too much into the lineup as the team tried to experiment with different looks. It was a pretty big opportunity for Hernangomez to get some good run with the starters and he mostly stayed in his lane offensively, scoring six points on two shot attempts while crashing the offensive glass often from the wings with his size.

This grouping showed its limitations on the defensive end as Hernangomez was a constant target of the Magic after Boston switched pick-and-rolls with its more athletic wings. Hernangomez held his own in some of these matchups against an Orlando team that lacked firepower but it’s hard to envision Boston having the defensive intensity that Udoka wants in the starting lineup with Hernangomez in there as an easy target. The team struggled to close out on the perimeter defensively with both him and Williams on the floor.

REVAMPED BENCH BRINGS ENERGY

With Hernangomez in the fold as a surprise starter, Boston’s new-look bench featured a ton of veteran talent, including offseason additions Al Horford and Dennis Schroder. That duo along with Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard were the regulars in Udoka’s first-half rotation and all of the new additions had their moments. Schroder showed off his passing skills with three first-quarter assists while Josh Richardson had a pair of blocks with a couple strong defensive stops against the Magic wing. Offensively, however, it’s easy to see where this group could run into problems.

Schroder is still a pass-first player, missing six of his first seven shots while turning down a number of wide-open looks from 3. Richardson missed all three of his shots, mostly from the midrange and Horford continues to live outside the paint (four of his five shots came from 3. That will be no problem on nights when the perimeter shots are falling but Monday night was not one of them (Boston shot 33 percent through the first three quarters with the regulars and just 27 percent from 3-point range).

YOUNG TALENT SHOWS RESOLVE

The Celtics have a lot of recent first-round picks with limited experience fighting for opportunities on the bench, but none made a strong case to earn one of the final one or two available spots in Boston’s rotation. Nesmith played with lots of energy but was shaky defensively before a strong fourth quarter. Pritchard knocked down a few perimeter shots but looked overmatched at times against the Magic’s young guards. Romeo Langford did not even get off the bench until the fourth quarter as he looked to be the odd man out in the early mixing and matching in Ime Udoka’s rotation. Grant Williams already looks to be behind Hernangomez in the power forward depth chart based on the Spaniard getting the surprise start in the opener.

The Celtics have a lot invested in these guys with limited resources to improve the roster for future seasons and they brought in a lot of competition this offseason to ensure they would have to earn their opportunities. After a sensational Summer League for the entire group, it was an uninspiring preseason opener for that group of youngsters against better (but not impressive) competition in Orlando for the first three quarters. However, the entire group delivered late with Nesmith delivering some timely offense in the fourth quarter (eight points in the frame), Langford hitting the go-ahead 3 and Pritchard delivering some key plays on both ends down the stretch.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.