Aaron Nesmith makes case to start

Celtics-Magic takeaways: Nesmith continues to pop originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics were without most of their starters in Wednesday night’s preseason game vs. the Orlando Magic. Jaylen Brown and Al Horford were out due to health and safety protocols while Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Josh Richardson and Dennis Schroder rested.

The result was the C’s first loss of the preseason as the Magic drilled a game-winner with 0.2 seconds on the clock. Boston will look to finish the preseason strong on Friday when they visit the Miami Heat.

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Here are three instant takeaways from Wednesday’s defeat.

Aaron Nesmith makes case to be in starting lineup

Nesmith just continues to impress as he prepares for his second NBA season. Boston’s 2020 first-round draft pick stood out as one of the Celtics’ best players in the 2021 Summer League tournament and hasn’t slowed down through the first three preseason matchups.

On Wednesday night, Nesmith dropped a game-high 23 points while adding four assists, two rebounds and a steal in 27 minutes. The 21-year-old went 8-for-16 from the field and hit four of his eight 3-point attempts.

As our Chris Forsberg recently explained, starting Nesmith may be a wise choice for Ime Udoka and Co. this season. He still has a long way to go in his development, but his shooting prowess and energetic presence could pair well with the Jays. Meanwhile, Josh Richardson and Dennis Schroder would provide much-needed scoring for the second unit.

We probably won’t see Nesmith in the starting lineup to begin the campaign, but it’s something to ponder as the season goes on.

Jabari Parker fights for 15th roster spot

The battle for the 15th spot on the Celtics roster rages on, and Jabari Parker is looking like the frontrunner. He may have sealed the deal after Wednesday night’s showing.

Parker shined in the first half with 10 points in eight minutes off the bench. He drilled two of his three 3-point attempts and added a rebound and steal to the stat sheet.

Also battling for the 15th roster spot was Garrett Matthews. He ended up with seven points (2-for-7 from 3), three rebounds and an assist in 20 minutes.

Robert Williams’ hustle on display

A regular-season game, a playoff game, a preseason game with no other starters active. It doesn’t matter. Robert Williams comes to play.

Time Lord’s hustle was noticeable throughout the contest. The fourth-year big man was all over the court despite being the only Celtics starter playing in the exhibition. He ended up with eight points, seven rebounds, five rebounds, two steals, a block and an assist.

The soon-to-be 24-year-old is poised to take another step forward in his development after a strong 2020-21 season.

Boston wraps up its preseason Friday vs. the Heat, then will get ready for its regular-season opener Oct. 20 vs. the New York Knicks.