The Boston Celtics poured it on against the Orlando Magic despite missing their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas and won 117-87. After a tightly contested first half that ended with Boston down by one, the C's put it all together in the second half and blew out Orlando behind an impressive offensive showing.
An all around team effort led to four Boston starters scoring in double figures. Rookie Jaylen Brown and second-year player, Terry Rozier, came off the bench to chip in 13 and 16 points respectively. Avery Bradley was Boston's leading scorer with 23 points.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, showcasing good defense and ball movement from both teams. The Achilles Heel for the C's in the first quarter? Perimeter defense. Boston allowed Orlando to shoot 4 of 4 from long range midway through the opening frame after an Aaron Gordon three that put the Magic up by six.
After the shot Avery Bradley was assessed a technical foul for being too demonstrative to the referee, leading to a free-throw for Orlando that put them up 20-13.
Boston would then go on a 10-3 run, capped by three free-throws by Avery Bradley and an Al Horford dunk to tie the game 23-23 at the 3:12 mark. Some sloppy ball by the second unit of both teams ended the first with an Orlando lead, 27-26. Unsung hero of the quarter? Marcus Smart, of course. He was 2 of 2 from the field and made his lone long range shot and was his usual pesty, frustrating but aggressive self:
Marcus Smart is an alien who sees the future. pic.twitter.com/expWtNYMzJ— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) December 8, 2016
It’s not easy to get THIS lost on a screen, but DJ Augustin pulled it off somehow. pic.twitter.com/0m2xONIUrU— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) December 8, 2016
In the second frame a monstrous dunk by C's rookie Jaylen Brown put the C's up by one to give them their first lead of the night 28-27.
Jaylen Brown may want to lay low for a while. pic.twitter.com/vfVLMrOk8k— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) December 8, 2016
We finally had a Gerald Green sighting in the second as coach Stevens opted to go with a full bench lineup. Two things of note - Kelly Olynyk looks great as a facilitator and Terry Rozier can undoubtedly get to the rim. Early in the second there was a sequence that saw KO passing the ball to Rozier out of a spin move at the top of the key that led to a contested layup.
Speaking of Rozier, the second year player was his usual aggressive self and put up six quick points and a steal by the 7:20 mark. A Gerald Green assist to Jaylen Brown for a dunk would make it a 36-35 lead for Boston. But a three-pointer by Serge Ibaka would put Orlando back up 40-36 with 5:31 to go.
Nice pass by Gerald to Jaylen for the dunk. Followed by a steal by Green and then TO. The Gerald Green experience.— CelticsLife.com (@CelticsLife) December 8, 2016
Another great defensive play by Smart led to a steal, a foul and two made free-throws to put the C's up 42-42 with 3:41 left in the first half. But back-to-back three-point shots by Orlando would put them up 46-44 with a little over a minute to go. The two teams would exchange three's to end the first half with an Orlando lead 50-49. Unfortunately, permiter defense continues to be a problem for the C's as they allowed Orlando to shoot 8 of 10 from distance in the first half.
Marcus Smart is up to three awesome defensive plays in this one, although one was a foul.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) December 8, 2016
Boston played aggressively out of the gate in the third quarter and would go up by five after a Marcus Smart floater. The C's, after a shot clock violation by Orlando, would increase their lead to seven after an Amir Johnson dunk. Stifling defense and three-point shots by Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder would put the C's up 67-54 with 6:22 left in the third.
Celtics putting in work in the 3rd quarter. Open up 13 point lead after Crowder basket.— CelticsLife.com (@CelticsLife) December 8, 2016
Boston would continue its strong play on both ends and would go up 75-58 at the 3:40 mark after a Jeff Green foul on Avery Bradley. An and-one on a drive to the basket by Jaylen Brown would further bury Orlando, 78-60. At this point it looked like the Magic's tired legs on the second night of a back-to-back were catching up to them. However, Orlando would go on a 13-7 run to finish off the third but would still find themselves down 85-73.
Another strong 3Q effort allows the C's to surge ahead of Orlando for an 85-73 lead. AB is leading the charge with 23 pts, 4 rbds & 3 asts.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 8, 2016
Not only was the C's offensive distribution encouraging through three quarters, their rebounding numbers were, too. At the start of the final frame, Boston was out rebounding Orlando 31-27, surely a proud moment for C's fans thus far this season.
Boston would build their lead to 16 after an Amir Johnson and-one that put the C's up 93-77 with 9:12 left in the game. A few plays later, Kelly Olynyk would hit a layup on a fastbreak by Al Horford to make the score 100-79. The C's would coast to the finish line and finish the game with their second highest scoring output this season, 117-87.
Photo credit: Fernando Medina/Getty Images
Follow Luis on Twitter @luisdgnyc
Luis Gonzalez 12/07/2016 09:27:00 PM Tweet Edit