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The Boston Celtics host the struggling Orlando Magic, they look to solidify their position atop first place in the standings. Even with Avery Bradley out of the lineup tonight, the C's should be able to take care of business and get an easy win. As the C's have dropped the ball recently against lesser opponents, coach Brad Stevens knows that his team will need to come out ready to compete.



Boston found themselves down early in the first quarter, 12-6. Aaron Gordon hit a few of unexpected jumpshots, while Elfrid Payton got off to a nice start with a bucket and a couple of assists.



Orlando dominated the boards, while also playing solid help defense that frustrated the C's offense. It wasn't until two mintues left in the quarter when the Celtics were able to take their first lead. After a much needed Gerald Green buzzer-beater, Boston was able to build some momentum for the second quarter.





Both teams came out firing up threes, Terrance Ross, Terry Rozier and even Amir Johnson all found their range from beyond the arc to begin the second. Turnovers soon became a problem for each side, throwing away multiple possessions in a row.



Down by three with four mintues to play, Brad Stevens was visibly frustrated with his rookie Jaylen Brown after some questionable shot selection.



From this point on the offense completely stalled out and the Magic took advantage, going up by as much as 13 points.





Luckily, the C's offense was able to somewhat recover, cutting the deficit in half before the break. Gordon led all scorers with 20 points, while his teammate Payton was on triple-double alert. Al Horford somehow went 0-3 from the field, really struggling to get his touches for the game.



Out of halftime Ross continued to kill the Celtics defense, expanding their lead to double-digits again. Horford was then finally able to get on the scoreboard, and IT was able to drill back-to-back triples. Orlando up 76-73, Vogel was forced to call a timeout to try and slow down the pace of the game.





For every time Boston was able to go on a run and take the lead, Orlando somehow matched them with a basket of their own. Neither team has yet to gain any control over this game.



With a transition three late in the third, Crowder was able to expand on the C's biggest lead of the game, 90-86.





To start the fourth, IT and C's built themselves a nice 7 point lead that quickly diminished with a quick Orlando run, thanks in part by Jodie Meeks. With seven mintues left in the game, both teams were tied 105-105.





Orlando was able to retake the lead with a pair of Gordon free throws, 109-107. This lead change marked the fifteenth of this closely contested game.





At the last second, the Celtics were able to hold on 117-116, after Payton missed a contested lay-up at the basket.







Player of the Game: Isaiah Thomas (35pts/7asts/3rebs)





Follow Spencer Tawes on Twitter: @SWTawes


Spencer Tawes 3/31/2017 10:03:00 PM Edit
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