Celtics pull some rabbits out of their hats, defeat the Orlando Magic, 95-88.
They did it again. After seeming to play through quicksand wearing goggles for three quarters, the Boston Celtics gave us all reason to believe that they make not only make the playoffs, but that they also might provide some entertaining games, coming from behind and defeating the Orlando Magic in Boston, 95-88.
It was accurately reported midway through the first quarter by Mike Gorman that "it's not pretty, but it is close".
Throughout the very beginning and beyond, various Celtics players took shots at the hoop, more of which turned into rebound opportunities than points. After the anemic start which found the men in green down early, they finished the first quarter on a small run that closed the gap to a more respectable deficit, 23-19.
The middle two quarters found the Celtics down from pretty much 6 to 10 points throughout. Flirting on numerous occasions with making a run at closing the gap, the Celtics would too often make a nice move only to miss a routine shot at the rim.
The Magic looked much better than their 21-45 record throughout most of the contest, quick to loose balls, active on defense and composed in timely shot-making.
Elfrid Payton, whose hairdo should always be a technical foul, was strong for Orlando, as he was also not too long ago when Boston lost to the Magic in Florida. After a a slow start from the field, Evan Turner put together a nice string of scoring in the third to keep the deficit in single digits.
After taking a 50-40 lead at the half, Orlando was beaten in the third quarter 26-22, but still entered the fourth 72-66.
But NBA games are 48 minutes long, not 36. And this is a new look Celtics team, not the group that started the year.
And these guys usually grind it our to the end of late. Tonight was no different.
Fueled by a desire to continue their winning ways and serenaded by a suddenly loud crowd, the Celtics outscored the Magic 29-16 in the last frame to seemingly steal this game. Final score was 95-88.
Evan Turner led the Celtics with 30 points on 12-20 from the field, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
Elfrid Payton was strong for the losing Magic with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists.
The Celtics take their strong play into Indiana tomorrow night in a nationally televised game against the Indiana Pacers that starts at 7:00pm.