With a win tonight in Orlando, the Celtics had a chance to leapfrog Atlanta and Chicago into the 3rd seed in the East. But after a promising 1st quarter, the C’s parlayed poor shot selection and shaky defense into a 119-114 loss.
The Celtics started red hot (7-12 from 3) in large part because the Magic were content with going under screens for Isaiah Thomas. Orlando might want to rethink those bonuses for the scouting department. Not to be outdone by this All-Star teammate, Marcus Smart closed the quarter with 3 straight 3s and the Celtics led 32-24.
The long range shooting dried up in the 2nd quarter (1-8 and I’m holding Mike D accountable) but the Cs maintained their lead thanks to the mid-range game of Evan Turner and Orlando’s inability to, what’s the word I’m looking for… score.
Boston stretched the lead to 13 with a 10-2 at the start of the 3rd quarter but fortune faded fast. Aided by the Celtics shaky shot selection, Orlando ripped off a 16-2 run. Simply put, the Magic were out-hustling and out-executing the Celtics. The C’s took the ball to the hoop with a bit more consistency at the end of the quarter and finished knotted at 81.
C’s rediscovered their 3-point range early in the 4th, mostly due to penetration and crisper passing. But the success was short-lived because Orlando’s offense exploded. Evan Fournier (24 pts) and Mario Hezonja (17 pts) triggered a 21-5 Magic run that
put this game away. Seven straight points by Marcus Smart made this a one possession game (117-114) with 14 seconds remaining, but 2 FTs by Nikola Vucevic iced the game.
This is one of those games where you wish the C’s had that one guy who could take over the offense, either by getting hot or getting to the line.
Marcus Smart scored a game high 26 points on 8-16 shooting. His scoring came in bunches: 9 straight to end the 1st and 7 straight to end the game.
Amir Johnson worked his ass off on the boards (11 rebounds, 6 offensive).
Orlando scored 72 points in the 2nd half.
Jae Crowder (5 points, 1-6 3 FG, game high -15) had one of his worst games. Felt like he rushed just about every shot.
I’ve had a few days to digest Elfrid Payton’s hair still looks absolutely ridiculous.
Smart’s triple to beat the 1st quarter buzzer
Marcus Smart is feeling confident from beyond the arc lately. How confident? This should show you: pic.twitter.com/w81IG95oYr
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 31, 2016
- The Celtics made a season high 16 threes
- The Celtics took a season high 46 threes
- Evan Turner picked up 2 quick techs late in the 4th and was ejected