Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Orlando had lost 12 of its last 13 going into the game and looked headed for another defeat when its defense and perimeter shooting came alive. The Magic shot 56.8 percent and limited Boston to just 40 percent in the second half.
The Magic were down 95-90 when Harris started the game-deciding rally with a traditional three-point play. Fournier and Hezonja followed with three straight 3-pointers against a relaxed Boston defense and, suddenly, the Magic were up 108-97.
“I thought we played really porous defense in the fourth quarter,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “We didn’t challenge the right guys, we let their perimeter guys get really comfortable and they took advantage of it.”
ESPN Boston – Magic rally to beat Celtics
That the Celtics were up by double-digits in the second half last night surprised the heck out of me. As John mentioned earlier yesterday, this game was bound to be far more of a grind than Friday night’s home tilt against this same Magic team. Orlando had shown no resistance in the second half of that one and with an eight game losing streak weighing on a team with some talented, young pieces, one could expect a wire-to-wire Magic victory, much like the Nets victory over the Cs in a similar home-and-home in November.
But that’s what makes last night’s loss all the less palatable. The Celtics looked like the Cs of Friday night early in the third quarter, using defense to fuel its offense and push a lead to double-digits. Come midway through the fourth, however, and the Celtics looked far more like the team of late December & early January, failing to hold on to a late lead in a game that was right there for them to take.
Perhaps chalk this one up to an angrier, more desperate team playing with nothing to lose, but what makes this one hard to swallow for Cs fans is that for the first two and a half quarters, the Celtics were that angrier, more desperate team — they just couldn’t sustain it for four quarters. Let’s hope that’s not the reintroduction of a troubling, late-game trend.
Related links: Herald – Celtics tumble in Orlando
On page 2, Evan Turner puts his money where his mouth is
Turner explained his version of what happened to the media following the game.
“I was thinking the flow of the game didn’t really balance itself out with everything that was being called,” Turner told reporters after the loss. “That was just crazy and I pretty much said that was BS; I rarely say anything.
Turner added, “But people are human. I made a mistake. That dude (official Sean Corbin) made a bad call, simple as that. So I mean, I’m an idiot because he has a whistle. So when he has a bad day at home or anything else, he takes it out there and that’s what he did tonight. I’m out 5,000 dollars off of … that was a horrible call.”
Well, at least ET won’t be surprised when that letter/call comes from the NBA office. Crazy enough, the two points that Turner cost the Cs, which seemed insignificant at the time, played a bit of a role in the outcome. The game surely plays out differently without Turner’s antics, but the Celtics were down just three with under 15 seconds to play in this one, which seemed wholly impossible at the time of Turner’s ejection.
The ejection was out of character for Turner, but his post-game remarks were anything but.
Related links: Mass Live – Evan Turner rips into referees after late ejection
And finally, this is the week we should hear that KO is in the 3-point contest
Olynyk has a good chance of being in the field when 3-point contest participants are announced on Thursday for All-Star weekend in Toronto. Beyond the fact that the game is being played in Olynyk’s hometown, he’s one of the hottest shooters in the league right now.
Brad Stevens, asked if Olynyk’s rise is the result of improvement as a shooter as well as increased confidence, went with the first option.
“Kelly has been a good shooter from the moment he walked into our building, but he works very hard on shooting,” said the Celtics coach. “You’re going to have incremental improvements from a percentage standpoint just by the amount of hard work he puts in. But it’s more experience and feel for where he’s going to get the ball, things like that. There’s not been one day that we’ve said, ‘Hey, why don’t you pass the ball?’ He’s wanted to shoot it from Day 1, so it’s good to see him aggressive and having that mindset.
“He hasn’t said anything to me about it, but I think it would be great,” Stevens said of Olynyk joining the 3-point field. “As long as he continues to shoot it near the top of the league, it makes sense to be invited.”
Hopefully the NBA turns a blind-eye to Kelly’s 0-5 performance from beyond the arc in Orlando last night. As has been noted, Olynyk not only deserves this opportunity with his torrid shooting from downtown, but as a native Canadian, should get the honor of hoisting 3s in an attempt to upset Steph Curry two weeks from now.
It would be a major upset if Kelly’s name isn’t called to participate on all-star weekend.
The rest of the links:
ESPNBoston – Marcus Smart heats up despite Celtics’ loss | CSNNE – Jae Crowder injures leg in a rough night vs. Orlando Magic | Mass Live – Marcus Smart notches career night as Celtics launch record number of 3-pointers |