For a second there I thought we were going to see another collapse against the Orlando Magic. The Celtics came out to a nice lead, gave it all back, got it all back (and then some) and then nearly gave it all way again. The non-Isaiah-Thomas lineups were an adventure again, but Isaiah was so good for so much of this game (as were Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk) that it was enough to lift the Celtics to a much-needed 107-96 win.
It was just as cold inside the Garden as it was outside to start the game, with neither team able to hit much early on. The teams combined for 16-48 shooting… a whopping 33%. But within that dismal number was an above the break 3 from Evan Turner (I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself after that news), a pair of 3’s from Kelly Olynyk, and 5-8 shooting by Isaiah Thomas who checked in with a 9 point opening frame.
The Celtics got torched to open the 2nd quarter as Orlando used a 13-4 run to take a 4 point lead. But the Celtics came back mid-way through the quarter… ripping off an 11-4 run of their own and getting the lead back up to 6 by the 2-minute timeout. This turned into a little bit of a shootout capped by Olynyk’s 3rd 3 and 15th points of the night on a sweet, patient set that got him a wide open look. Olynyk & Thomas each had 15 in the half, Bradley had 14… it felt like almost all of them came off of steals. The Celtics held a 24-10 fastbreak point edge at the break.
After some back-and-forth to start the 2nd half, the Celtics, more specifically Isaiah Thomas, decided to start putting on a bit of a show. Thomas whipped off an entertaining array of passes and finishes at the rim that seemed to spread to the rest of the team (IT INCLUDED ANOTHER TURNER 3!) as the Celtics pushed their lead up to 13.
Isaiah came out to start the 4th and Orlando immediately made a 10-3 run.. cutting a once 14 point Celtics lead down to a two possession game. But instead of collapsing this time, the Celtics closed out the Magic, mostly behind Avery Bradley who had a bunch of clutch rebounds and a couple of key buckets to keep Orlando at bay.
Amir Johnson is having a bit of a resurgence. He had a solid double-double (11 and 11) to go along with 3 blocks (including a key block of Aaron Gordon in the final minutes). He says the plantar fasciitis has gotten better… let’s hope because this type of effort goes a long way toward helping the C’s win.
Kelly Olynyk shed that compression thing on his shoulder and all did was shoot 7-12 (4-6 3pt) for 20 points.
Evan Turner hit 2 3’s tonight, and is 6-11 from 3 since the All Star break. These are actual facts, not a hallucination on either of our parts. Besides that, Turner continued his pretty good play from the past few months, filling the stat sheet and making some pretty nice plays.
Bradley was 3-3 from the field and 2-2 from the line for an 8 point 4th quarter. He added 4 rebounds and 2 assists for a nice end to a nice game.
Marcus Smart’s shooting has completely abandoned him (something discussed in the new Rainin’ J’s podcast). He shot 1 of 11 (0-5 from 3) in yet another frustrating night that saw him yanked in the final minutes of a tight game. By the time he hit the bench, he was visibly upset and frustrated by a lack of calls. I will say this… he had a point. Smart definitely deserved to take more than 1 free throw considering how he attacked for a good portion of the night. Yes, he took 5 3’s (and made none) but he also attacked plenty and got no calls.
Terry Rozier is getting chances to prove himself, but he’s more proving that he has a lot of work to do. I love that he’s getting a chance, but he put up 0 points, 1 assist, and 1 steal on a -13 night.
Olynyk closes the half with a 3
Isaiah Thomas is fancy
Evan Turner with the great find
Evan Turner’s got eyes in the back of his head! pic.twitter.com/GnZTLOlTmq
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 22, 2016
Isaiah pulls a Rondo, then scrapes the banners with the floater
- Turner: 16 points (7-11 fg, 2-2 3pt), 5 reb, 4 ast
- Thomas: 28 points (9-18 fg, 0-2 3pt, 10-12 ft), 5 reb, 7 ast
- Points in the Paint: Magic 54, Celtics 54
- Second Chance Points: Magic 5, Celtics 9
- Fastbreak Points: Magic 13, Celtics 29
Atlanta is still playing at the moment but they’re down as I type this. If they stay down, then the C’s move into a tie with them. Charlotte BEAT San Antonio to stay a half game back of Boston