Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 78, Magic 86
Celtics 86, Magic 78
After the Orlando Magic jumped ahead 13-0 to start this afternoon’s game, it looked like the key moment had happened in the first 150 seconds of the contest.
And when the Celtics responded to Orlando’s opening run with a 46-23 push of their own, it looked like a new key moment had most certainly been established.
But when all was said and done, neither of those runs even mattered because Orlando managed to score 14 of the game’s final 15 points to earn a 86-78 victory and end Boston’s 14-game win streak.
Paul Pierce has filled in admirably as a point-forward during Rajon Rondo’s absence, but even he couldn’t jumpstart the Celtics’ offense down the stretch of this game. The C’s were able to score only one point over the final 3:19 of the game, and it came via a free throw by Kevin Garnett. Boston missed all of its final seven shot attempts and only made one trip to the line, which resulted in Garnett’s free throw.
The Magic didn’t allow that cold spell to make its way to their end of the court, though. While Boston was throwing up bricks and airballs, Orlando located its stroke just in the nick of time.
Dwight Howard, who struggled with foul trouble all afternoon, began Orlando’s run with a free throw, but Jameer Nelson was the one who took over down the stretch. He, too, had played poorly for nearly the entire game before coming up huge in the final minutes. He made two 3-pointers in a span of 1:12, the first of which cut Boston’s lead to two. The second trey may have been the biggest shot of the game, as it put the Magic ahead 80-77 with 1:19 remaining and blew the roof off of the new Amway Center.
After Garnett’s free throw, J.J. Redick nailed a difficult 20-foot jumper from the top of the key to put the Magic up by four with just 43 seconds remaining and Nelson’s four free throws sealed up the win.
This afternoon’s contest opened with two huge runs, but Orlando’s final spurt was by far the biggest of the game. It was enough to hand the Celtics a loss for the first time since Nov. 21, and that’s saying something.
Key Box Score Line
Paul Pierce started this game out as the hot hand for Boston, but when he went cold in the second half, it was Kevin Garnett who stepped in to keep the team’s winning hopes alive.
Garnett finished the afternoon with 22 points on a red-hot 10-of-14 shooting effort from the floor. He wasn’t exactly dominant on the boards, grabbing only five, but he did make his presence felt defensively with four steals. He also scored the Celtics’ final seven points of the afternoon while all of his teammates went cold from the field.
Box Score Nuggets
- In a rare occurrence, the only Celtics who finished with a positive plus/minus rating were reserves Marquis Daniels and Glen Davis.
- Hedo Turkoglu finished with a game-high plus-30 plus/minus rating.
- Neither team recorded more than 16 assists.
- Brandon Bass led the Magic with 21 points. He also grabbed 11 boards.
- Ray Allen shot 3-of-13 from the field and Nate Robinson shot 2-of-15.
- Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
- Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field.
- Dwight Howard grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
- Howard scored only six points and attempted only four shots.
- Not a single player in the game recorded a double-double.
- The teams combined for only 46 points in the paint, 24 by Boston and 22 by Orlando.
- Five starters (three for Boston, two for Orlando) did not reach double-figures in points.
- Orlando attempted 29 3-pointers, 11 of which were made.
- Shaquille O'Neal finished with only two points and one rebound.
- Paul Pierce had a team-high five assists but also committed five turnovers.
- Glen Davis scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.
- Howard blocked five of Boston's shots.
- The Celtics shot 18-of-21 (85.7 percent) from the line, while Orlando shot only 19-of-29 (65.5 percent).
Quote of the Night
Glen Davis on how the Celtics and Magic would match up in the playoffs: "They came out and played better than us today, but if you are talking about a seven game series I don’t think they can beat us."