C's Fall to Magic in Summer League Opener
ORLANDO – The Boston Celtics fell 95-88 to the Orlando Magic on Sunday in the opening contest of their five-game summer league schedule. Boston and Orlando went back and forth for the duration of the game, but the Magic pulled away in the final minutes to grab the victory.
The Celtics crept back to within five points when Tony Mitchell tipped home a missed shot with 2:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, the Magic responded immediately with an and-one layup from second-year big man Kyle O’Quinn. Maurice Harkless followed O’Quinn just moments later with a thunderous slam that gave Orlando the only double-digit lead of the game with 1:13 remaining.
That double-digit deficit wasn’t enough to make the Celtics bow down. Fab Melo provided two free throws with 37.7 seconds left on the clock to bring his team back to within eight points, and then the C’s began to purposely foul with the hope of gaining ground on missed free throws. Boston cut the lead down to seven at one point but ran out of time in its comeback bid.
It was fitting that this game was competitive into the final 30 seconds, seeing as neither team was willing to back down after the opening tip.
Boston led for the majority of the first quarter thanks to an impressive frame from Kelly Olynyk. He scored nine points in the quarter to lead all scorers. His teammate, Jayson Granger, closed out the first period with a 3-pointer to put the C’s on top 26-22.
The Celtics remained on top until Andrew Nicholson scored five consecutive points for the Magic midway through the second quarter. Those points put Orlando on top 34-33, and Doron Lamb added on a 3-pointer to give the Magic a four-point advantage. Orlando took a 47-42 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Things were looking good for the Celtics in the early moments of the third, as their twin towers, Olynyk and Fab Melo, combined to score the first four points. Olynyk, however, was forced to the bench at the 6:07 mark of the frame after picking up his sixth foul.
Olynyk remained on the bench for the remainder of the quarter while his teammates battled the Magic on the court. Eight points from Mitchell and six from Tim Abromaitis sparked Boston to a 71-70 lead heading into the final frame.
The C’s and Magic went back-and-forth for the first few minutes of the fourth quarter before Orlando rattled off six straight points to take an 87-80 lead with 3:04 remaining. Just more than a minute later, O’Quinn and Harkless partnered up to give the Magic an insurmountable lead.
Each team was led by stellar performances from their respective 2013 first-round picks. Olynyk, the 13th overall pick, was Boston’s top performer with a game-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Orlando was paced by 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists from the No. 2 overall pick, Victor Oladipo. Each team’s starting center also played well, as Melo totaled nine points and eight rebounds and O’Quinn notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.
The Magic are scheduled to open up Monday’s play at 11 a.m. against Oklahoma City, while the Celtics will take on the Detroit Pistons at 3 p.m.