Watch It! - Magic at Celtics
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at TD Garden.
Bradley vs. Afflalo
Avery Bradley is Boston’s premiere defensive player. Arron Afflalo is Orlando’s go-to scorer. They’re going to see plenty of each other tonight.
Bradley made life difficult on Afflalo Friday night, but not difficult enough. Afflalo finished the contest with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Bradley spoke about the matchup following Friday night’s game when he said, “Afflalo’s been playing very well. I wanted to take the challenge to come out tonight and make everything hard on him to help my team.”
You can be sure that Bradley feels the same way tonight. He’ll want to have more success in that category in his second go-around.
Stop Feeding the Vuc?
Nikola Vucevic put up 30 points and 21 rebounds against the Clippers on Wednesday. After 12 minutes of play against the Celtics on Friday, it looked like he was going to do it again.
Vucevic scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed three rebounds in the first quarter of Friday’s game. The Celtics had no answers for him on the block early on.
Then things changed, and it wasn’t necessarily because of Boston’s defense. The Magic stopped feeding their big man and he attempted only six more shots in the entire game, leading to just two more points. Odds are that Orlando recognized that after the game and will get the ball back to Vucevic tonight.
Continue Humming on Offense
Saturday night’s game in Miami featured Boston’s top offensive performance of the season. The Celtics shot 51.7 percent against the Heat and made 10 of their 21 3-pointers (47.6 percent). Jeff Green paced the C’s with 24 points, including his game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Boston would love to put together another offensive performance like that tonight. Doing so, however, will be quite the challenge.
Orlando ranks second in the league when it comes to opponent field goal percentage. The Magic’s opponents have hit just 40.3 percent of their shots this season. Boston managed to hit just 35.8 percent of its attempts Friday night when it faced Orlando’s strong defense.
These two teams were trending in opposite directions heading into Friday’s matchup. That fact holds true as we approach tonight’s game, but the script has been flipped.
Orlando was the talk of the league prior to Friday night’s contest thanks to three consecutive wins against legitimate teams. It had just beaten New Orleans, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers in a span of six days. Boston, on the other hand, had opened its season with four straight losses.
Fast-forward to today and you’ll find that the Celtics are now the hot team, while the Magic are struggling. Boston has won three straight and just took down the defending champs. Orlando, meanwhile, has lost two straight against teams that were below the .500 mark prior to their matchup.
The Return of Bass
Brandon Bass didn’t miss Saturday night’s win over the Miami Heat, but it almost felt like he did. Bass played only 15 minutes while struggling with foul trouble throughout the contest.
The Celtics look forward to having him back on the floor for extended minutes tonight. Bass has led the team in scoring in three of Boston’s seven games, including a 16-point effort against Orlando Friday night. He has been successful at the offensive end by hitting 47.9 percent of his shots and 90 percent of his free throws this season.