Celts Dominate Magic, Finish Week at 4-1
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Boston Celtics wrapped up their stay in the Orlando Pro Summer League with a 4-1 record after crushing the Magic 94-73 Friday morning. Dionte Christmas starred for Boston with a game-high 21 points.
Christmas has been one of the best players in the league all week long and he continued that trend on Friday. He scored 11 unanswered points in the second quarter to turn a 31-31 game into an 11-point lead for the Celtics. Boston’s lead hovered around double-digits for the remainder of the second quarter before the C’s turned the game into a laugher in the third period.
Boston’s domination of the second half was jumpstarted by none other than Christmas, who put home the first basket of the third quarter with a runner off the glass. Shortly thereafter, E’Twaun Moore drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and then Christmas found Fab Melo for a layup in transition with an incredible behind-the-back pass. Moore then grabbed a steal and tacked on a layup to cap a 9-0 run to start the half.
That run turned a 10-point halftime lead into 19-point lead just minutes into the third quarter. Boston’s pulled ahead by as many as 29 points when Sean Williams threw down a highlight-reel dunk off of an offensive rebound.
The Celtics’ dominance arrived despite the fact that Jared Sullinger (rest) did not play and Kris Joseph (hip flexor) played only eight minutes. Outside of Joseph, every other Celtics player who appeared in the game played between 19 and 24 minutes.
With the result of this game pretty much decided by the end of the third quarter, Tyronn Lue was afforded the opportunity to give extra minutes to some of the players who have been at the end of his bench. A couple of them took advantage of their playing time and gained momentum in their final step before the Las Vegas Summer League begins on Monday.
Larry Owens came off the bench to score 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting. He displayed a wide array of skills at the offensive end, as he put home a couple of jump hooks off of post moves and also shot 2-of-2 from 3-point range. Craig Brackins also impressed with his 10 points and four rebounds during 21 minutes of action.
The blowout victory in Orlando capped a successful week for the Celtics, who are guaranteed at least a tie for the best record in the league with four wins in five games. Many summer league teams struggle to play as a unit, seeing as many players are trying to score as much as possible in order to stand out to scouts. As Lue said after Friday’s contest, his team avoided such a plague.
“It was our emphasis as a coaching staff just to make sure that we played together,” said Lue. “Take your shot, play your game, but if you don’t have it move the ball and make the extra pass. I thought they bought into it right away.”
While Boston finished the week at 4-1, Orlando dropped to 2-3. The Magic were led by 16 points from Justin Harper, but all five of their starters finished with a plus/minus rating of at least minus-18.
The Celtics will fly out of Orlando this evening and head to Las Vegas, where they will play five games over the course of seven days. Their first contest of the week will be at 4 p.m. on Monday against the Atlanta Hawks.