Denton: Magic vs. Celtics Analysis (2/2/14)

   

Sunday’s game was the fourth and final meeting between the Magic and Celtics. Boston won the first two meetings – 91-89 in Orlando and 120-105 in Orlando. The Magic rebounded to defeat the Celtics 93-91 in Orlando on Jan. 19.

The game was the sixth time that the Magic have played on Super Bowl Sunday in their 25-year history. Oddly, it was the fourth time that Orlando was in Boston on the same day as the Super Bowl. Home games on Super Sunday are a tradition in Boston.

The Magic will be back in action again on Monday when they face the rugged Pacers in Indianapolis. Indiana not only has the NBA’s best record at 36-10, but it also has the league’s best home record at 22-2. The Pacers rallied to beat the Magic 97-87 in the first game of the NBA season on Oct. 29.

The game seemed to turn around early in the third quarter when Rondo picked up his third and fourth fouls. Not long after Rondo went to the bench, Orlando put on a run that got them to within 59-55 – as close as it had been since leading the game 12-10 in the first quarter. The Magic ultimately headed into the fourth period trailing just 71-64 after Boston (eight of 22) bogged down in the third quarter without Rondo running the offense.

The Magic trailed 54-45 at the half, and they were lucky to be that close considering how sharp the Celtics were in the early going. Boston made 54 percent of its shots and battered the Magic from the inside (24 points in paint) and outside (three 3-pointers).

With the Magic playing without Nelson, Oladipo had a big load on his shoulders organizing the offense and trying to slow down Rondo. And the Celtics’ superstar had the best of that matchup early in the game. While Rondo missed just one of his first seven shots, Oladipo made just one of his six tries in the first half. Rondo gave his team 13 points and four assists, while Oladipo managed just a pull-up jumper, three free throws and two assists in the first half.

Indiana, the site of Monday’s game, is where Oladipo’s pro career started and the Indiana University grad was cheered wildly by Hoosiers fans who packed the building back in October to see the guard play. Oladipo feels he’s grown immensely as a ball-handler in the time since the start of the season. And he’s eager to show it off on Monday when he’ll start a second straight game as Orlando’s primary ball-handler.

``There are still some points where I shouldn’t be so aggressive or where I need to be more aggressive,’’ Oladipo said while critiquing his own game. ``I need to get my teammates involved more. I’m going to watch the tape from (Sunday’s game) and learn from it and I will try to be effective (on Monday).’’

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