By John Denton
April 13, 2013
The Celtics led by six after one period, by 20 points at the half and by 21 after three periods. The Magic never led, never got closer than 19 points in the second half and never had much of a chance because of 42.7 percent shooting and 59.3 percent shooting by the Celtics. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was upset that his team failed to carry over the momentum from Wednesday’s win to Saturday.
``It’s a great lesson for us going forward that when you win one game it has no carryover from the last game and it doesn’t mean a thing,’’ Vaughn said. ``Now (after winning one game) can you prepare yourself for the next game? We have a lot of work to do and we’ll do it. … (Consistency) is one of the steps that we have to take. You have to prepare yourself, and that starts at the beginning of the day thinking about your matchup, thinking about game plan. Then, maybe when things don’t go your way, you have a place of calm because you have prepared yourself. That’s where a player should live – being prepared and being consistent.’’
Nikola Vucevic and Harris helped the Magic do something no NBA team has done in 46 years when they both had at least 30 points and 19 rebounds in Wednesday’s win. But neither was much of a factor on Saturday as Orlando struggled to get any sort of offensive flow going against the still-rugged Celtics.
Vucevic recorded his 44th double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, but many of those came after the game was out of reach. Harris, who set up Wednesday’s win with a clutch last-second 3-pointer, missed his first eight shots on Saturday, finished just seven of 16 and scored 22 points. Sixteen of those points came in the third quarter, but it was the sluggish first quarter that ate away at him after the game.
``They made their shots and played about as well as they can play and we just didn’t respond, including myself,’’ Harris said. ``It was like we were trying to get back into it instead of getting down on the defensive end and doing what we do best.’’
Rookie center Kyle O’Quinn got the start at power forward for his defense, but he also struggled on both ends of the floor. He missed eight of 10 shots and fouled out after 25 minutes. He had four points and six rebounds.
Kevin Garnett, who has been out much of the past month with an ankle injury, had 14 points and nine rebounds in just 17 minutes. Paul Pierce, also struggling with an ankle issue, had 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds in 26 minutes.
``We have to take what the Celtics taught us tonight and come out to play every night,’’ O’Quinn said. ``They hit us first when they didn’t need to. They’ve already clinched a playoff shot and what is this game really doing for them? But they went out there and played like they needed this (win) right here. That was the most impressive thing. That’s what we have to learn from.’’
The Magic play the final game at the Amway Center on Monday night against the Chicago Bulls. Orlando then closes the regular season in Miami against the Heat on Wednesday night.
Even though it had played a night earlier in Miami, Boston dominated the game on both ends of the floor in the first half, racing to a 57-37 lead behind some impressive shooting and stellar defense. The Celtics shot 53.3 percent and got 10 points from Pierce, Green and former Magic forward Brandon Bass.
The Magic were a mess offensively from the start Saturday night and it carried throughout the first half. Orlando missed its first six shots, putting it in a 9-0 hole before converting its first basket.
The shooting woes continues throughout an otherwise dismal first half as Orlando made only 32 percent of its shots in the first quarter and 10 of 33 at one point in the second quarter. For the half, the Magic shot just 32.7 percent, allowing the Celtics to blow the lead out to as much as 20 points.
Fresh off a stellar 30-point, 19-rebound performance on Wednesday against Milwaukee, Harris struggled through a dismal first half. He was hounded by Jeff Green and Brandon Bass and missed his first eight shots. He made his next two tries, but finished the first half just two for 11 with six points.
``We have to take notes from a game like this,’’ Harris said. ``Forget what the score was, we have to learn from this. As a young team, (consistency) is the next step. We have to know going forward that we can worry about the game that we played last and instead just worry about the game that’s present and in front of us. We can’t get content and settled.’’
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