FINAL: BOSTON CELTICS 91, ORLANDO MAGIC 80


GameNight Specifics
NBA Coverage: Game Info
Date: Sunday, Feb. 6
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Location: TD Garden (Boston, MA)
Radio: AM 580 WDBO, AM 1270 WRLZ
Television: ABC



PROJECTED MATCHUPS

LINEUPS MAY CHANGE BY GAME TIME


TEAM
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
R
R
MAGIC
Jameer Nelson

Jason Richardson

Dwight Howard

Ryan Anderson

Hedo Turkoglu

JJ Redick

Gilbert Arenas
CELTICS
Rajon Rondo

Ray Allen

Kendrick Perkins

Kevin Garnett

Paul Pierce

Marquis Daniels

Glen Davis





















GAME RECAP


BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo kept scoring inside while the Orlando Magic continued missing from outside.

Boston's pass-first point guard drove aggressively to the hoop and scored 26 points to lead the Celtics to a 91-80 win on Sunday.

"He totally dominated us," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said, "got where he wanted to go anytime he wanted to go."

With Rondo scoring 11 points, the Celtics extended a 46-43 halftime lead to 70-61 after the third quarter. They led by eight to 16 points the rest of the way.

Paul Pierce had 18 points and Kevin Garnett scored 16 for the Celtics, who improved to 23-4 at home. Dwight Howard had 28 points - only six in the second half - and 13 rebounds for the Magic, who lost for the fifth time in eight games despite playing tight defense on Pierce and Ray Allen.

"They didn't leave Ray or Paul's body. I tried to be aggressive," Rondo said. "The lane just opened up a lot more even though Dwight was down there."

The Celtics rallied after a scary injury to backup guard Marquis Daniels with 11:01 left in the second quarter. He was taken off the court on a stretcher after a collision with Gilbert Arenas and Orlando ahead 24-17.

Dr. Brian McKeon, the Celtics' team physician, said Daniels bruised his spinal cord. Danny Ainge, the team's president of basketball operations, said Daniels had full function and, as a best case, would miss one to two months.

The injury helped the Celtics "a lot," Rondo said. "It's crazy to say you have to wait for something to happen to get a boost. That's how it is."

Boston led by three at halftime and stretched that to 70-55 with 3:36 left in the third quarter. At that point, the Celtics had made 9 of their 10 shots in the period while the Magic had hit just 4 of 18.

"I just could not find anything for us to run to get a decent shot," Van Gundy said.

Orlando scored the last six points of the third quarter, cutting the lead to 70-61, but the Celtics came right back with a 7-2 run to go ahead 77-63.

"I thought Rondo took the third over," Garnett said. "In the second half, we had a lot more energy emotionally."

Allen made 2 of 4 3-point attempts and moved within three of the NBA record of 2,560 made 3-pointers held by Reggie Miller. Allen can improve on his total of 2,557 at Charlotte on Monday night.

The Magic made just 3 of 24 shots from 3-point range after entering the game ranked ninth in the NBA with a 36.8 percentage. They've taken and made the most 3-pointers in the league.

"If their 3-point game is going, they're going to be tough to beat," Pierce said. "We feel like Dwight couldn't beat us by himself."

Overall, the Magic took 30 more shots (32 for 93, 34.4 percent) than the Celtics (30 for 63, 47.6 percent) but made just two more. Ryan Anderson had 12 points for the Magic, but Gilbert Arenas was scoreless on seven shots and Hedo Turkoglu went 1 for 10 with 4 points.

"If we're going to come in on the road and play the Boston Celtics you've got to have guys playing at a very high level," Van Gundy said. "We didn't have a single perimeter guy have a good game."

Leading by three at halftime, Boston took control by scoring the first seven points of the third quarter, taking a 53-43 lead. Pierce began the spurt with a 15-footer, Garnett added a baseline jumper and Allen hit his second 3-pointer of the game.

Jason Richardson followed with a 3-pointer for the Magic before Rondo made two free throws and Pierce sank a layup for a 57-46 lead with 8:23 left in the quarter.

It was 65-55 before the Celtics ended the quarter with five straight points - a 3-pointer by Rondo and a layup by Garnett.

"The Miami Heat and Boston are rolling right now," Howard said of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. "We're going to be OK. We've got things we've got to work on."

The Magic had raced to a 12-2 lead before the Celtics took their first lead 41-40 with 1:01 left in the half on two free throws by Garnett.

Boston's Glen Davis bruised his head and Orlando's Jameer Nelson was kicked in the ribs when they collided under the Magic's basket with 3:57 left in the first quarter. Both left the game but returned in the second quarter.

Notes: Orlando F Brandon Bass missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... Boston C Shaquille O'Neal missed his second straight game, and is expected to sit out at least one more, with a sore right leg. ... Orlando's Howard, Nelson and Earl Clark received technical fouls in the first half. The Celtics had none for the game. ... The teams also met in Boston on Super Bowl Sunday last year with Orlando winning 96-89. ... Rondo had seven assists and six turnovers.





DENTON'S ANALYSIS AT CELTICS


BOSTON – For much of Sunday afternoon, Orlando Magic franchise center Dwight Howard had to feel as if he was not only going one-on-five against the Boston Celtics’ defenders, but more like one-on-nine because of the lack of support from his struggling teammates.

The Magic played with plenty of grit on Sunday, going back physically at the trash-talking Celtics on numerous occasions, but it’s the execution on both ends of the floor that was severely lacking in a 91-80 loss to Boston on Sunday.

Howard had 28 points and 13 rebounds, but there was too little help from a Magic team that shot a dismal 34.4 percent from the floor, made just three of 24 3-pointers and never got closer than eight points of the lead over the final 22 minutes.

Howard’s frustration throughout Orlando’s fifth loss in the last eight games was evident. After the game, the theme of his postgame speech seemed to be more of a plea for help than one where he was calling his teammates out. He knows the vast potential of the Magic (32-20), but he stressed the team needs more players bringing consistently better performances in big games such as Sunday’s against Boston.

``We have a talented group of guys who know how to play ball, but we just have to do it on a consistent basis. It can’t be just one or two guys playing hard and the rest just out there,’’ Howard said. ``It has to be a total team effort, especially when we play against a team like Boston because their total team is going to bring it every night and we have to do the same thing.’’

Orlando saw a dazzling start to the afternoon and a scrappy first half collapse under an avalanche of missed shots and blown defensive assignments. Gilbert Arenas (0 of 7, zero points), Hedo Turkoglu (1 of 10, four points), J.J. Redick (3 of 10, eight points) and Jason Richardson (4 of 11, 10 points) struggled through dismal shooting performances.

``This wasn’t to be negative or to get onto anybody, but if you’re going to come in on the road and play the Boston Celtics, you’re going to need a lot of guys playing at a high level,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``And if you looked out there today, we didn’t have a single perimeter guy play at a high level. You’re just not going to win like that.’’

In a matter of four days, the Magic dropped a four-point home decision to the Miami Heat and an 11-point loss to the Celtics, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. Orlando is seven games back of Boston and the Magic are hoping they can close the gap over the next 10 weeks before the playoffs.

``We’re not even close, not even in the same ballpark as those guys right now,’’ Van Gundy fumed. ``We can be, but we’re not right now. I think that showed (on Sunday).’’

The Magic are back at Amway Center on Tuesday night to face the Los Angeles Clippers and Rookie of the Year favorite Blake Griffin. Orlando plays in Philadelphia on Wednesday and then has its next seven games at home over the remainder of February.

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Sunday’s no-so-super showdown in Boston:

READ THE REST OF DENTON'S ANALYSIS





MAGIC VIDEO