Keys to the Game: Magic 103, Celtics 102

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

The Celtics have gone down to the wire during each of their three preseason games. Wednesday night stands as the first instance during which the ball didn’t bounce their way.

Orlando pulled out a nail-biting win thanks to a game-winning bucket from guard Jeff Dowtin Jr. just ahead of the final buzzer after neither team led by more than one point during the final 3:50 of the contest.

Dowtin’s jumper fell through the net to give Orlando a 103-102 lead with 0.2 seconds left in regulation. The shot was released from just outside the middle of the paint along the right side. Dowtin picked up his dribble in transition just outside of the paint, spun toward the middle of the court and looked to make a pass, but he couldn’t find an open teammate. So he instead faded away for the potential game-winner as defender Sam Hauser was draped all over him.

This shot, unfortunately for Boston, was a no-doubter. Nothing but money. It swished through the net with just 0.2 seconds left on the clock, leaving the Celtics with virtually no chance to score again.

Boston called for a timeout, but it needed to convert either an alley-oop dunk or a tip-in on the ensuing inbound pass. The C’s were unable to get a shot off at all, allowing the Magic to escape with the one-point victory.

Key Player

Aaron Nesmith continues to cook, and that’s a beautiful sight for the Boston Celtics.

Nesmith scored a game-high 23 points during Wednesday night’s one-point loss to the Orlando Magic despite the fact that he didn’t touch the court during the fourth quarter. He logged only 26-plus minutes of playing time, as Ime Udoka allowed his end-of-bench players to battle out the final 12 minutes against Orlando.

Nesmith scored at a high rate thanks to his continued hot shooting. He canned eight of his 16 shots, four of his eight 3-pointers, and all three of his free throws. He has now shot 56.0 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from 3-point range and 100.0 percent from the free-throw line through three preseason games.

The second-year wing also made plays for others, as he tied Grant Williams for the team-high in assists with four. Nesmith rounded out his box score with three rebounds and one steal.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Ten Celtics dished out an assist while combining for 23.
  • Aaron Nesmith scored a game-high 23 points despite not playing during the fourth quarter.
  • Nesmith, Payton Pritchard and Grant Williams, three of Boston's five starters, each shot 50.0 percent from long range.
  • Nesmith and Williams tied for the team high in assists with four apiece.
  • Orlando tallied 10 steals and 10 blocked shots.
  • R.J. Hampton led the Magic with 20 points while also logging eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
  • Six different Celtics made at least one 3-pointer.
  • Grant Williams grabbed a team-best three steals.
  • Rob Williams led the Celtics with seven rebounds.

Quote of the Night

Aaron Nesmith on how he's seeing the floor