Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Celtics 118, Magic 103

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

Prior to Friday night’s matchup with the Orlando Magic, Brad Stevens answered a question about his team’s trend of lacking ball movement during first halves.

“It’s interesting, because that’s obviously been a lot of our focus in a lot of the time we’ve been talking,” he answered, “and when you look at the first half versus the second half, it’s night and day.

“One of the things I think we need to do is we need to be better (at moving the ball) in the first half. Then, secondly, we need to get the ball side to side because that’s usually a good indicator that we’re going to get a good attack.”

Was he wearing a mic? Were the speakers on in the locker room?

The boys were listening.

The Celtics came out of the gates and whipped the ball around better than they had at any point this season – first half or second half. They totaled 12 assists during the first quarter alone on 15 made baskets. Al Horford tallied seven dimes all on his own during the opening quarter.

As Stevens indicated, the C’s are pretty tough to guard when they’re moving the ball side to side, and Friday’s scoreboard confirmed that notion.

Boston dropped 40 points during the first quarter on 68.2 percent shooting and led by 14 points heading into the second frame. It only got better from there.

The Celtics, donning their new black jerseys for the very first time, dished out 21 assists during the first half. That number was two more than they racked up during all four quarters of Wednesday night’s loss in Miami combined.

Boston led by 26 points at the break, at 73-47, and there was no turning back from there.

The C’s continued to pour it on their visitors and eventually pulled ahead by as many as 32 points en route to their 118-103 victory. They finished with 27 assists on 42 baskets.

Key Player

Let’s talk about efficiency for a moment.

If a guard shoots better than 45.0 percent from the field during a game, that’s pretty solid.

If he shoots better than 47.0 percent from the field during a game, that’s very good.

If he shoots better than 50.0 percent from the field during a game, that’s outstanding.

So, with all of that being said, what do you call it when a guard shoots 64.8 percent from the field over a four-game stretch? Incredible? Ridiculous? Insane?

All of the above?

Kyrie Irving has been incredible-ridiculous-insane over his last four contests, culminating with a 30-point effort on 60.0 percent shooting Friday night against Orlando. He canned nine of his 15 shots from the field, two of his four 3-pointers, and all 10 of his free throws against the Magic.

Oh, and this all happened during less than 25 minutes of playing time, marking the first time a Celtics player scored 30 or more points in less than 25 minutes of action since Kenny Anderson did so in February of 2000. Wow.

Irving is humming at the offensive end of the court, to say the least. He averaged 32.5 points per game over his last four contests, so… good luck Saturday night, Indiana.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Terry Rozier scored a career-high 23 points off of Boston's bench.
  • Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 30 points.
  • Boston led by as many as 32 points.
  • Both teams received at least 50 points from their bench (56 from Orlando's, 50 from Boston's).
  • Orlando outrebounded Boston 51-46.
  • Five Magic players scored in double-figures but none scored more than 14 points.
  • All five of Boston's starters finished with a plus/minus rating of at least plus-11. Jaylen Brown led the game with a plus-20.
  • Al Horford led all players with 10 assists.
  • Aron Baynes notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Nikola Vucevic also tallied a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
  • The C's committed only eight turnovers.
  • Rozier shot 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
  • Three Celtics blocked at least two shots (Marcus Smart with three, Jayson Tatum with two, and Al Horford with two).
  • Vucevic led the game with three assists.
  • Boston made 19 3-pointers to Orlando's nine.

Quote of the Night

When we had a paint threat and got the ball to the second side of the floor, we were almost three-times as good on offense through our road trip. We didn't meet at all the last two days, but that message was sent out .

Brad Stevens on Boston's ball movement.

Key Player