Magic's Top Performers vs. Celtics
By Josh Cohen
Jan. 21, 2018
Over the last seven games, the Magic rank first in the NBA in points in the paint and Payton is a big reason why. Among all guards during this stretch, EP ranks in the top five in scoring from within five feet of the basket. The Celtics had no answer for Payton’s ultra-aggressive drives on Sunday, as the four-year veteran recorded 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field.
Fournier is the Magic’s best 3-point shooter. When he’s off, especially against opponents that excel guarding the perimeter (like the Celtics), it’s hard for Orlando to keep up offensively. Boston ranks first in the league in opponent 3-point percentage, so it’s no surprise Orlando shot just 6-of-21 from beyond the arc. Fournier, however, managed to connect on three treys and finished with 19 points.
The suspension to Arron Afflalo opened up some more playing time for Mack, who made all five of his shot attempts on Thursday against the Cavs and had another excellent performance in Sunday’s win over the Celtics. He shot 5-of-8 from the floor and posted 10 points, four assists, three steals and two rebounds off the bench.
The Magic have really benefitted from Birch’s activity the last few games. He brings so much spirit, intensity and hustle, which has been contagious when he’s on the floor. Frank Vogel trusts Birch, which is why he played big minutes down the stretch in Sunday’s win. During this time, he had a huge block on Kyrie Irving and a pair of crucial putback buckets.