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Magic Unable to Overcome Celtics’ Hot 3-Point Shooting

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

On Friday night in their victory over the Brooklyn Nets, the Orlando Magic made 21 3-pointers, the second most in franchise history. On Sunday afternoon, it was their opponent, the Boston Celtics, that was sizzling from beyond the arc. The C’s buried 23 threes, the second most in their team history, as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined to drill 15 of them in Boston’s 112-96 win.

Top Performer

Being out of game action the last eight games because of a calf injury didn’t cause any rust for James Ennis III, who off the bench scored a season-high 18 points on 5-for-6 shooting overall, 3-for-4 from 3-point range and 5-for-7 from the free throw line. Injuries, as they have for several of the Magic’s players, have limited the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder this season. Sunday’s game was the 25th he's played in this year.

Key Stretch

After a Michael Carter-Williams layup with 6:01 left in the second quarter gave the Magic a two-point lead, the Celtics responded with a 16-4 run to seize momentum. Brown, Tatum and Semi Ojeleye each knocked down triples during that stretch. Another key span came in the fourth quarter when Boston went on a 9-2 run after Orlando narrowed its deficit to eight.

Injury Report

Back for Orlando were Carter-Williams and Ennis, but still out were Terrence Ross, who continues to nurse a sore right knee, and Cole Anthony, still rehabbing his rib injury. Also unable to play was Mo Bamba due to left hamstring soreness and a right big toe strain. Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, both recovering from torn left ACLs, are out for the season.

Key Stats

Although not much of a surprise considering they both rank near the bottom in fast break points this season, the Magic and Celtics combined to score just four fast break points in Sunday’s contest. Part of the reason for that was they both limited their turnovers. Orlando coughed it up just six times, Boston 10 times. Making 12 more 3-pointers than the Magic was also obviously key for the C’s.

Rivals Report

Brown’s 10 threes were one shy of the Celtics individual record, which belongs to current teammate Marcus Smart, who sank 11 triples on Jan. 18, 2020 against the Phoenix Suns. Their team record of 24 made 3-pointers came on Nov. 1, 2018 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Quote of the Night

“I felt like our physicality and just getting into the ball in the beginning (was the key to defensive struggles). I felt like they had a lot of room…We picked it up in the second half, but it’s hard to come back playing against a good team like that and can score the ball like that.” – Ennis

Up Next

The Magic start a three-game homestand on Tuesday when they take on the Denver Nuggets at 7 p.m. Denver, while Orlando was playing Boston, lost to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Nikola Jokic, an MVP candidate, recorded his 11th triple-double of the season with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while Jamal Murray scored 23 points.