The way the Orlando Magic played in the first half of Wednesday’s contest against the Boston Celtics at Amway Center was similar to their fourth-quarter performance in Minnesota. They were locked in defensively, played with great energy and were sharp on the offensive end. That wasn’t the case all night, however. The Magic got stagnant after halftime, leading to a 92-79 defeat.
One of four Magic players to score in double figures was Wendell Carter Jr., who finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. There was a degree of uncertainty how he would perform playing alongside another big man in the starting lineup. But he’s handled the adjustment well. His versatility has really stood out in the early portion of the season. Also, he’s an improved 3-point shooter. He’s already made 12 triples. He made 15 of them all last season.
The Magic were held scoreless from the 3:43 mark of the second quarter to the 5:59 mark of the third. In that span, the Celtics scored 21 points. Marcus Smart started the run with a 3-pointer. Orlando made just two floor shots in the third.
Going into Wednesday’s game, the Magic had made at least 12 3-pointers in their last seven games. Against the Celtics, they drilled just nine of them. Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner, both scorching hot coming into the night, combined to shoot 3-of-18 from beyond the arc.
Out for Orlando were Gary Harris (left ankle sprain), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee) and E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain). Boston was at full strength.
The last several years, the Celtics had Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker at point guard. While all different, they brought stability to Boston’s offensive attack. This year, without a floor general the likes of any of those four, the Celtics have struggled getting into a rhythm. Entering Wednesday’s action, they ranked 19th in offense and 23rd in field goal percentage. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are electric scorers. But for Boston to make a deep playoff run, the supporting cast is going to have to step up and make major contributions.
Quote of the Night
“I think it’s going to be great for us to be home to continue to build on some habits, get back to the foundation of things we are doing. Defensively and offensively. I think it will be good for us to be home.” – Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley on the team having some practice time in their own gym over the next several days
The Magic’s five-game homestand continues Friday when the San Antonio Spurs come to town. The Spurs were in Orlando during the preseason and these squads faced off on opening night, with the Spurs prevailing in their home building. Going into their Wednesday matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio had lost five of their last six games, including on Monday against the Indiana Pacers. Eight Spurs scored in double figures in that contest, including Dejounte Murray who scored 16 points and Devin Vassell, a Florida State alum, who finished with 15.