Rapid Reaction: Celtics 120, Magic 105
THE NITTY GRITTY
Just three days after out-uglying the Magic in Orlando while shooting 35.8 percent from the floor, the Celtics blistered the floor while scoring a season-high 120 points on 60 percent shooting (51-of-85), the best percentage of any team this season. The Celtics put seven players in double figures (including all five starters), led by Avery Bradley with a game-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting over 29 minutes. Jordan Crawford added 16 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds while spearheading the offense from his point guard position.
The Magic were within a possession with just less than eight minutes to go in the third quarter, but Bradley quickly gave Boston some breathing room. He had back-to-back layups with a steal sandwiched in between, then got to the charity stripe for two freebies. Bradley made it eight consecutive points for the Celtics with a 20-foot pull-up jumper and a Brandon Bass slam dunk soon after pushed Boston's lead to double figures at 75-64 with 5:46 to play in the frame. The Celtics pushed that lead as high as 18 early in the fourth quarter.
Boston had one of its more efficient nights beyond the 3-point arc, connecting on 5-of-12 attempts (41.7 percent). ... The Celtics kept their turnovers manageable (15 for 17 points). ... Boston's best player in terms of plus/minus? Gerald Wallace, who missed the only shot he put up and finished with one point, five rebounds and three assists in 19:25.
WHAT IT MEANS
If the Celtics (4-4) are tanking, they're terrible at it. Boston pushed its win streak to four games and is at .500 for the season. Combined with Philadelphia's loss to the Spurs, Boston is now tied with the 76ers atop the Atlantic Division. We'll say it again: This team is a lot of fun to watch. It remains to be seen if they can maintain this sort of competitiveness, but they've given themselves a chance to win every time out and are improving with each game. The Celtics have two games left on this homestand with visits from Charlotte (Wednesday) and Portland (Friday) ahead.
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