Sunday, November 25, 2012
W2W4: Celtics vs. Magic (Game 14 of 82)
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonThe Boston Celtics (7-6, 3-3 away) visit the Orlando Magic (5-7, 4-2 home) on Sunday night at the Amway Center (CSN, 6 p.m.) Here's what to watch for:
Orlando's Jameer Nelson slips past Boston's Rajon Rondo.
* HEY BABY: After a summer in which coach Stan Van Gundy and superstar Dwight Howard both departed Disney World, the rebuilding Magic feature old friend Glen Davis as a centerpiece. Davis, now in his second season with Orlando, is averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds over 31.5 minutes per game. Maybe more impressive is the way E'Twaun Moore has emerged for the Magic. The Celtics begrudgingly included the second-year guard in the offseason sign-and-trade deal that brought Courtney Lee to Boston, and Moore was quickly waived by the roster-crunched Houston Rockets. It took some time, but Moore landed in Orlando, where he's started six of 12 games and averaged 11.1 points and 3.8 assists over 29.6 minutes per outing. What's more, Moore is shooting 43.9 percent beyond the 3-point arc. While Lee struggles to find his offensive game in Boston, Moore is letting his natural talents take over in Orlando.
* SYNERGY SNAPSHOT: Struggling away from their home turf, the Magic have cringe-worthy stats on the offensive end, averaging a mere 0.863 points per play, ranking them 29th in the league, according to Synergy Sports data. The Magic sit 29th in transition offense and 26th in a half-court set and -- of their top 10 play types -- in only two do they rank in the top half of the league (ranking 13th in cuts and isolation). Defense is where they've quietly thrived, ranking fourth in the league while allowing a mere 0.881 points per play. Susceptible to ball handlers in the pick-and-roll, the Magic are otherwise stout (well, offensive rebounds have been a problem, but that shouldn't be much of an issue against Boston). The crazy part is that Orlando's individual numbers are nothing to rave about, especially when J.J. Redick is the team's top defender (he actually ranks in the 99th percentile, having allowed a mere 0.545 points per play this season).
* CELTICS CAN'T LET UP: Coming off their best victory of the season on Friday night against Oklahoma City, the Celtics absolutely cannot take their foot off the gas in Orlando. Boston's record showcases its inconsistency this season, but the Celtics need to build off Friday's effort, particularly on the defensive end, where they showed signs of their old self (even if they gave up triple digits again). As Rivers said after Friday's game, "That was the Celtics. That’s the team that we’ve been looking for, but can we continue to do it? We’ve got to do it over and over again."
* RONDO VS. STOCKTON: Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo can match John Stockton's 37-game streak of double-digit assists on Sunday, the second-longest run in NBA history. The Magic rank in the top third of the league in limiting opponent assists, and Rondo has struggled at times on the road recently to get to 10, but will have plenty of motivation this evening with a chance to match Stockton. After that, Rondo will have Magic Johnson and his league-record 46-game streak directly in his view.