Saturday, February 1, 2014
W2W4: C's vs. Magic (Game 49 of 82)
By Chris Forsberg
The Boston Celtics (15-33, 9-15 home) host the Orlando Magic (13-35, 3-21 road) on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden (1 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
- MIGHTY MATINEE: The Super Bowl it ain't. Sunday's gridiron appetizer features combatants with two of the three worst records in basketball. In fact, it's the only game on the NBA schedule, carrying the torch for the league on a day that belongs to football. The Celtics, losers of four straight and 19 out of their last 22, were defeated last time out by Philadelphia, flip-flopping spaces with the 76ers near the bottom of the NBA ladder. A loss for Boston would leave it only one game ahead of the Magic (only Milwaukee is below them).
- LAST BIT OF MAGIC: The Celtics and Magic are meeting for the fourth and final time this season. Boston won the first two meetings, but Orlando prevailed on its home turf last month. And Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Saturday that Orlando will have even more weapons this time around. "They haven’t been fully healthy when we’ve played them yet," said Stevens. "They didn’t have Tobias Harris or Big Baby [Glen Davis] the first two times we played them. I think they’re obviously playing better. They played great [Friday] night [vs. last-place Milwaukee]."
- ON THE REBOUND: The Magic rank 28th in the league in offensive rebound percentage, but don't tell that to Stevens. Orlando's offensive rebound rate pops to 31.3 percent -- 10.4 percent higher than its season average -- against Boston. "[Nikola] Vucevic and Big Baby and [Kyle] O’Quinn and Harris really have hurt us on the glass," said Stevens. "Vucevic averaged 4 ½ offensive rebounds per game in the two games we played against them early. I think O’Quinn is over three a game against us. So we’ve got to do a better job of getting those guys off the glass. I thought we’ve had our moments in all three of the games that we’ve played against them -- certainly here, we played pretty well. But hopefully we can play well [Sunday]. We’re going to have to run good offense and get them off the glass."
- LOOSE BALLS: Avery Bradley, who missed the past five games with a sprained right ankle, is expected to be back in the starting lineup on Sunday. ... Rajon Rondo will be in the starting 5 as well after sitting out Wednesday's game as a precaution on the second night of a back-to-back. This is only the fourth game this year Boston will have its preferred starting backcourt and only the 15th game in the past two seasons... The Magic are expected to be without guard Jameer Nelson (knee), according to the Orlando Sentinel. ... Gerald Wallace will be a game-time decision after traveling home to Alabama after a death in his family.