Sunday, February 2, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Celtics 96, Magic 89
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic 96-89 on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Rajon Rondo, fresh from four days of rest, turned in his best outing since returning from ACL surgery, posting 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting with 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 turnovers over 26:37. Jared Sullinger added another meaty double-double (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Brandon Bass kicked in 19 points and nine rebounds to help pace the Celtics. Arron Afflalo scored a team-high 18 points as the Magic put all five starters in double figures, while Nikola Vucevic added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Celtics trailed for only 15 seconds the entire game and led by as many as 12. Even still, the Magic hung around most of the way. And when old friend Glen Davis muscled in a layup with 2:30 to play, Orlando was within two. Rondo responded with an elbow jumper, Jeff Green hit only his second shot of the game off a Rondo feed and Brandon Bass hit an elbow jumper off a Rondo helper as Boston's lead ballooned back to eight in little more than a minute.
Avery Bradley, back after missing five games with a sprained right ankle, chipped in 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. ... Green had a woeful day shooting the ball, finishing 2-of-13 for eight points. He had five assists and a highlight-worthy block, but also four turnovers. ... Gerald Wallace, who rejoined the team Sunday morning after flying back from his native Alabama because of a death in his family, dressed but did not play. ... The Magic had 13 offensive rebounds, but only 14 second-chance points. ... After recent struggles shooting the ball, Boston finished at 50 percent (41 of 82).
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (16-33) snapped a four-game losing streak while winning for just the fourth time in 22 games. Boston, which entered the day tied with the Philadelphia 76ers, will leap back ahead of its Atlantic Division rival and now owns the fourth-worst record in basketball. That could change in a few days. The Celtics will take a two-day break before visiting the 76ers on Wednesday night. A visit from the Sacramento Kings follows on Friday.