The Boston Celtics overcame a 27-point deficit to beat the Orlando Magic on Thursday, the largest deficit the Celtics have overcome and the largest lead the Magic have blown in any game in the past 16 seasons (as far back as we can go).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, NBA teams had won their previous 282 games in which they led by at least 27 points, dating to December 21, 2009.
What a Difference a Half Makes
The Magic scored 58 points in the 1st half Thursday, more than they scored in the entire game Monday:
Then the 2nd half looked more like Monday's performance than the 1st half of Thursday's game:
This comes three nights after the Magic scored a franchise-low 56 points on a franchise-low 24.6 percent shooting -- in another loss to the Celtics. Orlando scored 58 points in the first half alone on Thursday, but the second half more resembled Monday’s awful performance.
Elias tells us the Celtics allowed only 45 second-half points over their past two games combined: 20 on Monday and 25 on Thursday, both against the Magic. That’s the fewest second-half points allowed over a two-game span in the NBA’s shot-clock era. The previous low was 46 second-half points allowed over a two-game span by Detroit in 2003-04.
Orlando led 32-16 after the first quarter, but scored fewer points in each successive quarter, tallying just eight in the fourth. That’s the fewest fourth-quarter points they’ve scored in the past 15 seasons.
The Magic are averaging just 69.5 points per game in two games against the Celtics this season and 97.3 ppg in their other 16 games.
In the first half, Orlando averaged a point per play and had just three turnovers in its halfcourt offense; after halftime those numbers plummeted to half a point and three times as many turnovers.
The only good news to come out of this game for the Magic was Dwight Howard’s 16-point, 16-rebound performance. According to Elias, that makes Howard just the second player in the past 25 seasons with at least 15 straight double-digit rebound games against the Celtics. Alonzo Mourning did it in 16 straight from 1992-96.
Lastly, Elias tells us that it’s just the third time in the shot-clock era that an NBA team scored more points in the first half than they did in the entire game in their previous matchup against that team that season.