Well, that’s one way to follow up your best win of the season.
In what might have been the ugliest basketball game of the NBA season, the Boston Celtics narrowly defeated the Orlando Magic 95-88 Friday night at the TD Garden. After trailing for the majority of the game, the Celtics (28-36) overcame a 10-point defect in the second half. Evan Turner was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 30 points in the final minutes.
Elfird Payton led the Magic (21-46) with 20 points and 9 assists, while Nikola Vucevic had a double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds) in the loss. For the Celtics, Phil Pressey added a double-double, dishing out 10 assists and scoring 10 points.
For a complete box score click here.
EVAN TURNER‘S AMAZING FOURTH QUARTER.
After missing his first five attempts, Evan Turner made all six of the shots he took in the fourth quarter. Turner scored 16 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 2 minutes left to go in the game. The much-maligned small forward was clearly in some sort of mythical zone, attempting and making a number of high-difficulty shots.
HORRENDOUS FIRST QUARTER
The Celtics started the game shooting 4 for 20 from the field. After the first five minutes, they held an impressive 6-3 lead, before the Magic went on a 15-2 run. Evan Turner missed all five shots he took in the opening minutes. The Celtics finished the first quarter shooting 31% from the field. Gigi Datome and Kelly Olynyk were able to salvage the dreadful quarter, each hitting a late three to pull the Celtics with in 4.
ELFRID PAYTON CANT SHOOT FREE THROWS
Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, and Avery Bradley all tried, but no one on the Celtics could stop Payton from driving to the basket. Payton shot terribly from the free throw line, finishing the game 4 for15. If he was even remotely effective from the charity stripe, the Celtics would have been blown out. It got so bad for the first year point guard that the Celtics briefly employed a hack-a-Payton strategy, fouling him intentionally. Despite his poor shooting from the line, Payton hit his fifth and sixth three pointers of the season.
FANCY PASSING WITH PHIL PRESSEY
Before the game on Wednesday night, Brad Stevens said Pressey was one of most reliable players on the roster. Tonight, he played a season high 27 minutes, dishing out 10 assists. Pressey had a couple of Rondo-esque assists, including a behind-the-back pass to Jae Crowder who knocked down the wide-open three. With Isaiah Thomas still nursing a sore back, the second year guard will play important minutes on Saturday against the Pacers.
JAMES YOUNG RETURNS TO LINEUP
After not playing in the last two games, rookie James Young returned to the floor late in the third quarter. Young made his first shot, before missing his next two. He then stupidly fouled Elfrid Payton well behind the three point line and was quickly removed from the game. Young finished with 3 points in just under 5 minutes.
With the win, the Celtics remain one and a half games back of the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth seed in the Eastern conference.On Saturday, the Celtics travel to Indiana to play the Pacers, who have won their past seven games and nine of their last ten. Indiana is currently the seventh seed in the Eastern conference.