It is Game Day 66 and Boston come to Orlando to take on the Magic. After tonight Orlando have 6 games left to determine their lottery odds.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12:00 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS BOSTON COME TO ORLANDO
The Celtics tasted defeat on Sunday night at the hands of Portland by 129-119 in Boston. The C’s were led in scoring by Jayson Tatum with 33 points. The next highest scorer was a familiar face, Evan Fournier with 21 points. Boston dominated the rebounding stats, had six players make double figure scoring and shot over 51% with the three ball.
On Monday night the Magic beat the Pistons on the road in Detroit by 119-112. Orlando’s heavy lifting was done by the bench. RJ Hampton had a double-double on a career night with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Mo Bamba led the team also with a career night double-double for 22 points and 15 rebounds. Chasson Randle and debutant Ignas Brazdeikis also had double point scoring from the bench with 18 and 14 points respectively. Mo Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr and Gary Harris were the starters in double digit scoring. Cole Anthony was unable to add to his 13 double figure scoring games in the 15 played since his return from injury.
The Celtics have won 21 of 34 games at home this season. Orlando have won 10 of 31 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 21-44, whilst Boston are 34-31. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Boston hold a 5-5 record and Orlando are at 3-7. The Magic have a two game win streak and Boston have lost their last game.
Results see Boston 7th and Orlando 13th in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics come into the game as the NBA’s 12th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 112.7 points per game. Orlando are 29th with an average of 104.2 points per game.
Boston have a defensive rating at 15th and sees them conceding 111.1 points per game. Orlando are 23rd and concede 112.2 points per game.
OUR OPPONENTS – BOSTON CELTICS
Last season saw Boston finish with 48-24 record, being 3rd in the Eastern Conference. They were eliminated in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals 2-4 by the Miami Heat. Much was expected of them this season and as yet they have not delivered, being very inconsistent.
Offensively they play at a relatively slow pace, 21st in the NBA. They are not afraid to build a scoring opportunity slowly, using the full shot clock. When it comes to fast break points they score 11.8 per game, placing them 17th in the league whilst Orlando score 10.2 fast break points per game. Scoring wise 35.8% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, whilst 49.6% is from the two ball. Of their 112.7 points per game 46.3 come from inside the paint and 40.3 from the three. The Celtics shoot a field goal percentage of 446.7.% and 37.4% with the 3 ball. Boston have 23.4 assists per game. The Celtics take 21.1 free throws per game, making 16.4 of them.
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.2 per game) and steals (7.8 per game), so expect to see very active hands. They turn the ball over at a rate of 14.3 times per game but do not concede heavily on fast breaks, only 11.9 points per game.. They foul a lot, on average 20.4 times per game. Expect them to defend the paint well, conceding at the 5th least in the league this season.
They are a strong rebounding team, 11th for total rebounds and 3rd for offensive rebounds. Defensively they rate 20th.
THE BOSTON CELTICS SQUAD
Part of the Celtics inconsistency can be attributed to player absence. When Orlando and Boston met on January 15th the Celtics had seen their previous three games postponed due to COVID protocols and injury.
Coach Brad Stevens has a wealth of talent. As I write according to ESPN there are two significant injury issues for him to navigate. Jaylen Brown (24.7 PPG) is out with an ankle injury. Tristan Thompson (7.7 PPG) is day-to-day with a pectoral strain and questionable. Both started in the Celtics’ last game.
Last time out they started Jayson Tatum (26.5 PPG), Jaylen Brown (24.7 PPG), Marcus Smart (13.5 PPG), Tristan Thompson (7.7 PPG) and Evan Fournier (16.7 PPG).
From the bench came Robert Williams III (8.1 PPG), Aaron Nesmith (4.3 PPG), Payton Pritchard (7.7 PPG), Romeo Langford (2.4 PPG) and Tremont Waters (2.8 PPG).
The squad also features Kemba Walker (18.2 PPG), Carsen Edwards (3.9 PPG), Luke Kornet (3 PPG), Semi Ojeleye (4.7 PPG), Jabari Parker (4.3 PPG), Grant Williams (4.4 PPG) and Tacko Fall (2.7 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: BOSTON CELTICS
The head-to-head record sees the Celtics leading 68-51 in the 119 regular season games played. Much of the recent history is not with us. Currently the Celtics are on a 5 game winning streak against Orlando.
We met in Boston on January 15th, losing 97-124. Orlando shot only 25% from the three on the night. The second meeting of the season was also on the road and was another dismal Magic performance, on March 21st (Game Day 42) losing 96-112 live on Sky Sports here in the UK.
Last season saw the Magic swept 3-0 by Boston This was a marked turnaround from the 2018-19 season when Orlando swept Boston 3-0. However prior to that success the Magic had lost 7 of the 8 previous meetings, with the Celtics holding a six game winning streak.
In playoffs the Celtics and Magic have met in 3 series, playing 17 games. Orlando are up 2-1 in series and 9-8 in games. In 2010 the Celtics won 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. 2009 saw Orlando win the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, taking the series 4-3. In 1995 Orlando had won the series 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT AS BOSTON COME TO ORLANDO
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Chuma Okeke (7.8 PPG) is out after turning his ankle against Cleveland. He may not play again this season.
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is out with back spasms. He has no timetable to return and may not play again this season.
James Ennis III (8.4 PPG) is out with a calf injury and may not play again this season.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury. He has no timetable to return and may not play again this season.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is out with an ankle injury and may not play again this season.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Coach Clifford has been cleared to rejoin the team after having tested positive for COVID-19. He will take charge of the team tonight.
Devin Cannady (4.3 PPG) has been waived by the team as he recovers from surgery for an open dislocation of the ankle.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP AS BOSTON COME TO ORLANDO
Orlando used the same starting unit on Monday night against the Pistons. Total different starting line ups used by the Magic stands at 31 this season and is the most in the team’s history.
The Magic starting unit used by Acting Head Coach Ty Corbin was Dwayne Bacon (10.8 PPG), Moritz Wagner (6.1 PPG), Cole Anthony (12.3 PPG), Gary Harris (10.3 PPG) and Wendell Carter Jr (11.5 PPG).
From the bench came RJ Hampton (5.8 PPG), Mo Bamba (7.7 PPG), Ignas Brazdeikis (2.7 PPG) and Chasson Randle (6 PPG).
With Devin Cannady having been waived by the team they signed free agent guard Sindarius Thornwell to a two way contract. Thornwell has played 153 career NBA regular season games (19 starts) with the LA Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans.
RECORD FOR LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 75 – GAME DAY 63 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
KEYS TO THE GAME AS BOSTON COME TO ORLANDO
As Boston come to Orlando both teams have eyes on a win. Boston are seeking to secure the 6th seed in the East and thus avoid the play-in tournament. Orlando are seeking growth.
Orlando’s defence must focus upon the threat posed by Tatum, Fournier, Smart and potentially a returning Kemba Walker. Tatum has been playing some very impressive basketball of late. This has included a 60 point game and earnt him the Eastern Conference Player of the Week accolade. His points per game average is the 10th best in the NBA, as is his tally of 1539 points for the season.
You can never bet against the Celtics! Boston are a team of grit, possessing quality in all positions and are well coached. However Orlando are not tanking and no player on the squad is trying to lose. They have spirit and intend to fight regardless of what that does to the team’s lottery odds. If Orlando play the fundamentals of the game well there could be a third consecutive win for the Magic.
In the lottery race Orlando now hold the 6th position for the lottery first round. The pick owed by Chicago from the Vucevic trade currently sits at 7th.