Overtime Inefficiency Dooms Magic in Loss to Boston
The Boston Celtics came into Amway Center on Sunday night and had to scuffle for a very physical 116-110 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic. Defensive lapses as well as poorly run offensive timeout plays in the extra 5-minute session unraveled an Orlando side that had played about 53 solid minutes against an Eastern Conference power. Boston Coach Doc Rivers made sure his team was prepared for Orlando’s high energy play.
JJ Redick poured in 21 points off the bench. Jameer Nelson managed 20 points and 5 rebounds. Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis each contributed 15 points as they struggled mightily from the field. Big Baby in the postgame interview fully recognized his offensive ineptitude and how that impacted the result. Josh McRoberts played 33 minutes that you question whether or not should have went to Nik Vucevic and Maurice Harkless. ‘McBob’ had 7 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, but Nik could have been guarding Kevin Garnett, and Harkless’ length would have given Paul Pierce difficulties.
Glen Davis on the team’s play: “Jameer and everybody else did a good job. I was nowhere to be found tonight. You’re not going to make every shot; at crunch time you’ve got to do something, I didn’t do anything.”
The now 5-8 Magic may have earned respect from their opponent, but any tight defeat is a deflator. Getting bullied in the paint 60-34 and losing the offensive glass battle 17-10 usually doesn’t warrant victory. 17-of-41 shooting is absolutely dreadful. Credit Boston’s length, but Magic players admitted they missed some bunnies. Jacque Vaughn had an entire bench lineup out on the parquet court even quicker than usual tonight (6:55 into the game). Coach Vaughn would depend on those quick rotations to keep men fresh. Rajon Rondo would extend his colossal double-digit assist streak to 37 consecutive contests after distributing 16 assists Sunday. It’s an unreal accomplishment.
Coach Vaughn on the out-of-bounds play down 3 in overtime late: “That wasn’t designed that way. We’ve run that play before, but I did a little variation of it…it was not run to perfection.”
Orlando’s identity by now is known as being an unselfish squad, but Boston made their first 8 shots off eight assists and showed little difficulty blowing into the paint and creating. Rajon Rondo dished out six of those. Former Celtic E’Twaun Moore lent a helping hand with two 3-pointers off the bench in the period. The Celtics led 28-22 after the first 12 minutes thanks to unexpected five-point offensive bench production from Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa is most definitely a ‘Magic killer’ as he had a perfect shooting half and 11 points. Despite the relatively even shooting, the Magic were getting out-hustled in paint points (30-16), second chance points (10-4), and fastbreak points (11-8). So it’s no wonder Coach Vaughn’s men trailed 58-48 at halftime. Orlando’s bench managed twenty-six points in that half as the Magic’s starters couldn’t keep pace with Boston’s strong scoring five.
Boston Coach Doc Rivers on Orlando’s 3rd quarter: “You could see it. We were relaxed and playing, they just played the same way. I thought throughout the game they never changed the way they played. They just played hard.”
It was one of those contests where you knew if the Magic could stick around they’d have a chance. It took a physical foul by Paul Pierce on Glen Davis to get the Orlando supporters riled up as they were mostly mute or drowned out by Celtics fans the majority of the evening. In the final minute of the 3rd period, a Jameer Nelson 3-pointer pulled Orlando even at 80-80. Amway Center had life as if it was a repeat of Friday night. A Jameer fading tear drop to beat the buzzer raised the roof off the arena and handed Orlando an 82-80 lead entering the 4th period. For the second consecutive game Nelson tallied a 12-point third quarter.
Coach Vaughn on Josh McRoberts: “He brings us versatility. I had him guard Pierce. I had him guard Green. I had him guard KG…his versatility and his ability to contribute to the team, a very positive sign and I thank him for that.”
Orlando’s comeback and overtaking of Boston would continue into the start of the 4th quarter. How does a 13-0 run beginning with 1:40 left in the 3rd period sound? Orlando rode that momentum train to an 87-80 advantage early in the fourth before Boston began doing some reeling in of their own. After Jameer annihilated Paul Pierce’s ankles by shaking him into oblivion, Kevin Garnett made a shot and Boston led 98-97 with 2:51 to go. After a KG alley oop from Rondo to put Boston up three, a Redick 3-pointer made it 100-100.
Glen Davis mustered up a lay-up to put Orlando up 102-100 with 1:34 remaining before KG once again came up huge to tie it at 102-102. The next 1:21 was nerve-racking beyond belief, but after a few ugly sequences overtime was the result. From there it was Boston’s ‘Big 3’ as Pierce, Rondo, and KG combined for ten points in those final 5 minutes to improve their record to 8-6.
The home stand continues as Orlando hosts the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. Coach Vaughn gets his reunion battle and a few days to prepare to face-off versus Gregg Popovich.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.