Jan 24, 2012, 12:55 AM EDT
For one night, it felt like 2008 in Boston again.
The Celtics played with tremendous defensive energy, shutting off driving lanes and seeming to choke off whatever the opposing offense wanted to do. They contained Dwight Howard and chased down a lot of three-point shooters. Boston set a franchise record for fewest points allowed. The offense wasn’t great — with Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo out it wasn’t expected to be — but it was good enough.
Boston routed Orlando 87-56.
That said, don’t read too much into it. Yet.
In this up and down season we have seen more than our share of one-off results — the Wizards beat the Thunder for crying out loud. This was Orlando’s off night and it was certainly not all the Boston defense.
The Magic were just missing shots — Ryan Anderson started went 0-8 and 0-4 from three (where he hits 42 percent on the year); Glen Davis was 2-9 in his return, even Dwight Howard was 4-15 on the kind of running hooks and shots he has hit 57 percent of the rest of the season. The Magic shot 24.6 percent for the game and the best three point shooting team in the land started 2-11 from deep.
It was that kind of game for the Magic. On one kick-out to a wide-open Jameer Nelson in the third quarter he tried to go up and the ball just slipped out of his hands, and when he caught it when he landed he was whistled for traveling. The whole night just seemed to go like that. The play started to effect their effort, which got worse as things wore on. It happens, especially this season. Wash it off in the post game shower and move on.
Maybe this (and the win the day before over Washington) are things Boston can build on. They were scrapping and being physical on defense. Contesting everything, diving for balls on the floor, trying to take the charge. Particularly Jermaine O’Neal, who stood in tough and took some abuse.
But the Celtics played bad for nearly a month at the start of the season and they are going to have to play good for a while longer before we — and more importantly Danny Ainge — really start to believe. Still, every journey starts with one step.
- Report: Dwight Howard will consider multiple teams in free agency, is said to be most intrigued by the Rockets 0
- Spurs would like to remind you they are very good, crush Grizzlies in Game 1 8
- LeBron takes offense to something that Pacers’ head coach Vogel didn’t actually say 34
- Thunder GM says team won’t amnesty Kendrick Perkins 24
- Western Conference Finals preview: Grizzlies vs. Spurs 8
- Knicks predictably drop Game 4 to Pacers, fall behind 3-1 (93)
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson (80)
- LeBron James shrugs off claims he’s a flopper (64)
- Seattle group releases statement; forced to wait, hope for expansion (63)
- Bradley Beal said he’d lose respect for a teammate who acted like Derrick Rose (63)
- Live Extra: Watch live coverage of Penguins-Senators
- PBT: Parker carves up Grizzlies as Spurs roll in Gm. 1
- PHT: Bruins crack Lundqvist, hammer Rangers
- MST: No bumping on Bump Day at Indy 500
- PST: Arsenal grabs Champions League spot
- Ferguson's managerial career ends with 5-5 draw
- Moore stays unbeaten as Rays top Orioles
- Play Video: Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
- Play Video: Durant won't 'compromise himself' like other stars
- Play Video: Knicks avoid elimination
- Play Video: Heat finish off Bulls, James 'has no energy left'
- Play Video: Health woes make Heat vulnerable
- Play Video: Good news for Sacramento, Kings stay