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Boston plays best game of season, routs Orlando. Don’t read much into it.

Jan 24, 2012, 12:55 AM EDT

Kevin Garnette

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.

Play like this every night with Rondo and Allen back and the Celtics are going to win some games. Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass had 19 points, Kevin Garnett had 14 and 10 rebounds. It was impressive.

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.

  1. goforthanddie - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Pretty sure this guarantees Howard won’t be re-signing. Not that he did anything special in the game, but seriously…

    • mjagosports511 - Jan 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM

      so because the Magic, who have been playing some great basketball out of the gate, get caught unprepared and have ONE off game in a 66 game season means Dwight is gone??…well..good thing you’re here

      • goforthanddie - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        How can you be THAT unprepared and call yourself a pro? How can you have your ass handed to you THAT badly when the opponent is short two starters?
        If Howard can’t have a bad game and still get SOME level of compensation from everyone else, why on Earth would he consider resigning?

  2. thetruth702 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Come on now. A bad shooting night is having a low 70’s score.. That low is just good D, hanfs in the face man up D.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:57 AM

      Did you watch the game? Boston played some good D but Orlando missed some very open looks and stuff they normally knock down.

      • giselleisasucubus - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        I watched every second and you are WAY off. No mention of Avery Bradley completing changing that game with his ridiculous pressure defense? Missed wide open shots? Maybe a couple, but they couldnt even get into their offense because of Bradley. Say what you want, but you are dead wrong about last night. The Celtics smothered them w/out 3 of their best players. Why cant you just admit that the Celts werent in shape and now it appears they are? I’ll do the job for you- Celtic fans, keep your heads up. This team is far from done.

      • pmick999 - Jan 24, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        No, apparently you did not watch or understand the game. I suspect if this were the Heat winning this game in this fashion it would say something in the neighborhood of Heat defense dominant in win over Magic. Boston has it’s share of issues and is probably past their window for a title, but last night their defense was 2008 quality. Even Van Gundy said That’s the most dominating defensive performance at least that I’ve ever had against me. I think I will go with Van Gundy over a blog writer.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 25, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        For the record, I did watch the game.

  3. thetruth702 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Oh. I forgot to mention allen and rondo didnt play

  4. skizzy79 - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    Queue up all the Howard trade talk. If I were Dwight i’d be careful what I wish for. Deron Williams wanted a trade, he. Left a good team and he ended up in basketball purgatory. I think Orlando is the best team for him, they just gotta put the right pieces together.

  5. ndrocks2 - Jan 24, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    these two teams combined would not compete for the championship they are light years behind top tier teams.

    • bbgraf08 - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM


      That starting lineup wouldn’t compete this year????

      • ndrocks2 - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        so basically you are saying if howard is on the celtics they would compete for the championship. have you seen the celtics this year not two years ago but this year?

    • giselleisasucubus - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      youre an idiot.

    • bbgraf08 - Jan 24, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      In your hypothetical world, that would be the best of the two teams combined. And yes, with this year’s Boston roster, that team would compete.

  6. bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile. Boston still SUCKS…and not just the city itself.

  7. bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    3 of Boston’s 7 wins are versus the WIZARDS..the worst team in the NBA. But keep on fooling yourself, Boston idiots.

    • giselleisasucubus - Jan 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      hey clown, you watch the game? You do know Orlando was 11-4, right? You hear Lebron’s comments about the Celts? Listen Bozo, I see you in chats just trying to be an antagonizer, but you are just an a&*hole. Get a clue about the game, basketball or football.

      • trbowman - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        Bozo’s vagina is still hurting after LSU got slapped around by Bama, lol.

    • bbgraf08 - Jan 24, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      Bozos, why are you so mad? No, the Celtics aren’t that good, we know that.

      But please keep this act up; it’s a riot to read. Every Boston related post I enter, I know I’ll get a chuckle out of you.

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