Skip to content

Orlando chokes, breathes new life into Boston’s season

Jan 27, 2012, 12:40 AM EDT

Kevin Garnett Getty Images

Boston was having serious trouble finding itself this season — they looked old and the talk was about what was the best way to rebuild — but now there is hope.

Hope because twice this week the pressure of Boston’s defense turned the Orlando Magic into jelly. The first was a Boston 31-point blowout Monday where Orlando set a franchise record for fewest points scored.

Then Thursday night the Magic took charge of the game in the first quarter, led by as many as 27, were cruising along in the third quarter…

And then fell apart. Boston went on a 44-15 run to end the game, Orlando scored 8 points on 12 percent shooting in the fourth quarter in the face of that Celtics defense, and the Celtics roared back to an improbable 91-83 win.

The final 18 minutes of this game were stunning. Vintage Kevin Garnett showed up and played Dwight Howard to a standstill, allowing the focal point of the Magic offense to score just three points in the final frame. Paul Pierce played like he was 10 years younger as well on his way to 24 points. Orlando’s Ryan Anderson, who had 12 points in the first quarter as the Magic took control never scored again. E’Twaun Moore came off the bench and could not miss. Paul Pierce, with 24 points (10 in the final quarter) looked reborn.

For 18 minutes Boston dominated Orlando about as thoroughly as one team can dominate another and in the process staged an amazing comeback. Celtics fans reveled in it (and enjoyed watching Glen Davis take and miss bad shots).

This stat from My Synergy Sport sums up the kind of night Boston started to have — Moore was 0-14 in spot-up situations this season before Thursday, but he knocked down four spot-up threes in this game. Moore had 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Boston has won three in a row, and they did it without Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. They did it by playing defense. You can sense their confidence and swagger. Boston also has a long way to go — they are 8-9 on the season and just the 7 seed in the East as you read this (still behind Orlando). If the measure is championship or bust in Boston, then Chicago and Miami still loom like Mount Everest and K2 in the way. But the Celtics look the last few games like a team that does not want to be blown up, one that thinks it can compete in the East.

Orlando? Good in the regular season. Above average in offense and defense. A system built around the best center in the game but without the players to really compete with the elite of the NBA. It is games like these two losses to Boston that weakens Orlando’s hold on Howard as the trade deadline and then a potential summer of free agency start to loom larger. Here is what Howard said after the game.

“We thought it was going to be easy after the first two quarters,” Howard said. “We can’t allow that to happen. We’ve got to change. We have to change what we do, and guys have to know their roles and do it. That’s just the bottom line.”

Choose to read into that what you wish.

Latest Posts
  1. Byron Scott expects Kobe Bryant to score 23-24 points per game

    Sep 30, 2014, 12:15 AM EDT

    Kobe Bryant, Tony Allen Kobe Bryant, Tony Allen

    Lakers might need Kobe’s scoring, but they shouldn’t count on that much from aging star

  2. Cleveland Cavaliers now huge draw, expensive ticket at home, on road

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day Getty Images

    Road tickets to see the Cavaliers are $131.33 higher per seat than the second most expensive team, the Lakers.

  3. Trey Burke, in wake of nude-photo scandal: ‘My judgments will be much better’

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT

    Utah Jazz v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

    Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey disappointed in what he’s learned so far about photos

  4. James Harden admits he needs to be better on defense. It’s a start, I guess.

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT

    Houston Rockets Media Day Getty Images

    If James Harden doesn’t play focused defense this season it’s Kevin McHale that pays the price.

  5. Carmelo Anthony says he re-signed in New York because of ‘unfinished business’ with Knicks

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Anthony said it wouldn’t have felt right leaving after he forced his way to New York midway through the 2011 season.

  6. Erik Spoelstra nearly chose Grateful Dead tickets over chance to join Heat

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:52 PM EDT

    Erik Spoelstra Erik Spoelstra

    Spoelstra applied only on a bet with his German teammates

  7. Report: Kevin Durant says he wants to play in 2016 Olympics (his free agent summer)

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    KD has some words for those that questioned his motivation this summer, and they are not the words of Mr. Nice Guy.

  8. It’s official, Celtics sign Evan Turner to two-year deal

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards Getty Images

    Can he fit in the Celtics’ system better than he did in Indiana?

  9. Danny Granger reveals he had another knee surgery

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT

    Danny Granger Danny Granger

    Without LeBron James, how many setbacks – even small ones – can the Heat overcome?

  10. Hornets GM: It was important for franchise to act “decisively and quickly” on Jeff Taylor domestic assault arrest

    Sep 29, 2014, 1:29 PM EDT

    Mike Dunlap, Jeffery Taylor Mike Dunlap, Jeffery Taylor

    The Hornets made the right move so far, keeping Taylor away from team activities while the investigation goes forward.

  11. Hawks announce Dominique Wilkins’ statue, new role with team

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Sacramento Kings vs. Atlanta Hawks Sacramento Kings vs. Atlanta Hawks

    Franchise great becomes Special Advisor to CEO Steve Koonin

  12. Morris twins sign four-year extensions with Suns

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT

    Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris

    Markieff Morris gets $32 million, Marcus Morris $20 million

  13. ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Washington Wizards

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    John Wall, Bradley Beal John Wall, Bradley Beal

    John Wall is a star. Is Bradley Beal joining him?

Featured video

What players stood out at World Cup?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. R. Rondo (3635)
  2. L. James (3622)
  3. K. Bryant (3041)
  4. E. Bledsoe (2554)
  5. R. Allen (2342)
  1. D. Wade (2333)
  2. D. Williams (2247)
  3. K. Leonard (2018)
  4. D. Rose (1946)
  5. M. Smart (1870)