Two games, two blowouts; the Boston Celtics have basically owned the Orlando Magic this year.
These two team met in Orlando back on December 7th and it wasn’t pretty. Boston outscored Orlando 68-37 in the second half en route to a 117-87 blowout victory and the Celtics hammered them once again on Friday night, winning by exactly 30 points once again in a 128-98 beat down.
It seems even more impressive when you consider that the Magic still haven’t faced the Celtics at full strength yet. Boston played without Isaiah Thomas back when the two squared off in December and they faced the Magic tonight without Avery Bradley and Al Horford. The two teams will battle it out one final time during the regular season – a March 31st bout at the TD Garden – and it will honestly be curious to see what happens if the Celtics actually have all their guys available.
While both games were decided by exactly 30 points, this one was actually more of a washout. The first meeting actually saw the Celtics start the second half down by a point and they pieced together what was probably their finest half of the season to date, which featured them outscoring Orlando 32-14 in the fourth quarter. This time around it was all Boston from the opening tip as they led by 15 points when the clock read zero at the end of the opening frame.
You really couldn’t find anyone who played poorly in the first half. Jaylen Brown – who got the starting nod for the second straight game – was leading the Celtics with 13 points and Kelly Olynyk was right behind him with 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting in just ten minutes of action. Tyler Zeller was also a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and had ten points by halftime while Thomas and Jae Crowder were in double-figures as well. Marcus Smart was held scoreless in the first half but he was leading the way with seven assists.
The best thing about this game is the fact that they got through it with only Brown – who finished with 20 points and eight rebounds – accumulating 30 minutes of playing time, while everyone who normally carries a big minutes load was able to take it easy down the stretch of the game. This is big because they’re turning around and heading to Wisconsin for a road game against the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night and that will be their fourth game in five nights.
Now they can go in with a few extra miles left in the tank for this game against the Bucks, who are struggling and have lost seven of their last eight. Heading into a game like this with so little rest would have been concerning no matter who the opponent is, but now you have to feel at least a little better about their chances to extend this win streak to three games. Extending that streak to three would be a great way to come out of their recent three game losing skid.