Paul Pierce and DeQuan Jones - David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando, missing Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo due to injury, lost starting point guard Jameer Nelson in the second half due to a left forearm contusion as Boston broke the game open early in the fourth quarter for the win.
Jeff Green scored 17 points off the bench and Paul Pierce contributed a near triple-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists on Friday night as the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic, 97-84. Kevin Garnett added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics.
It looked like the Magic would make a game out of it in the third quarter, after trailing by 11 at the half. Orlando pulled within 57-54 after an E'Twaun Moore 3-point play with just over five minutes remaining. The Celtics proceeded to go on a 29-9 run to go up 86-63 to put the game away.
Boston, without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, moved the ball really well the entire game, finishing with 30 assists. They shot 50% for the game, and shot at least 50% in every quarter except the first.
Orlando struggled considerably in the first half, shooting a poor 32.6% from the field, including 1 for 13 on 3s, as they trailed 46-35 at halftime. Center Nikola Vucevic and power forward Andrew Nicholson, starting in place of the injured Davis, combined to score 19 points on 9 of 15 shooting in that first half, while the rest of the Magic combined to shoot 6 of 31 (19.4%) for 16 points. The Magic finished the game shooting 38%, including 3 of 19 on 3s.
The Magic made a nice run late in the fourth quarter with their young players to come as close as 94-84 in the final minute. Rookie center Kyle O'Quinn was particularly impressive, scoring all 11 of his points in the final 5 1/2 minutes of the game.
J.J. Redick led the Magic in scoring with 15 points. Nicholson took advantage of some much-needed playing time and finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. He also added two blocks. Vucevic also added a double-double of 14 points and 14 boards. Moore, who took over for Nelson in the second half, scored 14 points along with 4 assists. Maurice Harkless, starting in place of Afflalo, scored 8 points along with 8 rebounds in 30 minutes of play.
One has to wonder if Hedo Turkoglu's hand is still bothering him, as he went scoreless in 18 minutes off the bench, shooting 0 for 6.
Orlando is now winless in 13 games against teams from the Atlantic Division this season, and has lost 19 of their last 21 games, in addition to their eight game losing streak.