Just hours before Super Bowl XLV, the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics will face off for the final time this season. It's the rubber match, with each team winning on its home court, which would appear to favor the host Celtics today.
The teams aren't strangers to one another, obviously, having played 26 times since the 2007/08 season, counting playoff meetings. Orlando holds a 14-12 record in those meetings, and thus is the league's only team to have a winning record against Boston since it assembled its core of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. Remarkably, only four points separate the teams in their head-to-head meetings, as Boston's scored 2393 points to Orlando's 2389.
The Celtics are uncommonly good, both in terms of their won-loss record and the manner in which they've achieved it, as Zach Lowe has written before. The Celtics don't hit the offensive glass, get to the foul line, or take many three-pointers. In addition, they're a turnover-prone crew. Thus, their offense relies overwhelmingly on making the first two-point shot it tries on every possession.
Relatedly: in Orlando's win against Boston on Christmas Day, the Celtics shot 24-of-64 (37.5 percent) on two-pointers. In Boston's victory, it shot 39-of-60 (65 percent) inside the arc.
Boston tends to elevate its play against the league's better teams, including Orlando, so the Magic can't be caught off guard when the Celtics come out with plenty of energy. And Orlando itself needs to stick to it, using a visit to Boston 364 days ago as inspiration. The Celtics leapt out to a 51-40 halftime lead, but the Magic turned the tide with a 36-11 third quarter and wound up winning by a 96-89 final. The since-departed duo of Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis combined for 17 points and made 4-of-5 three-pointers as Orlando closed the period on a 25-2 run.
|2010/2011 NBA Season|
|32-19 (14-12 road) |
|37-12 (22-4 home) |
|February 5th, 2011|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Rajon Rondo|
|Jason Richardson||SG||Ray Allen|
|Hedo Turkoglu||SF||Paul Pierce|
|Ryan Anderson||PF||Kevin Garnett|
|Dwight Howard||C||Kendrick Perkins|
|December 25th: Magic 86, Celtics 78|
|January 17th: Celtics 109, Magic 106|
|2010/11 Advanced Stats|
|92.1 (16th)||Pace||90.8 (20th)|
|108.6 (10th)||ORtg||108.2 (12th)|
|102.5 (T-3rd)||DRtg||100.4 (2nd)|