If you thought the rivalry between the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics has evaporated ever since the Magic let go of Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard, think otherwise. Boston has always found a way to leave the Magic bitter.
Sure, Orlando lost, but it displayed a valiant effort in falling to the Boston Celtics, 116-110, on Sunday evening in what was the Magic's first overtime game of the regular season.
Orlando shot 45.6 percent overall, but Boston nearly matched them at 44.8 percent.
Boston outscored Orlando, 14-6, in overtime; it also outscored Orlando in the paint, 60-34. The Celtics also beat Orlando on the offensive boards by seven.
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The Magic needed a better second half, and that has been the trend for their last few games: slow first halves, stronger second halves. Determined to get back into the game, Jameer Nelson pressured Boston's defense with 12 points in the third quarter. He also knotted up the game at 80 apiece with 40.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Even though Nelson fouled out in overtime, he still dropped 20 points and knocked down three triples. In his last two contests, Nelson has averaged 21 points.
Orlando also received solid guard play from J.J. Redick and Arron Afflalo. Redick shot an efficient 8-of-13 from the field, poured in a team-high 21 points and matched Nelson's output on 3-pointers made. Afflalo filled the stat sheet with 15 points, though he shot just 7-of-19. He also tallied seven assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Glen Davis struggled with his shot down low against the defense of Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass. He shot just 3-of-12 from the field, but compensated for that poor performance by going 9-of-10 at the foul line.
The Magic's unsung hero was Josh McRoberts. The reserve forward hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds, blocked three shots, and made a 3-pointer down the stretch. He and Davis served as Orlando's big-man tandem in crunch time, with starting center Nikola Vucevic taking a seat.
The Magic's homestand continues Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs at 7 PM.