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Celtics 102, Magic 83: Boston cruises as Orlando rests top players

Despite A.J. Slaughter's best efforts, Orlando fell to Boston on Friday in a blowout. The Magic finish the week in eighth place.

A.J. Slaughter
A.J. Slaughter
Don McPeak - USA Today Sports

With their top Orlando Pro Summer League players resting, the Orlando Magic fell to the Boston Celtics on Friday in an 102-83 blowout. The loss means Orlando finishes the week in eighth place out of 10 teams. A.J. Slaughter led the Magic with 25 points, nine assists, and seven steals, showing the sort of shooting ability and floor vision which could earn him an invitation to training camp in October.

The Magic rested three of their top performers for Friday's finale. Victor Oladipo, Maurice Harkless, and Kyle O'Quinn took in the game from Orlando's bench. The absence of Doron Lamb, who banged his knee on Tuesday, meant that Andrew Nicholson was the only Orlando starter Friday who also started the team's opener on Sunday.

Slaughter and Matt Gatens started in the backcourt. They joined DeQuan Jones, Nicholson, and Jared Berggren up front. Nicholson is the only player from that group to have a guaranteed contract for the 2013/14 season.

Jones wasn't gunshy in his second Orlando Pro Summer League start, taking eight shots in his seven-minute shift in the first quarter. The Magic's decision to rest their top guys gave Jones an opportunity to be a go-to offensive option. But with Jones' jumper off the mark and without much help--Romero Osby was the only other Magic player with more than one basket--Orlando limped out of the first quarter facing a 29-14 deficit.

Boston continued to extend its lead in the second quarter, thanks in large part to hot outside shooting. With Phil Pressey running pick-and-roll and Lawrence Hill facilitating from the top of the key, the Celtics created wide-open shots on most of their possessions, and converted on many of those looks.

Kelly Olynyk, Boston's first-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, concluded the first half by cutting to the rim and finishing a Pressey pass with a right-handed flip as time expired. The easy shot gave the Celtics a 61-36 lead.

Jones had 15 points in the first half. Slaughter was the only other Magic player to really make an impact, with seven points, four assists, and three steals.

Orlando badly missed O'Quinn's presence on the glass, as Boston grabbed 24 of a possible 35 rebounds in the first half. O'Quinn averaged 8.5 boards in his four games before resting Friday.

Osby continued to be reasonably effective offensively, but most of his utility comes from his ability to get shots off in the paint over smaller players, as when he spun inside against Hill at the 3:54 mark of the third. He's crafty and a threat to drive when he faces up, but against NBA-caliber defenders, he won't have the same advantages. He stands a better chance of sticking around in the NBA if he refines his jumper to become a more reliable pick-and-pop option.

A transition triple by Slaughter, his first trey of the day, brought Orlando to within 24 points late in the third. He followed that play by hitting Osby at the top of the key, where Osby jab-stepped his man off him and then converted the long two, an unassisted basket. Slaughter hit Dandridge for threes on two of Orlando's next three possessions, sandwiching a long two-pointer by Slaughter. This 13-0 flurry brought Orlando to within 14 before Colton Iverson closed the third with two foul shots.

A pull-up jumper by Slaughter--off a steal that he made--brought Orlando to within 12 with 6:23 to play, but Boston would put the game away over the next two-plus minutes with a 9-0 run.

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