Following two losses to kick off their four game home stand, the Orlando Magic welcomed an old face in a very new place in Jameer Nelson and the Boston Celtics to town. After getting blown out in Boston last week, the Magic bounced back with a tight 100-95 victory.
During pre-game introductions, Nelson received a loud round of applause from fans in attendance, and after the Magic played a tribute video during the first time out, received a standing ovation. Other than his warm welcome, things did not go well for Nelson and the Celtics. Orlando played smothering defense, holding the Celtics to just nine points on 9.1 percent shooting. Orlando's offense looked much better, with the ball moving fluidly and the team getting good looks on almost all of their possessions. Nikola Vucevic got the Magic going with his 10-point, six-rebound quarter. Marcus Smart led the way for the Celtics with three in the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Magic's offense began to regress slightly, with the ball sticking and not moving as crisply as it did in the first. Their defense also saw some regression, with the Celtics shooting 50 percent from the field, while scoring 21 points in the quarter. Despite the slight regression on both ends, which was expected, the Magic still did a lot of good in the first half. They made the Celtics pay for their turnovers, scoring 15 points off of nine turnovers, while also dominating in the paint, outscoring the Celtics 28-to-12. Vucevic continued his strong play, getting up to 14 points in the half. Avery Bradley's eight led the way for the Celtics at the half.
Out of halftime, the Magic continued to hold their lead around the 18-22 point mark for much of the quarter. Orlando's offense continued to click well, with the ball moving at a high rate, helping them get good looks on many of their possessions. However, their defense struggled, giving up 30 points on nearly 50 percent shooting from the field. Orlando's dominance in the paint continued, with them outscoring the Celtics 18-to-12 their in the quarter. With just 12 minutes to play, Vucevic continued to lead the way for the Magic with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Bradley's 17 continued to lead the way for the Celtics.
With a 25-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Magic looked well on their way to their 11th win of the season. However, they play 48 minutes for a reason, and the Magic became extremely relaxed with their big lead. Boston on the other hand, continued to play hard on both ends, and began to string together stops, while also getting easy buckets on the offensive end. Almost before you could blink, the lead was down to 15, then 10, then six, then three. On both ends, the Magic went to sleep, taking horrible shots on the offensive end, while giving up good, open looks to the Celtics defensively. Despite their struggles, the Magic found ways to get points down the stretch, helping them hold off the Celtics late run.
The Magic relied heavily on their starters all night, with four of five finishing in double figures. Tobias Harris, led the way with 19, while Kyle O`Quinn and Nikola Vucevic finished with 18 a piece. O`Quinn added 13 rebounds, while Vucevic added 12. Elfrid Payton finished with 12 points and seven assists.
Tyler Zeller led all scorers, finishing with 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Braldey finished with 20, with Kelly Olynyk finishing with 14 off the bench. Marcus Smart rounded out Celtics in double figures, with 11 points.