In their highly-anticipated showdown with the Boston Celtics for early-season Eastern Conference supremacy, the Magic will start the game with a point guard-less lineup.
With Elfrid Payton and D.J. Augustin both out with hamstring injuries, Jonathon Simmons will get the starting nod over Shelvin Mack against the Celtics. Simmons, normally adept at handling the ball and attacking the basket, looked somewhat out of sorts while handling the ball at times in the Magic's loss to the Bulls on Friday. The move could be more of a defensive strategy in hoping that Simmons or Terrence Ross will be able to use their size advantage to contain Kyrie Irving, who is averaging 22.1 points per game.
The Magic (6-3) will look to put a stop to the Celtics (7-2) seven-game wining streak and pull even atop the Eastern Conference standings. The Magic have done well this season rebounding from losses and will need to do so again tonight after suffering a disheartening 105-83 loss to the Bulls on Friday. In their first two losses of the season to the Nets and Hornets, the Magic followed with wins at Cleveland and at New Orleans.
The Celtics enter with a defensive efficiency of 95.6 points per 100 possessions, tops in the league. The Celtics also defend well against the three, with defenders shooting just 32.1 percent from downtown against them, fifth best in the league.
Game time is set for 6 p.m. Eastern at Amway Center. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Florida and heard on ESPN580 Orlando.
Magic starters: Jonathon Simmons, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic
Celtics starters: Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, Al Horford