There were some familiar faces back in the building on Wednesday.
Evan Fournier made his return to Orlando, wearing green. And Steve Clifford was back on the sideline after recovering from COVID-19.
There were also some familiar trends on the court for the Magic: an early injury scare, with Cole Anthony having to briefly exit after an ugly collision with Mo Bamba during a screen; another new player getting minutes, with Sindarius Thornwell checking in to become the 28th member of the Magic to play in at least one game this season, tying an NBA record; and a lopsided loss, with the Magic getting routed by the Celtics, 132-96.
The Celtics opened the game on a 13-2 run, highlighted by Kemba Walker going off as he usually does against the Magic with 10 quick points and by Fournier hitting a three for his first points against the Magic in his post-Orlando career. The Magic, after turning the ball over six times in the opening 4:30, didn’t get their first field goal until Dwayne Bacon hit a jumper with 7:12 left in the first, cutting the Celtics’ lead to 15-6.
The lead reached 17 before Moe Wagner, facing the team that waived him just weeks ago, helped Orlando chip away by scoring 11 points in the first. Wagner drained a pair of threes and then, after getting fouled on another attempt with less than a second left in the quarter, hit all three free throws to pull the Magic within 39-27 heading into the second.
Walker, after missing the last five games, had 12 points in the first as the Celtics shot 57.1 percent, making 7 of 13 threes. Fournier, who received a video tribute on the Amway Center scoreboard, added 10 first-quarter points, shooting 4-for-7 from the field.
Nothing but love.— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) May 5, 2021
Thanks for the memories, @EvanFourmizz. pic.twitter.com/qNUpIVrW0V
The Magic shot 50 percent in the quarter but attempted just 16 field goals due to nine turnovers in the quarter.
Both teams went cold in the second, with nearly three full minutes of scoreless basketball to open the quarter. Bacon scored 10 points in the second, going 5 of 7 from the field, to account for all but two of Orlando’s field goal in the quarter as they shot 35 percent. The Magic cut the deficit to 46-41 after the Celtics missed nine of their first 10 three-point attempts in the second. But then Jayson Tatum came alive, scoring 12 points in the second, including a pull-up just before the buzzer to send the Celtics into the break with a 63-45 lead.
Walker’s domination over the Magic continued in the third as he scored 11 straight points to push the lead to 76-50.
A 14-4 Magic run cut the lead to 16 before Mo Bamba got a technical foul after exchanging words with Tatum. Tatum responded by scoring 11 points over the final 4:30 of the quarter as Boston put on a three-point shooting clinic to go up by as many as 29.
The lead reached 30 when Fournier hit a floater and a layup to make it 110-80 early in the fourth.
Fournier finished with 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Walker had 32 points in 28 minutes, going 11-for-18 from the field, including 6 of 9 from three. Tatum added 27 points as the Celtics shot 53.1 percent, connecting on 21 of 45 three-pointers (46.7) to outscore the Magic 63-18 from beyond the arc.
The only applause the Magic heard from the crowd was when Tacko Fall got up off the bench to check in late in the fourth, and then again when he showed off his handle and footwork with an up-and-under against Bamba for the bucket.
OKAY THEN TACKO pic.twitter.com/E1ibAy02RJ— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 6, 2021
Bamba, though, had a solid all-around statistical game himself in what was his second start of the season, and third overall of his career.
Bamba posted his third double-double in four games, finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds (matching a career-high for the second straight game), 4 blocks and 3 steals.
Bamba met Tatum at the rim pic.twitter.com/gaLQ79TVEp— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 6, 2021
Slo- slams.@TheRealMoBamba with another double-double and matching his career high in rebounds (15) for the second game in a row. pic.twitter.com/Uf9Kx1HYfY— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) May 6, 2021
R.J. Hampton also posted a double-double for the second straight game with 18 points (matching his career high set days ago), 10 rebounds (career-high) and 5 assists (just one turnover).
Over the past three games, R.J. Hampton has set new career highs in points (18 - twice), assists (10), and rebounds (10).— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) May 6, 2021
Two straight double-doubles.
30-plus minutes in each game and a combined two turnovers
Wagner and Bacon each had 20 to lead the Magic, who shot 38.8 percent, made just 6 of 26 attempts from three, and commit 17 turnovers.
The loss snapped the Magic’s two-game winning streak, dropping their record to 21-45, which is tied with the Thunder for fourth worst in the league, and a half game behind the Wolves for the coveted spot of owning the third-worst record. The Magic head to Charlotte to take on the Hornets on Friday, before returning home to face the Wolves on Sunday.