The Magic is a head cutter! Or rather the Celtics’ pet peeve… For the third time this season, Paolo Banchero and his teammates won against Boston (113-98).
A success that suffers no challenge since Boston has always been in the reaction, and this achievement puts an end to a series of nine straight victories for the 2022 finalists. Facing the Celtics deprived of three major players (Williams, Smart and Brogdon), it was Wendell Carter Jr who had put his team on the right track (13-6). Jamahl Mosley even took the opportunity to bring in the ghost Jonathan Isaac to a superb ovation.
The strong winger from Orlando immediately got into the rhythm with a very complicated shot on Jaylen Brown, and after a good pass from Cole Anthony, we found his seven-point gap (30-23). The sequel is even more complicated for the Celtics, and the Magic continues with a 9-0 to bring the gap to +14. Anthony is untenable, and he even goes to dunk! In Boston, Payton Pritchard brings his usual spark, and the Celtics respond with an 18-2 to take control of the match (47-45)! The level of play has clearly increased, and the Carter-Banchero pair is responsible for responding to the Brown-Tatum duo. At the break, Orlando is in front of a small point (55-54).
It was when the Magic returned from the locker room that they took the break, and it was Jayson Tatum’s injury exit that changed everything. The Boston winger complains of ribs after a foul suffered on a 3-pointer, and he returns to the locker room. When he leaves, he has just restored the advantage to the Celtics (68-66). When he comes back into play, five minutes later, the Magic took a 13-point lead (86-73) with big damage from Isaac and Banchero.
Thanks to Pritchard and Sam Hauser first, then Tatum, the Celtics will nibble their delay, and come back to two units six minutes from the end (97-95). In a crazy atmosphere, the Magic chained stops, and signed a 10-0 to take a 12-point lead (107-95). Joe Mazzulla understood that it was over, and he calls his executives back to the bench. After nine straight wins, Boston falls to Orlando (113-98).
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The return of Jonathan Isaac. We didn’t expect to see him so early in the game, but he came on after just five minutes. We immediately felt at ease, and his first basket, on a “turnaround jumper” in “fadeaway” reassured everyone! In the 3rd quarter, it was on his 3-point sequence then interception that the Magic made the break. A more than positive return with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in 10 minutes.
– Blake Griffin titular. Robert Williams absent, Joe Mazzulla had chosen to start with two interiors, and it was Blake Griffin who accompanied Al Horford in the painting. The former Clippers dunker was transparent, overwhelmed by the athleticism and mobility of Orlando’s interiors.
– The Orlando defense. Best offense in the NBA with more than 118 points scored per game, Boston scored only 44 points in the second half. The exit of Tatum in the middle of the 3rd quarter and the absence of Brogdon off the bench are explanations, but we will especially remember the very high defense of the Magic. With players with a large wingspan, the Magic hampered the ball transmissions a lot.
✅Wendell Carter Jr. He got the better of the Griffin-Horford pair from the start, and he set the tone for the match. A nice double-double and a big activity.
✅ Cole Anthony. The perfect joker, who transcends an audience with his aggressiveness. At each “run” of the Magic, he was on the ground and he scored 18 points at 8 of 12 on shots.
✅ Jayson Tatum. After a break against the Raptors, he is the most consistent of the Celtics. Proof that he is essential, it is when he leaves on injury that the Magic makes the break in the 3rd quarter.
⛔The Horford-Griffin pair. Faced with the youth and enthusiasm of the interiors of the Magic, Al Horford and Blake Griffin have made their age.
Orlando (18-29) : reception of the Pacers on Wednesday.
Boston (35-13) : back-to-back in Miami.
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