Right off the bat, things did not look good for the Boston Celtics today.
Missing not only Kevin Garnett, but also Rajon Rondo, the team slowly dug its way into a deficit of over 20 points. An enthusiastic second half surge led by Ray Allen brought the gap down to three points.
In the end, the Magic held on for the win.
After the big emotional win over Cleveland on Friday night, this is certainly a bit of a letdown. However, there are several points worth taking away from this game.
Despite not having their two best defensive players, Boston managed to hold Orlando to only 86 points, which is 16 below their per game average for the season.
They managed to accomplish this even with Stephon Marbury, whose defense has been poor at best, playing over 20 minutes.
Dwight Howard only took six free throws, compared to an average of eleven per game, due to some well-rounded team defense from the rotation of big men.
Ray Allen picked up a lot of the slack left by the absence of Garnett and Rondo, along with the poor shooting night from Pierce. Allen managed to pull down nine boards in the process, showing that when asked he can still put this team on his shoulders when the team approach is not working.
Shooting less than 40 percent from the floor as a team is very disappointing for the second best field goal percentage team in the league, averaging almost 49 percent, even if Orlando is the third-best defensive team in the league.
Unlike in Friday's game, the Celtics enjoyed a free throw advantage today. They did not capitalize, however, shooting only 70 percent, with four of seven misses coming from the usually accurate Pierce.
Marbury is not the dynamic spark plug the Celtics hoped for. 20 plus minutes of floor time without an assist to go with three turnovers is not what you would hope for from an option at point guard. His +/- sat at negative 14 for the game, and Marbury sat out the entire comeback in the second half.
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