BOSTON – The Magic continue their mini Eastern conference road trip as they traveled to Boston to face the 3rd seeded Celtics. Boston put on display just how deep their roster is. Without their All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, they featured the trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward.
Boston had a fundamentally textbook game plan and executed to perfection. The C’s outrebounded and out-assisted Orlando, while also winning the turnover battle and finishing with higher field goal (53%) and three-point percentages (57%).
Moreover, the trio of Tatum, Brown and Hayward combined for over 63% of Boston’s offense.
Between Hayward and Brown, they combined for 41 points. However, it was Tatum who provided Orlando with the headache of slowing him down. Tatum showed why he was selected as a first time All-Star as he poured in 33 points along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
“He’s an All-Star for a reason. You know, Kemba was out and he stepped up, good play”, said Aaron Gordon on Tatum.
It wasn’t just the trio of Boston that determined the outcome of this game. Orlando averages a little over 12 turnovers a game, but tonight they committed an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers.
“Obviously you want to get stops, but it’s more about the turnovers. You know, we turn the ball over way too much. Me personally, I think I had three in the fourth [quarter] and that’s a recipe for a loss”, said Gordon. Aaron finished the night with 5 total turnovers.
It was a one-point game at the half, with Boston leading, however the second half would prove to be a different story for the Magic as the C’s were able to pull away.
Coach Steve Clifford on what changed in the second half, “Well, I think shot-making. I mean, obviously Tatum was phenomenal. We had our chances there that last four and half minutes. We had two big turnovers with guys wide open under the basket – ball handling type plays and had a open foul line jumper. We had a wide open three.”
It came down to Boston being able to better execute their game plan over Orlando, an issue that has plagued the Magic all season.
Orlando travels to New York to face the 15-36 Knicks who are looking to extend their winning streak to 3 games.