The first quarter showed just how badly the Celtics wanted a win, after what could be termed mildly as a terrible January.
Bass started with a slam, AB, who in his first game back from injury, nailed a jumper & Sullinger hit a hook shot to put the Celtics up 6-0 early. Vucevic got the Magic on the board but Sullinger answered with a layup off the feed by Green after he had created space. Afflalo got fouled on a 3 & made all 3 FT’s to make it a 5-8, Celtics lead with 8 left. Rondo’s hot half started with a pull-up J before Harris went on a 5-0 run to put Magic up 12-10. Rondo hit another jumper & after a cold minute and a half from both teams, Bass got his second dunk of the quarter to give Boston back the lead. Harris kept his hot shooting going & tied things back up before Vucevic was called for a defensive 3 second & Green nailed the FT. Bass then took over scoring 5 of the next 7 Boston points to put the Celtics up 22-16 with 2 left. Afflalo scored the next 3 points for Orlando before Bayless drained a jumper & Johnson hit a 3 to give the Celtics a 27-19 lead after one.
Ex-Celtic Big Baby Davis, along with Harkless got the Magic started in the second as the Celtics started out stone cold. The lead was cut to 4 before AB & Sullinger quickly equalised. Davis hit a couple FT’s before Sullinger scored 4 straight to give him 10 on the night & the Celtics a 10 point lead with 8:30 left. Harris got a layup & Olynyk split a pair, Bayless & Oladipo exchanged jumpers before AB got his 6th first half point off Green’s 4th assist. Afflalo answered with a 3 but Rondo scored 6 of the next 8 Boston points to have the green up by 10 before Vucevic got an easy layup in transition. Rondo got a nice steal & Green knocked down a 3 off Rondo’s feed, Harkless answered with a 3 & Rondo responded with another 3 to give him 13 first half points. Oladipo finished the quarter with 2 FT’s as the Celtics led 45-54 halfway.
Half time statistics
- The Celtics lead on points in the paint 24-16. Rajon Rondo 13-3-4 on 6-7 shooting
- Jared Sullinger 12-6 on 6-8 shooting
- Brandon Bass 9-3
- Jeff Green 6-0-4
Rondo started the second half with a layup before Davis answered for the Magic. Sullinger missed 2 chances & Rondo stepped in for a charge at the other end but was called a blocking foul, which also was his 3rd personal. Thankfully, Oladipo missed a 3 right after. Afflalo got a layup and the blocking call (and fourth foul) on Rondo, which forced him to sit. Jeff Green subsequently gave a huge block and swatted Afflalo’s shot right into the stands. The Celtics managed to get a stop on the next possession, with AB pushing for a quick two points and was fouled while heading to the basket. He split the FTs to give Boston a 59-49 lead with 8:33 left. Vucevic scored the next 4 points and Harris hit a jump shot to cut the C’s lead to 4. After a flurry of exchanged points, Bass nailed another shot to push the Celtics’ lead back to 8. Vucevic scored again before Oladipo drained a 3 to cut the Celtics lead to 3. Bayless got his defender in the air and fed the rock to AB for an uncontested layup, forcing a Magic timeout with 3:44 left. Vucevic tipped Hump’s shot in, resulting in the closest Celtics basket, Bass. Bayless drained a nice shot to push the Celtics lead back to 9 with 2 minutes left. Both teams went ice cold before Harris hit a layup with 33 ticks left. The Celtics got the final 2 shots with Green missing 2 3’s to give him 1-11 after 3.
The 4th began ice cold for both teams other than Sullinger’s first shot of the quarter. Harkless made 2 FT’s before Sullinger got another rebound & basket to put the Celtics up 75-66 with 9:22 left. Harkless got a layup & ex-Celtic, Moore nailed a floater to make it a 5 point Celtics lead. Hump answered with a jumper to force a Magic timeout with 8:16 left, Boston up 7. Lamb nailed a tough floater out of the timeout, Rondo turned it over & Davis scored to cut the lead to 3. O’Quinn cut it to 1 before Rondo scored with a crazy hook shot and AB canned a nice Jumper to put the Celtics back on top by 5 with 5:20 left. Out of the timeout Afflalo knocked down a jump shot before fouling AB at the other end, AB made both FT’s. Sullinger committed a foul that put the Celtics over the limit with 4:12 left, Oladipo made both before Sullinger stepped into it and made a smooth 3. Oladipo answered with a reverse layup to cut the Celtics lead to 4. Chris Johnson nailed a 3 but was standing out of bounds, resulting in a turnover & a timeout. Davis & Rondo exchanged baskets out of the timeout. Vucevic missed a jumper and Green drained a deep 2 at the other end to put the Celtics up 6 with 1:53 left. Vucevic was called for the offensive foul & Rondo found Bass at the other end to force a Magic timeout with 1:22 left, down 8. Afflalo scored out of the timeout, Bass answered & then Big Baby nailed a clutch 3 to cut the lead to 5 with 46 ticks left. Rondo missed a 3 & Magic took a timeout with 20.9 seconds left. After errors by both teams, Rondo got the ball & fed it to Avery with 2 seconds left and got his double-double.
After much struggle, Celtics held on and won it 96-89.
- Jared Sullinger 21 points , 12 rebounds & a block
- Rajon Rondo 19 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists & 2 steals
- Brandon Bass 19 points & 9 rebounds
- Avery Bradley 17 points , 2 rebounds & 2 assists
- The Celtics shot 41-82 (50%), Magic 33-80 (41%)
- Celtics won rebounds 44-39
- Celtics won assists 24-18
- Magic shot 10 more free throws
- Celtics win fast break points 10-7.