Teams at opposite ends of the standings in the Eastern Conference take the floor for a matinee contest in Beantown. The Orlando Magic heads up the east coast as they take on the Boston Celtics Sunday afternoon. Orlando is coming off a 104-103 road loss to Cleveland Thursday night in their last contest. Boston dropped their second straight with an 89-80 home loss to Philadelphia Thursday night. The Celtics own a 62-47 advantage in the all-time regular season series and have taken the last six meetings. This season, Boston has won both contests, including a 118-103 home win in the last matchup on November 24, 2017.
Line: Boston -10.5
Orlando Magic Hope to Finish Strong
Orlando struggled in the first half against Cleveland, roared back in the second but made a couple bad mistakes with the game on the line late that cost them. The Magic looks to clean up those miscues and spring an upset on the road. Orlando was down 20 at the half and as many as 23 in the game against the Cavaliers but led in the final 15 seconds before committing a foul to send Isaiah Thomas to the line. He knocked down both free throws with 11 seconds to play, giving Cleveland the lead, and Elfrid Payton missed a potential game winning shot in the dying seconds. The Magic shot 46.6 percent from the floor but struggled from the perimeter, shooting five of 22. Payton had 19 points and eight assists to lead Orlando in the loss.
The Magic has been average this season putting the ball in the basket: they are 16th in the league with 105.2 points per game. Orlando stands 21st on the glass with 41.9 boards per contest and is 8th with 23.4 assists a night. The Magic is 29th in scoring defense as they allow 110.7 points a game. Nikola Vucevic is third on Orlando with 17.4 points plus 9.3 rebounds per game: he’s out until late February after injuring his hand against Washington December 23. Evan Fournier contributes 17.9 points a night, Aaron Gordon leads the team with 18.6 points and eight boards a game while Johnathon Simmons contributes 13.9 points a night. Elfrid Payton (12.9 points, 6.5 assists), D.J. Augustin (8.1 points, 3.2 assists), Terrence Ross, Mario Hezonja, Arron Afflalo, Shelvin Mack, Marreese Speights and Jonathan Isaac are all components of Frank Vogel’s rotation. Ross is out indefinitely with a sprained MCL and a non-displaced fracture in his right leg. Isaac is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. The Magic is 14th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.6 percent as a team. Orlando is 17th with 10.3 made threes per game while the team is 24th in three point percentage as they shoot 35.2 percent from downtown.
Boston Celtics Try to Stop Skid at Two
Boston’s offense was nonexistent without Kyrie Irving as they dropped their second straight with a loss to the 76ers. The Celtics hope that Irving’s sore shoulder will allow him to play in this one as they try to get back on track. Boston mustered only 32 first half points and fell behind by as many as 21 in the fourth quarter: they got no closer than seven the rest of the way. The Celtics shot only 40.5 percent from the field and went seven of 29 from three point range. Boston turned the ball over 19 times while losing the rebounding battle 43-31 to negate forcing 22 Philadelphia turnovers. Marcus Morris and Al Horford each had 14 to lead the Celtics in the loss.
The Celtics are 23rd in the league in scoring offense with 102.7 points per game. Boston is 12th in the league in rebounding with 44.4 boards per game and stand 21st with 22 assists per contest. Boston is above average on the defensive end: they are 2nd in scoring defense, allowing 97.9 points per game. Kyrie Irving leads the team with 24.1 points and five assists plus 1.21 steals per game in his first year with the team. Al Horford averages 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Marcus Smart chips in 10 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest. Jaylen Brown (14.2 points, 5.6 boards), rookie Jayson Tatum (13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds), Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris (11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds) and Aron Baynes are key pieces in the rotation. Gordon Hayward, who is likely done for the year after suffering a fracture dislocation of his ankle in the opener, is progressing: he is no longer wearing a brace to stabilize his ankle. There is the potential chance that he could return for the postseason though it remains cloudy at this point. The Celtics are 25th in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.8 percent from the floor as a team. Boston is tied for 5th in three pointers per game with 11.5 per night while the team is tied for 11th in three point percentage as they hit 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.
- Magic are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Sunday games
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest
Orlando showed a lot of grit and character as they rallied from that huge deficit against Cleveland before falling in the final seconds. The problem with the Magic is that you can’t expect that kind of performance on a night in, night out basis. Orlando is going to be minus Afflalo as he serves the second game of his suspension for an altercation earlier in the week against Minnesota. The Celtics may or may not have Irving as he’s questionable here but they shouldn’t need him. Boston should win this game, playing at home, to earn their seventh straight win over Orlando.