Five Celtics scored in double digits, and the Green's defense was as good as advertised in the victory over the second-place Magic.
Celtics 86, Magic 77
Amway Arena, Orlando, Fla.
Dec. 25, 2009
Headliner: Rajon Rondo won the anticipated battle against Jameer Nelson, outscoring his counterpart 17-8. Rondo went 7-for-18 from the field and 3-for-7 from the line, and picked up 13 boards in the Celtics' Christmas win over the Magic. It was Rondo's first double-digit rebound game of the season, but his 10th straight game scoring in double-digit figures.
Unsung Hero: Vince Carter came out on the losing end of this one, but the Magic shooting guard did his best to get the Magic a win. Carter shot 50 percent from the field (10-for-20) and went 6-for-7 from the line for 27 points in the losing effort. It was the fourth time this month Carter has scored at least 27 points in game, and the first time he has done so since Dec. 14.
Scrub: The emergence of J.J. Reddick as the perimeter shooter that many thought he would be when he entered the NBA is a major reason the Magic are trailing only the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings. But on Friday, Reddick's shooting was not a factor in the game, and had a negative impact on the Magic's offense. Reddick went 0-for-4 from the field and 0-for-3 from behind the arc, totaling zero points in 15 minutes of action. He finished the game with a minus-10 rating and two personal fouls.
Turning Point: Without Paul Pierce in the lineup, the Celtics defense stepped up in a big way to compensate for the loss of their leading scorer. After trailing the Magic 19-18 at the end of the first quarter, the Celtics held the Magic to just eight points in the second quarter, and took a 11-point lead into half time as a result. The C's allowed just 27 points in the first half to the second-place Magic, who were 12-2 at home entering the game.
Up Next: The Celtics have Saturday off as a travel day as their four-game road trip moves out west. The C's face the Clippers on Sunday night and the Warriors on Monday night. Then, the Celtics head to Phoenix to take on the Suns for their last game of 2009 before returning home to meet the Raptors on Jan. 2 back at the Garden.
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