The Celtics’ flight home to Boston should be a bit more pleasant after their second-half surge Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic.
After a slow start, the C’s pulled away from the Magic in the third quarter en route to a 117-87 win at Amway Center.
Avery Bradley paced Boston with 23 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Terry Rozier all reached double-digits in scoring. D.J. Augustin led Orlando with 15 points, all of which came in the first half.
With the win, the Celtics improved to 13-9 and won two of three games on their latest road trip, while the Magic dropped to 10-13.
Here’s how it all went down.
Smart, Bradley, Crowder, Johnson, Horford
The Magic led by as many as eight points with 4:28 remaining in the first quarter, but the C’s climbed their way back late in the frame and entered the second quarter only down 27-26. The teams then traded baskets for most of the second quarter, and Orlando held a 50-49 lead heading into halftime.
Bradley led the way for the C’s in the first half with 12 points, three assists and two rebounds. Smart also had a nice half offensively with nine points. The main difference between these teams in the opening 24 minutes came at the 3-point line. The C’s only shot 13.3 percent from distance, while the Magic made 8 of 10 attempts from beyond the arc. Four of those made 3-pointers came from Augustin, who led all scorers with 15 points at the break.
Whatever head coach Brad Stevens told the Celtics at halftime worked because the C’s outscored the Magic 36-23 in the third to take an 85-73 lead heading into the final frame.
Bismack Biyombo made the first basket of the quarter for Orlando, but Boston responded with an 18-2 run to build a commanding lead. The Celtics started the run with 10 straight points, and their advantage grew to as many as 18 points in the third on a Jaylen Brown 3-point play.
Boston held onto its lead throughout the fourth, as Orlando never seriously threatened a comeback.
Isaiah Thomas missed Wednesday’s game in Orlando after suffering a groin strain in the Celtics’ loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday.
With Thomas flying home early, the C’s turned to Smart as their starting point guard against the Magic. Johnson also returned to the starting lineup after Boston went with a different look to start Monday’s game.
PLAY OF THE GAME
We had a clear-cut winner for this game.
The Celtics will host the Atlantic-leading Toronto Raptors at TD Garden on Friday before hitting the road for two straight tough tests against the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. Tip-off Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images