The official second half of the NBA season did not go in favor of the Celtics, as missed 3-pointers haunted Boston on Saturday night.
Despite having six players in double figures, the Magic were too much for the Green as they dropped their bout to Orlando 105-103 at Amway Center.
The Celtics were an abysmal 8-of-32 from distance, also shooting 68-percent on their free-throws and 42-percent from the field.
Kyrie Irving led Boston with 24 points, while Marcus Morris Sr. (17), Jayson Tatum (16), Jaylen Brown (13), Al Horford (10) and Marcus Smart (10), all reached double digits. The Magic’s Aaron Gordon paced all shooters with 28 points and Terrence Ross chipped in 25 in their team’s victory.
With the loss, the Celtics slipped 25-17 to, while the Magic climbed to 18-24.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
C: Al Horford
EVENLY MATCHED FIRST
It didn’t take long for the C’s to get to the charity stripe, as Boston was awarded two free-throws on the first possession. Tatum sunk both and the Celtics went on a 5-0 run before the Magic got on the board. The Celtics rolled out to a 14-5 lead, but the Magic pulled within four.
Boston got some distance again with help from Smart when he delivered a sweet behind-the-back layup to up the lead to 18-10.
Much as they had all quarter, the Magic continued to chip away at Boston’s lead and came within a point in the final minute and would end the first by tying it up at 19-19 after a 9-1 run.
Smart and Morris led the Celtics with five points apiece, while Hayward was held scoreless in his first six minutes. The team struggled mightily from the line, going a mere 2-for-8 while also hitting three of 10 attempts from beyond the arc.
Gordon paced all shooters with 11 points.
BOSTON COMES ALIVE
The Magic came out roaring to begin the second, earning their first lead of the game to begin the quarter before marching to an 8-0 run. C’s head coach Brad Stevens called a timeout at the 10:36 mark with his team down 27-19.
Tatum and Hayward went back and forth with one another to ignite Boston’s offense when Tatum hit a jumper before Hayward sunk his first points of the night to pull within six.
Hayward hit both of his free throws before Tatum added two more points to cut the Magic’s lead to two.
Boston continued to run the court with a 17-3 run to take a 38-32 edge and force Orlando to call its second timeout of the stanza.
Morris hit a step-back three to extend Boston’s lead to nine and was one of three Celtics to have 10 points en route to the 51-41 lead at the half.
Gordon continued to lead all scorers with 13 points despite being held to just two in the second quarter.
CELTICS’ OFFENSE DOMINATES
The Celtics had many ways to find offense in the third, and that helped them take a 77-72 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Tatum hit back-to-back fadeaway jumpers to up Boston’s lead to 12 at the 7:49 mark of the quarter, while Irving consistently carved up Orlando’s defense to create some prime scoring opportunities.
Orlando brought the score within five to end the third thanks in part to Ross’s nine points in the final 1:48 of the quarter.
Morris led the Celtics with 15 points, while Tatum was right behind, tallying 14. Gordon, as he had all game, led everyone with 17 points.
TOO MUCH MAGIC FOR BOSTON
The Celtics were clinging to a two-point lead for several minutes in the fourth as both teams had trouble finding the basket, but Gordon tied it up at 82 at the 8:16 mark and forced Stevens to call a timeout.
It didn’t seem to work the way it had earlier in the game for Boston, as the Magic went on a 9-2 run to take a 91-84 lead with 5:57 remaining. Boston would chip away at the lead, bringing the game within four with just over three minutes to play, but Orlando just wouldn’t let up.
Boston made it interesting, trailing 104-103 with 10 seconds remaining, but couldn’t finish the job despite its best effort in the final seconds. Orlando drew a foul to go up two, then Tatum missed an 18-foot jumper at the buzzer to send the Celtics out of the Sunshine State with a loss.
PLAY OF THE GAME
My goodness, Kyrie.
The C’s will continue their road trip when they travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets on Monday. Tip from Barclays Center is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images