It didn’t matter that the Boston Celtics hadn’t played in a week, or that they were missing their best player and a key rotation guy due to reported COVID-19 cases.
They came out against the Orlando Magic and, behind a balanced scoring effort and a career-high eight assists from Jaylen Brown, pulled off a 124-97 win.
The Celtics didn’t have Jayson Tatum or Robert Williams, but the Magic’s lineup was depleted enough for Boston to take advantage and improve to an 8-3 record.
Brown also dropped 21 points, two rebounds and had a steal.
Boston showed great ball movement with 25 assists. Jeff Teague had his best offensive game as a Celtic with 17 points, two assists and two steals. Smart had 14 points and hit four 3-pointers.
Off the bench, Semi Ojeleye had 18 points and six rebounds, while Payton Pritchard had 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. Javonte Green’s 10 points rounded out Boston’s double-digit scoring.
Here’s how it all went down:
G: Jeff Teague
G: Marcus Smart
F: Jaylen Brown
F: Grant Williams
C: Tristan Thompson
HAVEN’T MISSED A BEAT
It didn’t look like the Celtics slacked off over the last week without any games, coming out with great energy to start.
We know this is getting redundant, but Brown was a big part of that with seven opening quarter points including a nice assist to Teague for the first basket of the game.
Brown had an impressive four assists early, picked off a save near mid-court and had a nice jam in transition.
Magic rookie Cole Anthony led his team with nine points to help keep his team in it despite a sloppy opening stretch.
Marcus Smart and Teague had eight points each and Ojeleye dropped five.
The Celtics led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, and closed it out 34-28.
PRITCHARD IS A PROBLEM
Pritchard off the bench provided the spark we’ve grown accustomed to from the rookie.
His incredibly productive first half saw him with 10 points in the second frame alone in a very balanced offensive performance.
That propelled Boston to lead by as much as 14, but it shot just 45.7% from the field in the first half and was 8-for-20 from deep.
Smart was 3-for-6 from three, though, including this one from way out.
Brown had 14 points and six assists at the break.
The Celtics led the Magic 60-48.
TEAGUE TAKES Q3
Teague continued his best offensive performance in a Celtics uniform, getting out to 17 points in the third.
Defensively in the third, though, the Celtics had some lapses. Fortunately, it didn’t matter as Brown continued to go off all night.
He had 21 points and eight assists by the end of the fourth, tying a career-high in assists.
Boston had a comfortable 88-72 lead going into the final quarter.
PUTTING THEM AWAY
The Celtics didn’t let up late, starting the new frame with defensive intensity and forcing a turnover that allowed Pritchard to bank a transition 3-pointer.
And eventually, it became inevitable the summer Celtics that would have been get some minutes.
Who doesn’t love Tacko Fall time?
The Celtics outscored the Magic 36-25 in the fourth to close out the win.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Was Pritchard kidding us with this pass to Daniel Theis in the third?
The Celtics hang around home in Boston as they await the New York Knicks, who come to town Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. ET.