The Orlando Magic gave a pathetic effort Monday night against the Boston Celtics and it showed – they were blown out by an undermanned Celtics squad 87-56.
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 18 points and 14 rebounds while Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 19 points and eight rebounds.
How bad was this performance? The Celtics were playing without their starting back court – Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen and three other players, including Chris Wilcox and former Magic players Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus.
The Celtics actually continued to struggle on the offensive end, which should have been expected with their mounting injuries. They posted an effective field goal percentage of 43.6%.
Their defense, however, was fantastic. Couple that defense with a terrible effort from Orlando and that’s how you get numbers like the Magic had tonight. They set a team record for least points scored in a game (56), fewest field goals made in a game (16), lowest field goal percentage (24.6%), fewest points scored in a half (20) and fewest field goals made in a half (five). The Magic posted an effective field goal percentage 27.7%. They also had as many turnovers (16) as they did field goals. The Magic couldn’t get entry passes into Howard and struggled with the pick-and-roll, the staple of their offense.
- Jameer Nelson was dominated by second-year guard Avery Bradley. Bradley didn’t exactly tear up the stat-line (six points, four rebounds, three assists) but he made life difficult for Nelson all night, putting pressure on him as he brought the ball up, something Nelson has struggled to handle all season. Bradley also had three steals, helping the Celtics force five Nelson turnovers. For the game, Nelson scored five points on five shots and had three assists. It appeared as though Nelson may be beginning to turn the corner after a big game against the Lakers Friday but he followed it up with one of his worst performances of the season. Nelson’s backup, Chris Duhon, continues to be abused on the defensive end. Point guard is a huge concern right now.
- After a very good start (12 points and four rebounds in the first quarter), Dwight Howard had a frustrating night. Howard was held without a field goal over the final three quarters (0-of-nine) and after making six of his first seven free throws, he hit just four of his last 11. He finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
- Former Magic forward Brandon Bass had it going Monday night and finished with one of his best lines of the season. He scored 19 points on eight-of-14 shooting. He was good in the pick-and-pop game and made some very strong moves down low. He also added eight rebounds.
- Bass’ buddy and the player he was traded for, Glen Davis, look a little antsy early on. He received a warm ovation from the Boston crowd during a video tribute. He wound up scoring just six points on two-of-nine shooting and seemingly had every shot challenged. One of the only positives anyone could take from the game is that Davis, who head coach Stan Van Gundy wants to see a better effort from on the glass, had 11 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass.
- Ryan Anderson couldn’t find his shot early on, got into first half foul trouble and was barely heard from the rest of the game. Orlando’s starting forward played just 24 minutes and didn’t score. He was 0-of-eight from the field.
- Van Gundy thought the “beatdown,” as he called it, was even worse than the score indicated and told the media not one player played well. He also blamed himself.
- The Magic seemed surprised by Boston’s effort and energy and performance on the defensive end and just couldn’t match it.
Next Up: The Magic will take on the 11-4 Pacers in Indiana Tuesday night.
Final Thought: That was just domination. Orlando doesn’t have to wait long for a shot at revenge – they host Boston Thursday.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brandon Bass, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Jermaine O’neal, Kevin Garnett, Larry Hughes, Mickael Pietrus, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Paul Pierce, Quentin Richardson, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Von Wafer