With a 92-80 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night, the Magic have won six of their last seven games. They enter Monday night’s game with the Boston Celtics with a record of 11-4, second best in the Eastern Conference (Chicago, 15-3).
Things haven’t got nearly as well for the Celtics – they enter with a record of just 6-9. They were able to score a 100-94 win over the lowly Washington Wizards Sunday afternoon. The Celtics entered Sunday’s game having lost six of their last seven games.
The Magic are second in offensive rating (107.6), have improved to 12th in defensive rating (101.6) and play at the league’s 25th-fastest pace (89.5). The Celtics are just 20th in offensive rating (100.7) and 14th in defense (101.6). They play at an even slower pace than the Magic (88.9, 28th).
Tip-off from the T.D. Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST. The game will be shown locally by Sun Sports and nationally by NBA TV.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Tom Washington, Leroy Richardson and Scott Twardoski.
The Line: Orlando – 5.0 (176.5)
Ray Allen*Sasha Pavlovic Rajon Rondo**Avery Bradley
*Ray Allen left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and he is listed as a game time decision.
**Rajon Rondo has missed the last two games with a wrist injury. If he can’t go Monday, Avery Bradley will again start in his place.
UPDATE: Both Allen and Rondo will miss the game. As will Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus. Gary Dzen of the Boston Globe has the story here.
#Hedo Turkoglu, who has missed the last two games with back spasms, is expected to play.
Over the last few seasons, Boston and Orlando have developed a nice rivalry. The two teams met in the second round of the 2009 playoffs (Orlando won the series four games to three) and in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals (Boston won the series four games to two).
The Celtics will be looking for their first marquee victory this season. Their six wins came against the Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards three times.
Paul Pierce will still be a difficult matchup for the Magic’s wing defenders. He proved what he’s still capable of Sunday when he scored 34 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds.
The Magic will see former players Brandon Bass, Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling. Bass is averaging 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while Pietrus is averaging 8.7 points per game in seven games with the club. Dooling has missed six straight games with a knee injury.
Magic guard Von Wafer spent last season with the Celtics.
Former Celtics forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis will be playing his first game in Boston since being traded to Orlando. At times, Davis will be matched up with Kevin Garnett, someone he considers to be a mentor. The 35-year old Garnett is averaging 13.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season. Garnett will also be matched up with Ryan Anderson and he could struggle trying to keep up with Anderson on the perimeter.
Garnett and starting center Jermaine O’Neal should both see time on Dwight Howard. During the last few seasons, Boston’s stable of bigs, led by Kendrick Perkins, have given Howard a lot of trouble. However, Boston doesn’t have that kind of depth any more and there’s no reason Howard, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, shouldn’t have another big game.
(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)
Tags: 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