Boston Celtics score magical win in comeback effort vs Orlando

Boston Celtics (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics open up the New Year with a magical win. The team hosted the Orlando Magic for their first game of 2022.

A balanced effort from both teams kept the game close after the first half of action.

Boston’s combination of a disappointing third quarter and questionable decision-making kept Orlando in the game till the very end. With less than three minutes left in the third, the Magic tied the game at 63. No thanks to the lack of pressure, the Magic finish the quarter with a 12 point lead.

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The disapproval from the fans was audible in the pause between the last two quarters. Terrence Ross played to his style throughout the night and delivered devastating daggers from beyond the arc when needed. He kept the undermanned Magic in the game and with a lead in the fourth. The deficit was pushed to 14 with a little more than four minutes left in the fourth.

Many fans questioned whether the Celtics could pull it off, given their history of facing an uphill battle against a struggling team.

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Through several defensive stops, the Celtics bring it within two with 42 seconds left in the fourth. Marcus Smart then reminds fans of his defensive prowess by ripping the ball from the clutches of a back-turned Franz Wagner.

Smart then threaded the needle to Jaylen Brown, who finished a 2-on-1 fast break successfully with a lefty layup in true defense-to-offense fashion. It was nice to hear the energy in Mike Gorman’s voice when he called this play.

Jaylen Brown adds his name to franchise history

Behind the high-octane, double-double performance by Brown, the Celtics defeat the Magic 116-111.

Brown put up a career-high 50 points, becoming the 11th Celtics player in franchise history to provide a half-century performance in a regular-season game. He exuded confidence and even gave Josh Richardson a flashy behind-the-back pass, despite only having a 4-point lead in overtime.

Moments such as a successful challenge from Coach Ime Udoka put the Celtics in a position to win. Smart put up 17 points with seven rebounds and assists. Dennis Schröder also provided timely defensive support by stripping Wendell Carter Jr. in the post as he was about to go up for an easy layup in the game’s closing moments.

Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine (also known as the White Mamba), the color commentators for the Boston Celtics on NBC Sports Boston, both agreed that if the Celtics were to lose this game against a young, inexperienced, and frankly speaking, inferior team, the fallout would have been massive. The Celtics succeeded in suspending those worrisome discussions for another day.

The Magic have the second-worst record in the NBA. But as fans have observed, the Celtics often play to the tempo of the opposing team rather than play their own game. This lands them in catch-up situations similar to this one. Both teams were without key players. Boston was without Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams III, and Romeo Langford in this showdown. At the same time, Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and Robin Lopez did not play for Orlando.

It was surprising to see the Celtics put up that many points in the dwindling moments of a game. I felt like I was watching Boston’s version of 13 in 33—a description of the phenomenal performance by the HoFer, Tracy McGrady. Maybe all the work that JB did with T-Mac is finally paying off.

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The Boston Celtics embark on another back-to-back mission by hosting the Spurs and traveling to MSG to face the Knicks on January 5 and January 6, respectively.

Celtics fans are anxiously hoping that a healthy and complete roster can take on both challenges to extend this 2-game win streak.