Celtics host Magic in the only NBA game on Super Bowl Sunday

USA TODAY Sports

In the only NBA game on Super Bowl Sunday, the Celtics host the Magic for their 4th and final meeting this season.

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Orlando Magic (13-35) at Boston Celtics (15-33)
Sunday, February 2, 2014
1:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #49, Home Game #25
TV: CSNNE, FSFL, NBA-LP 752(DTV), 751/752(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sportshub, ESPN 580 AM
TD Garden


In a second straight tank battle, the Celtics host the Magic for their 4th and final meeting this season. In an interesting twist, the bottom 4 teams are facing off in recent games. The Celtics are coming off a loss to the 4th place Sixers. The second place Magic are coming off a win over the last place Bucks.

The Celtics will get a boost by the return of Avery Bradley, who missed the last 5 games with an ankle injury. There has been good chemistry between Rondo and Bradley, although injuries have kept them from playing together an extended time this season. Gerald Wallace is away from the team dealing with a personal issue but is expected back just before the game. It isn't clear whether he will play or not.

The Celtics have lost their last 4 games, including a last second 1 point loss to the Sixers, which leap frogged the Sixers from 3rd worst in the East to 4th worst. The Magic had lost 3 in a row before their win over the Sixers on Friday. The Celtics are 9-15 at home and 2-8 in their last 10 games while the Magic are 3-21 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games.


Jameer Nelson injured his knee in their last game and did not travel with the team. I'm not sure who will start at point guard for them. They could shuffle Olidipo to point guard and move Afflalo to shooting guard and start Harkless at the 3. Or they could start Lamb at the 2 and move Olidipo to the point. Anyway, they won't have the starting lineup below but I'm not sure who will start where.

The Celtics won 2 of the first 3 meetings between these two teams. They won 91-89 in Orlando, and 120-105 in Boston before losing 93-91 in Orlando.


Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

vs
Rajon Rondo vs Jameer Nelson

Shooting Guard

vs
Avery Bradley vs Victor Oladipo

Small Forward
vs
Jeff Green vs Arron Afflalo

Power Forward
vs
Brandon Bass vs Glen Davis

Center
vs
Jared Sullinger vs Nikola Vucevic

Celtics Reserves
Jerryd Bayless
Phil Pressey
Kelly Olynyk
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Kris Humphries
Vitor Faverani

Injuries
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Gerald Wallace (personal) game time decision



Magic Reserves
Maurice Harkless
E'Twaun Moore
Andrew Nicholson
Kyle O'Quinn
Doron Lamb
Ronnie Price
Tobias Harris
Jason Maxiell

Injuries
Jameer Nelson (knee) out


Key Matchups

vs
Jeff Green vs Arron Afflalo
Afflalo has been the Magic's best player this season so far. He is averaging 20 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He is coming off a 21 point, 5 rebound, 2 assist effort against the Bucks. In the last meeting between these two team, Afflalo posted 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists to lead the Magic to a 2 point win. Stopping Afflalo will be key to getting a win in this game.

vs
Jared Sullinger vs Nikola Vucevic

With Nelson sitting out, I'm not sure who will be matching up with whom. We do know that Vucevic is back in their lineup and can be very tough in the middle. Sully will have to work hard to keep him away from the basket.

Honorable Mention
Brandon Bass vs Glen Davis
These two players were traded for each other with each franchise benefiting from the trade. They will face off against each other in this game. There may be some pride involved in who gets the best of this matchup.

Keys to the Game
Rebound - The Celtics were out rebounded by 6 rebounds in their first meeting, 1 rebound in their second meeting and by 3 rebounds in their last meeting. It's about time for the Celtics to win the rebounding battle and if they do, that will give them a good chance to win the game.

Limit Turnovers
- The Celtics are 4th in the league in turnovers with 15.7 turnovers per game. The Celtics tend to lose focus at times and turn the ball over a lot. They have to find a way to limit their turnovers as they usually end in an easy score for the other team.

Run, Run, Run - The Celtics have shown that when they run, they are capable of playing very well, and they need to run the ball up the court before the Magic's defenses can get set up. With Rondo and Avery together again and the young legs around them, there is no excuse not to run in this game.

Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have been able to build big leads and to stay with teams throughout games but tend to have moments when they just seem to stop playing the right way and allow teams to catch up and go ahead. They have to find a way to end these lapses in focus and play for all 48 minutes.

X-Factors
Pride and Need
The Celtics have lost their last 4 games and desperately need a victory for team morale. The Magic are coming off a win over the Bucks and may not feel as much need for a win.

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