Orlando Magic (20-24) at Boston Celtics (26-21)
Friday, January 29, 2016
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #48, Home Game #24
TV: CSNNE, FSFL, NBA-LP 751(DTV), 751(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, ESPN 580 AM
Referees: Eric Lewis, David Jones, Dedric Taylor
The Celtics look for their first 5 game win streak of the year as they host the Orlando Magic in a home and home series that they will complete on Sunday in Orlando. The Magic are up 1-0 in the series, having won the first game at home 110-91 on November 29. They will meet a 4th time on March 21. They split the series 2-2 last season with each team winning on their home court.
The Celtics have won 4 straight and are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Magic have lost their last 7 games and are 1-9 in their last 10. The Magic have lost their last 9 games vs the Celtics in Boston and are 12-38 in Boston overall. The Magic started out strong going 9-6 in November and 10-5 in December. However, they are just 1-11 so far in January.
The Magic are one of the teams who may be in the mix for a playoff spot in the East and so it is important for the Celtics to get wins against them because it may figure into seedings at the end of the season. The Celtics are in the 5th spot, 1/2 game behind the Hawks who are in 4rd and 1 game behind the Bulls in 3rd. They are 1/2 game ahead of both Detroit and Miami, who are in the 6th and 7th spots. Orlando has slipped to 12th, 2.5 games out of 8th in the East.
Newly crowned All Star Isaiah Thomas missed practice with a sore ankle, but it was mostly out of an abundance of caution. He is expected to play in this game, however. Jordan Mickey is still listed as out with an ankle sprain. CJ Watson is out for the Magic with a calf injury.
The Celtics are 13-11 at home while the Magic are 9-13 on the road. The Magic have some good young players and they have a good bench that is averaging 35.3 points per game. They are also a tough defensive team allowing just 99.4 points per game, good for 7th in the league. They are not a team that the Celtics should take lightly in spite of their recent struggles.
Probable Starting Matchups
Isaiah Thomas vs Elfrid Payton
Avery Bradley vs Victor Oladipo
Jae Crowder vs Tobias Harris
Amir Johnson vs Aaron Gordon
Jared Sullinger vs Nikola Vucevic
Jordan Mickey (ankle) out
Isaiah Thomas (ankle) probable
CJ Watson (calf) out
Jared Sullinger vs Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic is averaging 16.8 points and 8.7 rebounds and 1.08 blocks per game. He is an interior defender as well as a force on offense in the paint. Sully will have his hands full trying to contain him. Sully will need to draw him out of the paint on offense to give his teammates a chance to get up shots around the basket.
Avery Bradley vs Victor Oladipo
Oladipo is averaging 13.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.26 steals a game. In the Magic's November win over the Celtics Oladipo led the Magic with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Avery's defense will be needed in this game to slow him down and keep him from having another big game.
Jae Crowder vs Tobias Harris
Harris is averaging 13.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steal per game and is capable of having a big game both in scoring and in rebounding. He had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting between these two teams. Jae's defense will be needed to keep Harris in check.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense wins games pure and simple. The Celtics' tough team defense has been instrumental in building their 4 game win streak. The Magic are averaging 98.8 points per game but they have players who, if allowed to get hot, can put up a lot of points. Orlando is 7th in the league allowing just 99.4 points per game. The Celtics have to play tough team defense if they want to get a win in this one.
Rebound - The Celtics have to crash the boards in order to give themselves extra possessions as well as to prevent the Magic from getting second chance points and fast breaks. The Magic out rebounded the Celtics 54-34 in their first meeting. The Celtics have to put out extra effort on the boards to prevent that from happening again.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team. They must be the first to loose balls and rebounds, and they have to be aggressive in driving to the basket and not always settling for jumpers. They must be aggressive on defense and set the tone for the game. They have to play like they want it more.
Move the Ball Carefully - The Celtics have to move the ball and find the open man. But in moving the ball, they have to make careful passes and not get sloppy. The Magic average 16.8 points off of turnovers and so they will make the Celtics pay if they don't take care of the ball.
Set the Pace - The Celtics play best when they run on every possession and move the ball quickly. When they walk the ball up and over dribble, they struggle to hit shots. They need to run on every possession and get easy shots before the Magic can set up their defense. They also need to run on defense to keep the Magic from getting easy shots. The Celtics are 3rd in pace at 101.20 while the Magic are 23rd at 96.17. The Celtics benefit from forcing a quicker pace.
Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have to get off to a good start and build a lead and then not let up until the final buzzer. They have to be ready for every Magic run and meet it with defense and then make their own runs as they did against the Nuggets. They have to play from opening tip till final buzzer with no let up.
Home Game - The Magic have traditionally played poorly at the Garden, having lost their last 9 games there. The Celtics have to draw on the energy of the home crowd and come out strong and play harder than the Magic to get the win.
Officiating - Officiating will be an X-Factor for every game. Every crew has their own way of calling the games and they have their own agendas. Will they call it fairly or in favor of one team or the other? Will they let them play or call every little contact? The way the game is called always has an effect on the players.
Lewis has spent the last 12 seasons in the NBA, officiating 618 regular season games and 14 playoff games. Lewis spent two years working in the USBL, officiating the Finals in 2002 and 2004. Prior to that he spent three seasons in the NBA D-League, where he worked the 2003 and 2004 Playoffs and 2004 Finals. He tallied eight years in the college ranks, participating in the Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley, Sunshine State, Florida Sun and Mid-Florida conferences. Lewis officiated in Florida high schools for six years.
A Cavs game last season was called pretty much one sided in favor of the Cavs. A Hawks game last season was also called one sided toward the Hawks down the stretch. In a game against the Pistons last season, the officiating was one sided toward the Pistons, who shot 43 free throws to just 24 for the Celtics. This season, He was terrible in the 4th quarter of the game vs the Grizzlies. They let a lot of contact by the Grizzlies go while calling a lot of questionable fouls on the Celtics. He failed to call a 5 step travel on Gasol right in front of him that could have changed the end of the game. Memphis shot 20 free throws to 23 for the Celtics. The Celtics are 0-3 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 games with Lewis. The Magic are 1-3 this season and 4-6 over their last 10. Lewis calls an average of 42.3 fouls per game with 49.7% called on the home team. His home W/L record is 18-16.
David Jones has officiated 1,556 regular season games and 71 playoff games throughout his 26 seasons as an NBA official. In addition, Jones officiated both the men’s and women’s 2000 Olympic Bronze Medal Games. Jones has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southeastern, Trans-American Athletic, Metro and Sunshine State Conferences.
In the past, he has been pretty good in calling games. Last season against the Magic, he was terrible. He called a flagrant 2 on Smart, which was later downgraded and then he called an even worst flagrant 1 on Isaiah Thomas. The officiating was one sided throughout the game with Orlando shooting 30 free throws to 16 for the Celtics. He also called that atrocious game against the Bucks with Lauren Holtcamp where several times Tommy was exasperated and just called for the refs to go home because they were missing everything. It really was bad.
This season he called the win at OKC and for the most part let them play but did give the benefit of several questionable calls to OKC. Even Scal mentioned several bad calls but overall, they weren't terrible. in the game vs the Knicks, the refs were pretty good the first 3 quarters but down the stretch in the 4th quarter they were terrible. They let free throws decide the game for New York down the stretch. The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with Jones while the Magic are 3-3 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Jones. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record so far this season of 19-11.
Dedric Taylor is entering his second season having officiated 52 regular season games. Taylor joined the staff after four seasons as a referee in the NBA D-League, already having offciated 12 regular season NBA games as a non-staff official. Additionally, Taylor officiated in numerous college conference, including the SEC, Sunbelt,
Southern, MEAC, ASUN and Conference USA. Before becoming a full time NBA Official, Taylor worked as and Athletic Specialist for the City of North Miami Beach Parks & Recreation Dept., then deciding to become a full time driver for
UPS where he worked for the last 13 years.
The Celtics are 2-2 with Taylor over his career, with 2 games coming against Philadelphia in the preseason over the past two years. The Magic are 4-1 this season and 5-5 with Taylor over their last 10 with him as a referee. His home W/L record this season is 17-15.
Celtics begin a home and home set and go for their first 5 game win streak as they host the Orlando Magic.