There’s no other way to put. The Orlando Magic came into the Garden tied as the worst team in the league and losers of eight of their last nine and absolutely crushed the Celtics. Kyrie Irving returned after missing a game with a shoulder injury with an efficient 40 points on 14-of-23 shooting and 5 assists with just one turnover. That’s the good news.
Defensively, Boston was uncharacteristically bad vs. a Magic team they’ve owned. In two previous wins, the Celtics have averaged a stingy 94.9 DefRtg; this afternoon, that ballooned to 107.2. Elfrid Payton consistently got in the paint for 22 points and Evan Fournier found comfortable shooting spaces all over the floor, adding 19.
The Celtics now embark on a four-game West coast road trip with stops in Los Angeles to meet the Lakers and Clippers on a back-to-back, a Saturday night showdown with the Warriors, and a mile high visit to Denver. After a three game skid at home, getting away could be exactly what this team needs to get back on track.