The Boston Celtics came to Florida shorthanded and in need of a win. The Orlando Magic were just what the doctor ordered, as Boston won 92-83, in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would seem to indicate.
Boston remained down several players, with Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown still out and Marcus Smart now out for the next six to eight weeks following thumb surgery. Terry Rozier again started for Irving and delivered 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Al Horford returned to the starting lineup after missing a couple of games with an illness and scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Despite having to go deeper into the bench, the reserves continue to deliver. Greg Monroe scored 17 points and Shane Larkin provide a spark with 10 points, all in the first half. Abdel Nader also added 11 points off the bench, as Boston’s reserves outscored their Orlando counterparts 39-28.
Even though they were missing several players, Boston kept up the defensive efforts that have come to define the season. They held the Magic to just 83 points on 34-of-87 from the floor. The Celtics also handled the glass by a 55 to 40 margin, including 16 offensive rebounds.
Boston plays next on Sunday at the New Orleans Pelicans. That game may feature the return of Kyrie Irving against a Pelicans team battling for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.