The Boston Celtics wrapped up their two-game Florida road trip on Saturday night, earning a hard-fought win over the Orlando Magic, 126-120. The young Magic team battled hard behind a three-point heavy offense and gave Boston issues all night long. Fortunately for the Celtics, big-time performances from Jayson Tatum and Derrick White carried them over the hump.
Tatum piggy-backed the Celtics’ offense for most of the night, exploding for a 40-point outing and setting a personal record in the process. His 15 first-quarter points were the most he’s ever scored in that frame so far in the NBA.
As for Jaylen Brown, he wasn’t as hot in the scoring column, but he filled up the stat sheet in other areas. Brown dropped 12 points, nine rebounds, and four assists on the night.
Instead, White took over as Boston’s secondary scoring option, ending the night with 27 points, four rebounds, and four assists. It marked his highest-scoring game in a Celtics uniform. He came up big in the fourth quarter, pouring in a string of clutch buckets to help Boston seal the deal.
Despite Tatum’s impressive showing, Boston’s three-point shooting led the way on offense. White finished 5-of-9 from distance, Grant Williams shot 3-of-3, and Sam Hauser went 3-of-4. Payton Pritchard even made a cameo, nailing a single three in his 3:41 of game time.
The Magic matched that three-point success, however, finishing the night 15-of-34 (44.1%) from deep. It was an uncharacteristically successful night for them, as they shot just 19-of-64 (29.7%) from three in their first two games.
Terrence “The Human Torch” Ross spearheaded their offensive attack, doing exactly what his nickname implied. He put up 29 points and four rebounds. The veteran wing gave the Celtics issues all night long, just as he has in past years.
Orlando’s young frontcourt also had an impressive showing. Rookie Paolo Banchero had 23 points, five rebounds, and three assists, while Franz Wagner tallied 18 points, six rebounds, and two assists.
Boston struggled to clamp up on defense all night long as the Magic continually found themselves in open space. They took all opportunities the Celtics provided them with, whether it was behind the three-point line or in the mid-range.
On top of that, with Al Horford out due to lower back soreness, the Magic were able to dominate the rebounding battle. They out-boarded Boston 60-48 and pulled down 12 offensive rebounds to the Celtics’ seven. Orlando possessed a major height advantage, as the Celtics were forced to play with lots of lineups that included Tatum or Williams as the primary center.
In the end, Orlando’s inexperience and Boston’s high-powered offense led to a Celtics victory, their third of the season. They are now 3-0 on the year and will take on the Chicago Bulls in their next contest. That game will be on Monday night to cap off a three-road-games-in-four-nights stretch and tips off at 8:00 p.m. EST.