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Celtics fall to Magic 96-113, risk In-Season Tournament elimination

It was ugly all around for Boston, as they were out-rebounded by 18 and scored less than 100 points for the first time this season.

Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic

The Boston Celtics were outscored by 25 in the second half en route to their largest loss of the season, a 113-96 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic. The win is Orlando’s sixth in a row and marks Boston’s second loss in three games; it also means Orlando is positioned to win East Group C and advance to the knockout round of the In-Season Tournament.

The Magic were led by Moe Wagner, who scored a game-high 27 points on 9-13 shooting. Paolo Banchero scored 23 (10-16 FG), Franz Wagner finished with 19 points (9-18 FG), and Cole Anthony finished with 16 points.

For the Celtics, Tatum led the way with 26 points, 12 of which came from the free-throw line. Jaylen Brown had 18, but only 6 in the final three quarters combined and finished 6-21 on the night. Derrick White, starting at point guard, had 16 points, while Kornet scored 12 points off the bench.

The Celtics got off to a hot start and led 30-19 at the end of the first quarter. Jaylen Brown, who picked up where he left off against the Bucks, had 12 first-quarter points — including this crazy and-one shot from behind the basket — but struggled mightily the rest of the way,

The Celtics were without Jrue Holiday, who sprained his ankle against the Bucks on Wednesday. They also lost Kristaps Porzingis for the night due to left calf tightness; he finished with 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 22 minutes, but exited in the third quarter. Derrick White also suffered an arm contusion but re-entered the game after getting examined in the locker room.

The Celtics led by 8 points at the half and extended that lead to 12 early in the third quarter, but the Magic responded with a massive 17-0 run to take a 67-62 lead with five minutes left in the third, and maintained a three-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

The final period was one of the Celtics’ worst of the season, as they fell behind by double digits and allowed 36 points, oftentimes wide-open layups and shots for the Wagners.

On the night, the Celtics shot 24.3% from three and 41.3% from the field overall. The Magic shot 39.3% from three and 50.6% from the field. They also out-rebounded the Celtics 48-30 for the afternoon.

The Magic have the league’s third-best defense and held the Celtics to a season-low in points. Boston was coming off of a win against the Bucks at home on Wednesday night, while the Magic were fresh off of a Denver defeat.

With the loss, the Celtics’ record falls to 12-4, second-best in the league after the Timberwolves but first in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have now lost four straight games against the Magic. They will look to bounce back on Sunday at 6 pm at TD Garden against the Atlanta Hawks (7-7).

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