Magic Rally, Overcome Boston 103-98


ORLANDO — The 20-43 Orlando Magic welcomed Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics to Amway Center Sunday night, with the Magic’s Victor Oladipo coming in on a high after averaging 35.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.5 assists in his last two games.

The Magic were once again slow getting out of the gate, going down by 20 in the first half. Brandon Bass was dominant on the offensive glass, and the Magic lacked energy on both ends of the court. As has been the case in most Magic games this season, Orlando then sprang to life, and by halftime had cut the deficit to just 6. More active defence in the second half allowed the Magic to take control of the game, with Orlando getting the W, 103-98. The final moment of the game was testy, as a frustrated Boston side saw rookie point-guard Marcus Smart ejected for elbowing Elfrid Payton in the neck, which was soon followed by a Flagrant 1 foul on Isaiah Thomas.

Victor Oladipo continued his chain of high-scoring games, with a game-high 22 points, as well as pulling down 7 boards. Tobias Harris had 21, and the Magic’s rookie point-guard Elfrid Payton had an impressive stat-line of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists, making 5 of his 6 free throws, which should do wonders for the 21-year old’s confidence. The Magic also saw a terrific two-way performance out of the seldom-used Maurice Harkless, who played a season-high 30 minutes, totalling 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block. His active defence in particular stood out. Starting Center Dewayne Dedmon recorded a double-double, having career-highs in points (11) and rebounds (16).

For the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas had 21 points and 9 assists, Brandon Bass had a monster 19-point, 17-rebound game, and Marcus Smart had 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals prior to his ejection. The Celtics also got a surprisingly good performance out of Luigi Datome, who had 10 points in just 9 minutes, including two three-pointers.

With the loss, Boston slip to 25-36, while Orlando goes to 21-43 on the season. Boston plays again tonight, against the Heat in Miami, while the Magic get the night off before travelling to Indiana to play the Pacers on Tuesday.

- Sam Skubala

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