Saturday, November 25, 2023

Magic 113, Celtics 96: Jayson Tatum's 26 points not enough in first loss of In-Season Tournament play

The Celtics fell to the Orlando Magic 113-96 in a afternoon matinee at Amway Center Friday to furger complicate Eastern Conference Group C of the NBA's In-Season Tournament.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Boston only hit 40.8% of their field goal attempts, including 7-of-24 from 3-point territory -- despite coming off an impressive offensive showing against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night at home.

Jayson Tatum finished with 26 points, Jaylen Brown added 18 points on 22 shots and Luke Kornet chipped in 12 points, six rebounds off the bench for the Celtics -- who fell to 12-4 on the season.
"You're definitely frustrated when you're not making shots, but at the end of the day it goes back to two things: transition (defense) and the offensive rebounds," Boson coach Joe Mazzulla said.
Boston played without Jrue Holiday (ankle sprain) and Kristaps Porzingis exited the game during the third quarter with tightness in his left calf after scoring nine points and hauling down four rebounds.
"Obviously we're a much better team when everybody's healthy. But throughout the course of the season there's going to be nights where you know certain guys are out," Tatum said in his postgame comments. "We can't use that as an excuse for why we didn't win the game. We've still got to figure out a way to get the job done."
Former Celtic big man Moritz Wagner led all scorers with 27 points on 9-of-13 from the floor off the bench, while Paolo Banchero recorded 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Magic -- who improved to 11-5 and have won six straight.

Frantz Wagner had 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and Cole Anthony netted 16 points to go along with six assists for Orlando -- that now leads Group C at 3-0 of the In-Season Tournament.

The Celtics had a 56-48 advantage at the break after holding the home team to 19 second quarter points. However, the Magic went on a 17-0 run midway through the third period, as the C's missed eight consecutive shots during a near five-minute span -- with Porzingis being ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Boston was held to 18 points in the third quarter and trailed 77-74 heading into the fourth, before the Magic used a 20-9 spurt to start the final frame and the margin never got cut to single digits the rest of the way.

Orlando's bench ended up outscoring the visiting team's second unit 57-24, while the C's were also out-rebounded overall 48-31 on the boards.

The Celtics fly back home to host the Atlanta Hawks (7-7) Sunday night, as tip-off from TD Garden is at 6:00 pm ET.

Game Notes:

The Magic connected on 50.6% from the field, including 11-of-28 (39.3%) from 3-point range. Boston was 27-of-37 (73%) from the free throw line to the home team's 16-of-22 (72.7%) from the charity stripe. The Celtics had 17 assists (15 turnovers) on 31 baskets, while Orlando dished out 23 dimes (18 turnovers) on 43 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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