Monday, December 18, 2023

Celtics 114, Magic 97: Jaylen Brown's huge fourth quarter holds off Orlando for home sweep

The Celtics swept a second two-game home series in the past week, with a 114-97 victory over the Orlando Magic Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.

Jaylen Brown scored 17 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to finish on 12-of-20 from field -- including 5-of-8 from deep, to go along with five rebounds and six assists. Jayson Tatum finished with 23 points -- hitting 4-of-6 from 3-point range and grabbed eight rebounds for Boston, who improved to an NBA-best 14-0 at home and 20-5 record overall.
"For a visiting team to come into this building and beat us, its got to be a special night for them and we totally believe that," Kristaps Porzingis told reporters after notching a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Jrue Holiday also added 14 points, six rebounds and Derrick White chipped in 10 points for the Celtics -- now winners of five straight.

Paolo Banchero had a game-high 36 points on 14-of-30 shooting (4-of-10 from long range), while hauling down 10 rebounds for Orlando -- that have now dropped to 16-9 on the season. Jalen Suggs was to only other Magic player to register double-digit scoring with 13 points.

Boston knocked down 17-of-36 attempts from behind the arc, which was good for 47.2% and a huge reason the Magic trailed for most of the game.
"I wouldn't say impossible," Banchero said in his postgame comments when asked about the difficulty of stopping the Celtics when they make 3s at a high clip. "I would say they're very hard to stop when the 3-ball is going in like it was today."
The Celtics used a 20-5 run to end the first half and take a 61-50 advantage into the break, despite Tatum sitting on the bench after getting into foul trouble midway through the second quarter.

Orlando got within four (69-65) with 5:18 remaining in the third period, but the C's responded by pushing the deficit back to double-digits (83-74) heading into the final frame.

Brown netted 15 points as part of Boston's 20-12 spurt to start the fourth, including three 3s to give the home team a 103-86 lead with 6:25 left to play, pushing the margin to 23 -- the largest of the game to put the Magic away for good.
"When my 3-ball is going in, I don't think there's anybody, anything anybody can do," Brown said in his postgame presser. "I'm going to be aggressive getting to the basket, which everybody knows I want to do. When that 3-ball is going in at a high clip, it makes it tough (to guard me)."
Boston is off to their second best start at home in franchise history since the 1957-58 campaign, when they won 17 straight before suffering their first loss, on the way to the club's first of 17 championships. The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently just a half game behind the C's for the league's best record.
"I think we're starting to play what I would call Celtic basketball," Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. "From a mentality standpoint, from a toughness standpoint, from defensive standpoint and identity."
The Celtics face the Draymond Green-less Golden State Warriors (12-14) Tuesday (10:00 pm ET TNT tip-off) on the first night of a back-to-back, before they head to Sacramento in a matchup with the Kings (15-9) as part of a four-game western swing. 

Game Notes:

Orlando was held to 38.2% from the floor, including 11-of-36 (30.6%) from 3. The C's won the battle off the glass 55-43 and points in the paint 44-34. Both teams dished out 18 assists respectively, while the Celtics had 14 turnovers to the Magic's nine. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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