Friday, January 28 2022

Following a tumultuous week for the Celtics, they were able to briefly stem the tide with a 92-79 win over the Magic.

Boston’s win came on the heels of ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski’s reports of a team-only meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The emotional meeting came as the result of a 2-5 start for Boston and Marcus Smart’s comments about Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s lack of passing following a crushing collapse against Chicago on Monday.

Wednesday evening, however, was a slight sigh of relief. Jaylen Brown led the way offensively, but it was the Celtics defense that got the job done as they held Orlando to just 32.1% from the field.

While a win over the Magic won’t solve the Celtics’ problems, it at least put the fourth quarter against Chicago behind them for good.

On Wednesday in Orlando, it was the third quarter that proved to be the difference. After the two teams traded leads early, the Celtics used a 31-10 third stanza to put the game on ice. Brown finished with 8 points in the quarter, and a team-high 28 points on the evening.

Following a flurry of scoring this past week, Magic guard Cole Anthony struggled mightily from the field going just 2-11 from distance and 4-18 overall.

The Celtics improved to 3-5, and take on the Miami Heat on Thursday night. Here is a look at how the Celtics starters performed on an individual level:

Jayson Tatum

Nov 3, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was a difficult shooting night for Tatum, but those evenings happen over the course an 82-game season. The Celtics star went 4-16 from the field and just 1-6 from three, finishing with 14 points and 6 rebounds.

His defensive energy, however, was arguably at its season-best right alongside the rest of his teammates.

Al Horford

Nov 3, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic forward Chuma Okeke (3) defends during the second half at Amway Center. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently all Horford needed was a return to Boston to rejuvenate him. The Celtics’ defensive leader did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds to go along with 7 assists.

He also led the C’s with a trio of blocks. His rim protection and defensive versatility helped to stifle the Magic frontline in an impeccable performance on that end.

Jaylen Brown

Nov 3, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On a night where nearly the entire Celtics roster struggled from the field, Brown was a needed marksman. The Cal product led all scorers with 28 points, as he got to the rim with ease against nearly whatever Orlando threw at him.

With Tatum struggling for offense, Brown carried the load and then some.

Robert Williams III

Nov 3, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA;Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) defends Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. (34) during the second quarter at Amway Center. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Williams helped to lead the best defensive effort of the season, and added to what has been an efficient offensive start. He once again finished his looks at the rim, going 6-8 from the field to finish with 12 points.

He also gave the Celtics a number of second chances, finishing with a team-high three offensive rebounds.

Marcus Smart

Nov 1, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) reacts during the first half against the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden. Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

It was a quiet offensive night for Smart, who finished with 8 points on just 8 shot attempts.

The Celtics guard did his part to give the Magic backcourt fits, and contribute to Orlando’s starting guards going a combined 3-16 from distance.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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