Bench helps Celtics return to winning ways

BOSTON (Bay State Herald/RMG Local) – The Celtics did not linger on the loss of their 16 game winning streak by bouncing back with a commanding 118-103 victory over the Orlando Magic.

After dominating the first half of the game, the Celtics went into the break with 74 points on the board, which was the most they’ve scored in a half all season. The largest lead the Celtics had came in the 3rd quarter when they lead by 32 points.

This domination was spearheaded by an impressive by an impressive night from the Celtics bench, which contributed 50 of the Celtics 118 points. Terry Rozier was the main man off the bench for the Celtics, as he scored a season high 23 points while shooting an impressive 8-11 from the field and 5-7 from beyond the arc. He also managed to grab six rebounds and led the Celtics in minutes played, with 30. This game gave Celtic’s fans a glimpse of what a Terry Rozier run offense can do and how he has developed into a viable and strong shooter from all areas of the court.

Aron Baynes was a force off the bench, as he earned a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, seven of which were offensive rebounds.

The starting five did not disappoint this game either though, as Kyrie Irving led the team with 30 points, shooting 9-15 from the field, 2-4 from three point range, and making all 10 of his free throws in the game. When Irving took his free throws, chants of “MVP” echoed throughout the Garden.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both posted double digits in this game, scoring 13 and 11 points respectively. Al Horford led the team in assists with a career high 10 throughout the game. Out of the starting five, only Marcus Morris played in the 4th quarter.

Nikola Vucevic stood out for the Magic in this game, earning a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Jonathon Simmons led the Magic in scoring with 14 points, while both Elfrid Payton and Marreese Speights equaled Vucevic’s scoring with 12 each. Aaron Gordon had 11 points and seven rebounds, but shot as meager 2-10 from the field, as seven of his points came from the free throw line.

Despite the poor shooting efforts from Marcus Smart and Semi Ojeleye, the Celtics shot 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc in what was an impressive team victory.

This game showed how the Celtics have developed throughout their long winning streak, which ended against the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Throughout that winning streak, the Celtics found themselves trailing by double digits in the final three games of the win streak. They continuously put themselves in a position where they had to battle back which proved to unsustainable in the long term.

This game was nearly the exact opposite of their previous victories. This time the Celtics found themselves on the positive side of a large double digit lead, leading by 20 and even 30 plus for much of the game. The last time the Celtics trailed in the game came at 7:24 in the 1st quarter, a lead that only lasted 20 seconds for the Magic. The dominating first half performance was key for the Celtics, which Horford reflected on after the game.

“Our guys came out focused, ready to play,” Horford said. “We finally got a [first] half going. That first half was the key for us winning that game.”

The Celtics (17-3) remain first in the Eastern Conference and next face off against the Indiana Pacers tonight at 8 p.m.

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