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I say “statement” with a grain of salt, as the Celtics did beat the Orlando Magic and gave Boston fans a nice Christmas present. They were able to prove that they could compete with the big boys in the East after losing to them in Boston in November. However, this had to be one of the sloppiest games the C’s have played all season. Lucky for them, Orlando played even worse.
If someone told me that the Celtics were going to be down Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett only combined to sink eight field goals, then I would tell that person there was no way the Celtics could have won. I would be wrong though, thanks to great play by Rajon Rondo (starting point guard for the East All Stars anyone?), the Celtics defeated the Magic 86-77.
Rondo might not have led the team in scoring, but he did put up 17 points, dish out eight assists, and grab 13 rebounds. Only Ray Allen scored more on the team with 18 points, but six of them came from the charity stripe. Kevin Garnett only managed 10 points without hitting a field goal until late in the second half. Tony Allen, who started in place of Paul Pierce, had a decent afternoon with 16 points. Rasheed Wallace also added 11 points off the bench.
On the other end of the court, the game belonged to Vince Carter. He was the only consistent player for Orlando throughout the game. Carter finished the game leading all scorers with 27 points. Rashard Lewis turned on the jets late in the game and managed to finish with 19 points after hitting some clutch three-pointers. What really hurt the Magic was the lack of Dwight Howard’s presence offensively. Howard only scored five points, but did manage to grab a game-high 20 rebounds.
Despite the sloppiness of the game, there was also a lot of good defense played from both teams. The Celtics also got a bit of their bench back today when Glen “Big Baby” Davis made his first appearance of the season after returning from his broken thumb injury. Davis was listed as active for today’s game, but Doc Rivers had made it known he would most likely not play Davis unless it was an emergency. Lucky for Baby, early foul trouble to Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen allowed Davis to see some minutes.
The Celtics will continue their road trip to start next week and head out to L.A. for a match-up with the Clippers on Monday night. Paul Pierce will most likely continue to miss the rest of this trip, but the team is hopeful for a return from him within two weeks.