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The Celtics led Sunday’s game against the Magic by 11 points, 57-46, with 8:48 to go in the third quarter. Rajon Rondo hit three-pointer to give the Celts a 60-51 lead with 7:16 left in the 3rd. Then, the Magic went on a 19-0 run. Yes, A NINETEEN-TO-NOTHING RUN. Check it out:
The Magic went from being down by nine points to up by 10 points in one run, and never looked back in a 96-89 win. The Celtics out-scored the Magic in three of the four quarters, but the Magic used a startling 36-11 third quarter edge to beat the Celtics for the third time in four tries this season.
The Celtics are old. They get tired and always tend to lose their momentum/focus/desire in the second half. The aging C’s had an 11-point lead at the half thanks to just three first half turnovers. Then, in the third quarter, the team had seven turnovers with only four field goals. Meanwhile, the Magic had 12 field goals against just two turnovers in the frame.
For the game, the old Celtics players really showed their age: Paul Pierce was 5-12 for 13 points, Kevin Garnett was 5-13 for 13 points and 9 rebounds, Ray Allen was 4-13 for 14 points, and Rasheed Wallace was 1-6 for two points.
Meanwhile, the Celts’ young gun, Rajon Rondo, was the best player on the court yet again, as he shot 7-13 to get 17 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists with ZERO turnovers.
Against the three other top teams in the East, the Celtics are currently 2-7, with one win each against the Cavaliers and Magic, and zero wins against the Hawks. During Sunday’s game coverage, Jeff Van Gundy said the Celtics would definitely beat the Hawks and Magic in a seven-game series (assuming both teams were healthy). I’m not nearly as sure as Van Gundy, and Doc Rivers isn’t either.
“One of the guys said, ‘We’re better than Orlando,’ and I said, `No, you’re not,” Rivers said. “They knocked you out of the playoffs last year. Orlando’s better than us right now. Atlanta’s better than us right now. L.A. (Lakers are) better than us right now.”
Doc is right, though it is “just the regular season.” How many losses can the Celtics take against top teams before they start to lose their confidence? Only time will tell.
The Celtics next play on Wednesday against the Chris Paul-less New Orleans Hornets.