|Connelly’s Top Ten: 1812 Overture Rendition of the Top Ten||Management Forced Its Hand With Rick Porcello, Red Sox Nation Pays||Celtics Sign Amir Johnson to 2-Year, $24 Million Deal||Bruins Trade for Jimmy Hayes, Sign Matt Belesky|
Brandon Bass and Paul Pierce had 19 points apiece as the Boston Celtics swept the TD Banknorth Garden floor with the Orlando Magic Monday night, 87-56. Dwight Howard scored 18 points and had 14 rebounds but was the lone member of the Magic to score in double figures.
The contest was historic for both teams involved. The Magic connected on just 16 of 65 field goal attempts, setting franchise lows for points, field goals and shooting percentage. Meanwhile, the Celtics’ defense set franchise records for points, field goals and shooting percentage allowed in a game.
The Celtics played the game without five of their key players. In addition to starters Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo missing the game due to injury, key bench players Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling, and Chris Wilcox sat as well.
Boston had to rely on Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic to provide a spark with the starting backcourt sitting. Along with Kevin Garnett, Bradley’s and Pavlovic’s hustle ignited the Celtics’ red-hot defense. The trio combined for 10 steals and five blocks. As a team, the Celtics recorded season highs in steals (13) and blocks (nine). Garnett chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds to go with his defensive prowess.
Monday’s game marked Glen Davis‘s first game back in Boston since being traded for Brandon Bass in November. Davis was a non-factor on offense, scoring six points on 2-for-9 shooting, but pulled down an uncharacteristic 11 rebounds against his former team.
Instead, Bass won the battle of backup power forwards. Bass shot an efficient 8-for-14 and pulled down eight rebounds for an invigorated Celtics bench. The Bass-led bench scored a season high 39 points. Marquis Daniels aided the Celtics’ bench effort with eight points and five assists.
The Magic could get nothing going offensively for most of the game. Howard shot 4-for-6 in the first quarter but finished the game on a prolonged 0-for-9 stretch. Bradley hounded former all-star point guard Jameer Nelson all night, holding him to five points, three assists, and five turnovers. The Magic had 23 turnovers – seven more than their total field goals.
Despite the win, the Celtics missed Allen and his three-point shooting. The Celtics made just two shots from beyond the arc in 13 attempts. However, Boston made all 19 of their free throw attempts.
The Celtics are now 2-1 with Rondo out of the lineup. Bradley has averaged six points, four assists and two steals while filling in for Rondo the last the games. Rondo wore a cast on his right wrist while he watched the game from the bench. Rondo’s status moving forward remains uncertain.
Boston and Orlando will have a rematch of Monday’s contest Thursday in Orlando.