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The Celtics entered Thursday night’s game in Orlando barely sporting the East’s best record over the Cavs and Magic. A win against the Magic on the road on the second night of a back-to-back couldn’t be expected, especially considering Orlando hadn’t played since last Saturday. Throw in the fact that Stan Van Gundy’s squad had won seven straight games, and you’re looking at a seemingly insurmountable situation before the two teams stepped on the court.
All of that apparently didn’t matter, as the Celtics used the league’s best defense to halt the Magic’s win streak and extend their own winning streak to seven games in a 90-80 win.
Captain Paul Pierce finished with a game-high 27 points on 8-18 shooting with 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Glen “Big Baby” Davis had a nice game off the bench, finishing with a season-high 16 points on 6-8 shooting. Kevin Garnett added 16 points and Ray Allen threw in 12 as the Celtics won mostly because of their defense.
The offense for the Magic is simple: it runs through Howard under the basket and runs beyond the three-point arc. Superstar center Dwight Howard was held mainly in check by Kevin Garnett, as he finished with just 11 points (4-10 shooting) and 11 rebounds with three blocks. Orlando was held to just 38.2% shooting (26-68) overall and just 7-22 from long distance.
On a side note, starters for next month’s NBA All-Star Game were announced, and Kevin Garnett was elected, barely beating out New Jersey’s Yi Jianlian. Magic superstar Dwight Howard set an NBA record with 3,150,181 votes and will be slotted as the East’s starting center.