The Boston Celtics (12-9) will visit Orlando tonight for a matchup with the up-and-coming Magic, a team that seems to have found its offensive rhythm after winning three straight.
Mix of Magic
The Orlando Magic (10-12) have won four of their past five road games. However, for Magic fans, these hot and cold runs have become somewhat of an expectation. After all, Orlando has been streaky all season — starting the year with three losses, followed by three wins, followed by three more losses.
There is one thing that has remained consistent throughout Orlando’s young season: great defense. Orlando’s commitment to communicating has produced the third-best defense in the league.
“We’re learning.” says Magic guard Jeff Green, “We know defense wins games.” Green has seen increased offensive production in December, rising above his season average of 9.1 PPG for 16.0 points per contest through the past four games. While Green and the Magic have been heating up, Boston’s defense seems to be struggling.
The Celtics have been a defensive-minded team under Brad Stevens, but recently they’ve let their identity slip. Boston is third in the East after dropping three of their past six games, and the Celtics’ defense allowed an average of 106.5 points in that span.
The Magic bring momentum into this matchup, and the familiar crowd will provide a nice welcoming present in the team’s first home game of the month. Orlando will also catch a break because Celtic All-Star Isaiah Thomas is sitting this road game out with a pulled groin.
Thomas is averaging a career-high of 26 points per game, so his absence will lighten the load for Magic defenders.
Tipoff from the Amway Center is set for 7 p.m.