The Boston Celtics entered Sunday’s game against the Orlando Magic angry. Trying to shake off the disappointing way they lost Friday night to Dallas, who beat them for a 2nd time this season. So with anger and a natural disdain for the rival Magic the Celtics took care of Orlando 91-80 behind Rajon Rondo’s season best 26 points and 7 assists.
The game was chippy from the outset and Boston weathered an early Orlando storm to lead 43-40 at half time. Orlando was lead by Dwight Howard’s 22 points and 6 rebounds. The Magic were held to 36% shooting despite Howard’s stellar first half. Boston was paced by the driving Rondo who beat Jameer Nelson and Gilbert Arenas regularly to finish with 13 points in the half.
Boston opened the 3rd quarter with a 7-0 run that pushed the Celtic lead to 10. Orlando never seemed to recover and trailed by as many 15 in the 2nd half. The Celtic defense became increasingly stingy holding the Magic to a dismal 3-24 behind the arc for 12%. Howard was only able to muster 6 more points to finish with 28 and only had one field goal in the 2nd half. Meanwhile Rondo continued to dominate the game on drives and the occasional jumper that caught the Orlando defense off guard. “He totally dominated us,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said, “got where he wanted to go anytime he wanted to go.” Rondo still managed to dish out 7 assists in the win and said “They didn’t leave Ray or Paul’s body. I tried to be aggressive. The lane just opened up a lot more even though Dwight was down there.”
The win did not come without a cost as Marquis Daniels left the game on a stretcher after suffering a neck injury on step through move against Gilbert Arenas. Daniels’s neck got twisted on the chest of Arenas as he attempted the move. It was a scary scene and his Celtic teammates were all crouched over in concern. Daniels gave the “thumbs up” as he was carted to the hospital. The injury has been ruled a bruised spinal cord.
The Boston Celtics current schedule is a test of their elite status. Not to overlook the game with the Bobcats on Tuesday, the Celtics have the Lakers on Thursday followed by the Heat on Sunday. Playing every single one of their rivals in two week stretch should provide a true measurement of where the team currently stands. If Rondo can continue to improve on his scoring, and Delonte West (remember him?) can return shortly, this team should have no problem remaining in the driver the seat in the Eastern conference.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com