Celtics Make Major Statement Sweeping Magic In 2-Game Series

Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

Jaylen Brown made a bold statement following the Boston Celtics’ first of two wins over the Orlando Magic, with the outcome being a 128-111 win. The reigning All-NBA Second-Team guard viewed his team’s performance as being the “biggest game of the year.”

“I think this was the biggest game of the year so far,” Brown said. “We had a bunch of guys out and on a back-to-back against a team that’s been kicking our ass the last four or five times we’ve played.”

Heading into the first contest, Boston had lost four straight games to Orlando dating back to December of last year. With Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford, and Luke Kornet all out for the night, the Celtics turned to Lamar Stevens and Neemias Queta as their primary options at center. Jayson Tatum also played some small ball five for the C’s as they cruised to yet another decisive win at the Garden.

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Brown praised the team for its resilient ability to answer all of Orlando’s questions throughout the contest.

“The first shot they took was a three,” Brown said. “Suggs hit it on the left wing, it was tough. It was well-defended, but he made it. That can kind of be discouraging at times … We took those punches and kept throwing punches back. That’s what we want to instill in our guys. We fight, we make it hard for you, and we play the game the right way.”

Tatum put his superstar status on full display with a team-high 30 points on 11/22 shooting. Meanwhile, Brown pitched in 18 points of his own and boasted a team-high plus-minus of +20. Derrick White also continued his stellar season with 19 points, eight assists, and four steals.

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On the night they needed to step up, Boston’s bench mob balled out behind a Payton Pritchard masterclass. In his best game of the campaign so far, Pritchard cooked the Magic for 21 points on 6/7 shooting from three. The pesky point guard also dropped five dimes.

Sam Hauser continued his automatic shooting with three 3-pointers on six tries. He added seven rebounds and four steals on the night as well. Hauser has recorded a top-ten 3-point percentage this season with a 45.8% clip from beyond the arc. The former Virginia standout has nailed a career-high 2.8 threes per game on six attempts. Oshae Brissett shot a perfect 4-4 en route to 11 points in just over 15 minutes. Queta rounded things out for the reserves with three blocks and a +13 mark in 18 minutes. 

The Celtics followed up what Brown called such a pivotal game with a blowout 114-97 win over the Magic on Sunday. This time, Brown set the tone, scoring a team-high 31 points, with 17 coming in the fourth quarter while shooting 12-20 from the floor and 5-8 from beyond the arc overall.

“When my 3-ball is going in, I don’t think there’s anybody, anything anybody can do,” Brown said. “I’m going to be aggressive getting to the basket, which everybody knows I want to do. When that 3-ball is going in at a high clip, it makes it tough (to guard me).”

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The Celtics are now off to a 20-5 start to the season, with a staggering 14-0 home record after sweeping the two-game mini-series against the Magic. Brown provided a major burst, but Tatum also scored 23 points, with Porzingis chipping in 15 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, Jrue Holiday added 14 points. However, the team’s defensive execution is what prompted coach Joe Mazulla to describe the team’s execution as being “Celtic basketball.”

“I think we’re starting to play what I would call Celtic basketball,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “From a mentality standpoint, from a toughness standpoint, from defensive standpoint and identity.”

The Celtics will look to build on their recent momentum when they begin a four-game West Coast road trip against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

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