Denton: Magic vs. Celtics Analysis (1/19/14)
The Magic are about to hit a difficult stretch of games over the next 10 days. The Magic fly to New York on Monday to face the Nets on Tuesday. They are back at the Amway Center on Wednesday to face the Hawks for a fourth time this season. After hosting the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, Orlando departs for a three-game trip to New Orleans, Detroit and Toronto.
Orlando came into Sunday night having already lost twice this season to the Celtics. Boston snapped the Magic’s three-game winning streak early in the season when they won 91-89 in Orlando. The Celtics won 120-105 a week later in Boston.
Both of those games were without Rondo, who returned from 2013 knee surgery on Friday. He started against the Magic on Sunday, but he was once again on a minutes restriction.
Orlando suffered through a dismal third quarter but was still able to take a 66-64 into the fourth quarter. Orlando couldn’t handle prosperity early in the third quarter, blowing a nine-point lead when Boston went on a 13-2 run. The poor third quarter performance was similar to Friday when Orlando squandered a five-point lead to Charlotte in the third period and never recovered.
Orlando played with great energy and with a distinct sense of urgency in the first half and led 53-46 at intermission. Impressively, Orlando dug its way out of an early 11-point hole and dominated the game for much of the second quarter.
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