The offense kept clicking for the Celtics on Sunday night against the Orlando Magic, but once again their defense struggled, as Boston saw their five-game win streak come to an end 119-114. The Celtics held a 14-point lead in the third quarter, but let it slip away, giving the Magic just their second win in the month of January. The game was the second half of a home-and-home series, which saw the C’s win the opener 113-94 on Friday night at TD Garden.
Guard Marcus Smart came off the bench for the Celtics and chipped in a career-high 26 points to lead all scorers on the night. Fellow guards Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner added 23 and 22 points respectively for the C’s, but the team’s reliance on the 3-ball proved costly, as 30 missed 3-pointers ultimately burned them. The team took only one more 2-point shot (47) than it did 3-point shots (46).
In their last 12 games, the Celtics have been held below 110 points just twice, a stretch in which the Celtics are 8-4. While 8-4 is a great 12-game stretch, a team averaging 112.6 points per game over 12 games should probably have closer to 10 or 11 wins in that stretch. Over the span, the C’s defense is allowing an average of 105.6 points per game, a number that will have to come down if the Green want to make some noise come postseason.
The Celtics return to action on Tuesday night, when they go head-to-head with their rivals the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. Be sure to tune in to CSN New England to see Ace Ticket Celtics Pregame Live starting at 7:00 p.m. The team returns to Boston on Wednesday when they host the Detroit Pistons. Tickets for that game are still available here.