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Celts get back to winning ways

The Sports Xchange

November 24. 2017 10:25PM
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts after his three point basket against the Orlando Magic in the first quarter at TD Garden Nov. 24, 2017. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON — Despite an NBA-best 16-3 record, the Celtics were concerned with their offense, especially the way they had been starting games.

But Friday night, with the floundering Orlando Magic barely getting in the way, Boston erupted for 40 points in the first quarter and 73 in the first half — both season highs — on its way to a 118-103 rout that sent the Magic to their seventh straight loss.

The 118 points also marked a season high for Boston and the Celtics also matched their season best with 17 3-pointers.

The win was also the 14th straight for the Celtics, winners of 17 of their last 18, over the Magic, who haven’t won at TD Garden since 2010.

Kyrie Irving scored 30 points, Terry Rozier scored a career-high 23 points and Al Horford matched a career high 10 assists (seven in the first quarter) in the second win in as many tries against Orlando (8-11) this season.

Rozier had just six field goals in the last five games and went 8-for-11 from the floor, 5-for-7 from 3-point range. He also had six rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench (bench scoring had also been a problem for the Celtics).

With his team playing tonight in Indiana, Boston coach Brad Stevens got to clear his bench early. Marcus Morris was the only starter to play in the fourth quarter, when Orlando showed its only sign of life.

Down by 30 at the end of the, the Magic managed to get as close as 14 with just under four minutes left.

Aron Baynes had 12 points and a season-high 10 rebounds, Jaylen Brown scored 13 points and Jayson Tatum 11 in the victory.

Jonathan Simmons came off the bench to lead five Magic players in double figures with 14 points.

Notes: The Celtics debuted a new black jersey on Black Friday. ... Orlando coach Frank Vogel, talking before the game, called Boston’s Al Horford, “Probably the most underrated guy in the league, in my opinion, for everything he does.” ... Talking at the morning shoot-around, Magic center Nikola Vucevic said, “We need to play at our best tonight. We can’t have any stretches where we don’t compete on both ends. They’re a great team. They’ve been playing great.” ... The Magic continue their four-game road trip tonight at Philadelphia. ... Monday night, Boston hosts the Detroit Pistons in the first return of former Celtics Avery Bradley, traded to Detroit for Marcus Morris during the offseason.

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