NBA: Celtics swamp Magic after week-long break

Reuters

Posted at Jan 16 2021 12:37 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2021 12:41 PM

NBA: Celtics swamp Magic after week-long break 1
Boston Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye (37) reacts after defeating the Orlando Magic at the TD Garden. Brian Fluharty, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, Semi Ojeleye added 18 and the short-handed Celtics blew out the equally depleted Orlando Magic 124-97 at Boston on Friday night.

Jeff Teague scored 17 points, Payton Pritchard 16 and Marcus Smart 14 for the Celtics, who won for the seventh time in their last eight games. Tristan Thompson had 11 rebounds, and Daniel Theis chipped in 10.

Aaron Gordon had 17 points to lead the Magic, who lost their fourth straight by double digits. Nikola Vucevic, Dwayne Bacon and Cole Anthony each scored 15, and Khem Birch added 12 to go with 12 rebounds.

Orlando shot 40.4 percent (38 of 94) for the game and hit just 7 of 28 attempts from 3-point range (25 percent).

The Celtics took the court for the first time since last Friday after having three games postponed as a result of COVID-19 protocol. 

Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams III have reportedly tested positive for the virus and were out; the team had 12 players available after a week of testing and contact tracing.

Despite the layoff, Boston showed little rust in grabbing the game's first double-digit lead, 28-18, eight minutes in. The Magic went ahead 35-34 early in the second, but the Celtics answered with a 10-1 spurt to regain control. 

The hosts stretched their lead as high as 14 on their way to a 60-48 advantage at the break.

Orlando battled back within six, 74-68, with 5:26 to go in the third, but Boston again responded, ripping off an 11-0 run over a nearly five-minute stretch and ending the quarter up 88-72.

The Celtics' lead surpassed 20 during a 13-0 spurt to begin the fourth quarter and maxed out at 29 in cruising to victory.

The Magic entered having three days off after their Wednesday contest at Boston was among the postponements. 

Orlando was without a handful of players due to injury, including No. 3 scorer Evan Fournier (14.8 points per game), who missed his seventh straight game with back spasms.