After Successful Homestand, Magic Defeated NBA Best Celtics To Start Road Trip – The Mercury News

The Orlando Magic took care of business on their recent homestand, taking a 4-1 lead at the Amway Center.

A bigger challenge came Friday: seeing if their progress would translate down the road, starting against league-best Boston at TD Garden.

The Magic (10-20) passed the test, beating the Celtics (22-8) 117-109 for their fifth straight win, their longest winning streak since the 2020 season. Orlando won three games before the 2019 season /20 was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then won the first two seeding games of the regular season in the “NBA bubble,” giving them a five-game winning streak that spanned nearly five months.

Moe Wagner led the Magic on Friday with a team-best 25 points in 9-of-12 shots and 8 rebounds, his second 20-point gain of the season.

Paolo Banchero added 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds while Franz Wagner had 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

Markelle Fultz recorded 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, including 6 points in the fourth quarter before fouling with 57.9 seconds left.

Cole Anthony added 14 points (7 of 13 shots), 5 rebounds and 3 assists while Mo Bamba contributed 8 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

The Magic took on the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors (twice) and Atlanta Hawks on Friday with four straight home wins.

Her defense strengthened during the homestand, finishing 10th in the defense rating – points per 100 possessions allowed – during the stretch.

But the Celtics, who had the league’s best offensive ratings in Jayson Tatum (30.2 points per game) and Jaylen Brown (26.6), led by two top-15 scorers, faced other challenges.

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“They’re #1 in many categories – offensive efficiency, 3-point percentage,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said before the game. “You’re doing well. That’s the test we want our boys to take.”

Tatum (31 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists) and Brown (26 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists) got theirs, but the Celtics’ supporting lineup wasn’t enough.

Boston welcomed defensive strong center Robert Williams III, who made his season debut after undergoing left knee surgery during the offseason.

“Defensively he becomes a rim protector,” Mosley said. “With our ability to get to the color, once we get there, we need to find options. For them, offensively, another Lob threat is on the edge. We need to contain basketball as we know it will linger on the fringes. Offensive rebounds, our boxing will be huge.

The Magic were the ones who dominated the offensive glass, grabbing 53 rebounds including 15 offensive boards. This resulted in them finishing with 20 points for second chances and 7 more field goal attempts.

Al Horford also returned to the Celtics’ lineup after missing the last five games for personal reasons.

He finished 6 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist in 16 minutes after being ejected early in the third quarter for being flagrant foul penalty 2 rated against Moe Wagner.

Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Gary Harris (right hamstring strain), Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery), Chuma Okeke (left knee pain) and Jalen Suggs (right ankle pain) were injured on the break Friday.

Carter, Harris and Okeke traveled to Boston.

They did not take part in Friday morning’s shooting but were given work on the pitch afterwards.

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“We’re just going to continue to see how they react, so their rehab will be on the go instead of at home,” Mosley said.

RJ Hampton was unavailable after requesting and receiving an assignment from the organization’s G League affiliate, Lakeland Magic.

Hampton played in Lakeland’s 101-95 home win over Birmingham Squadron on Thursday, scoring 24 points (9/16) in 27 minutes off the bench to end a four-game losing streak.

He also played in Friday’s home game against the Texas Legends and will return to Orlando on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game with the Celtics in Boston.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi price to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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