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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Unless We're Talking About Disney World, Orlando is Pretty Useless

If the Celtics don't get a top pick in June's NBA Draft, one of the first things we'll blame (other than the basketball Gods of course) is the Orlando Magic. Why? Well with Boston's (16-33 overall, 10-15 home) 96-89 win this afternoon at TD Garden, the Celts finished their season series with the Magic (13-36 overall, 3-22 away) 3-1, ugh.

The rare victory for the Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak. It might have been the product of playing another team doing everything they can not to win but Rajon Rondo (19 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals in only 27 minutes) looked way better than any of his other eight performances since returning Jan. 17 vs. Lakers. It was his first double-double of the season and most surprising, he was 9 of 11 from the field including a 3-pointer.

Nobody has ever debated whether Jared Sullinger (21 points, 12 rebounds) was better than Glen Davis (15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) but this contest served as a further example of how much higher Sullinger's ceiling can be if only he stays healthy for a full season.

Brandon Bass, who was traded for Davis, also played better than the clown they call Big Baby with 19 points and nine rebounds. Avery Bradley (17 points) returned after missing the last five games with a sprained ankle.

Arron Afflalo led Orlando with 18 points, underrated Nikola Vucevic had a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds), Tobias Harris added 13 points and five rebounds while promising rookie Victor Oladipo notched 12 points and five assists even though he was bricktastic (3 for 16 from the field, woof!).

Boston has rarely won this season but even more strange to see is them leading from start to finish. The C's were up 27-19 after the first quarter, 54-45 at halftime and 71-64 heading into the fourth quarter. Thanks for playing, Magic.

The Celts shot 8.7% better from the field (50-41.3%), grabbed five more rebounds (44-39) and handed out six more assists (24-18) thanks to Rondo's re-emergence.

It seems like Boston has played a round-robin tournament lately with the other teams in the Eastern Conference trying to tank. After losing on a fantastic Evan Turner buzzer-beater for the Sixers on Wednesday, they go to Philadelphia (15-33 overall, 5th in Atlantic Division) this Wednesday (7, CSN & 98.5 FM).

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