Here's What Stood Out in Celtics' Loss vs. Magic: Boston Complicit in Orlando's Transition Attack Ending Its Nine-Game Win Streak (2023)

Monday night in Orlando, the Magic snapped the Celtics' nine-game win streak and became the first team to beat Boston in a season series in the 2022-23 campaign.

At the root of that were the Celtics' struggles to deal with the size and physicality of a defense that gave them problems in all four regular-season matchups.

While the visitors capitalized on 18/46 (39.1 percent) of their shots from beyond the arc, they had difficulty finding and staying in rhythm offensively.

Those stops fueled the host's transition attack as Orlando generated 54 points in the paint and 24 on the fast break to Boston's six.

Consistently getting out and running the floor, getting easier looks than their opponent, kept everyone involved and helped the Magic make 51.2 percent of their shots, including 11/27 (40.7 percent) of their threes, and aided their second unit, which outscored the Celtics' bench 41-26.

Now, a deep dive into what stood out in each quarter of Orlando's 113-98 win against the team with the NBA's best record.

The Magic Make a Living in the Paint in the First Frame

With Robert Williams out due to left knee injury management, Blake Griffin started in his absence. Griffin also did so in the Celtics' first trip to Orlando when Boston was on the second half of a back-to-back.

While it was a relatively quiet opening frame for Griffin, he drilled the only shot he hoisted, a three from the left corner.

For the Magic, tonight's game represented the first time they've had Jonathan Isaac in the lineup since 2020. Orlando head coach Jamahl Mosley called his number several times, including immediately after he checked in.

The former sixth-overall pick knocked down a turnaround fadeaway over Jaylen Brown and cleaned up a Gary Harris missed three, producing four points and three rebounds in his first shift.

The hosts held a 30-23 lead entering the second quarter. At the root of that seven-point advantage was a 20-6 edge in points in the paint. At one point, the discrepancy was 12-0.

Cole Anthony, who matched Brown for the most points in the first 12 minutes, registering nine, scored as many in the paint as Boston did collectively.

The game was tied at 23 late in the period, but the Magic closed the quarter on a 7-0 run capped by a Franz Wagner baseline jumper.

The Second Quarter was Boston's Best

Cole Anthony continued living in the paint in the second frame, including producing four-straight points in the middle of an 8-0 Orlando run.

When he threw down an alley-oop from Franz Wagner, it gave the hosts a 40-29 lead, marking the fourth time in five games Boston's fallen behind by double digits.

With 8:20 left, Derrick White got hit in the back of the neck by Mo Wagner. It certainly wasn't malicious, but it caused White to leave the game.

However, after White's injury resulted in a turnover, a Mo Wagner three, and a Joe Mazzulla timeout, the Celtics responded by staging a 9-1 run in about two minutes.

That burst featured a Payton Pritchard three and a Brown jumper from the foul line, helping the visitors pull within six, 44-38.

The Celtics continued building on that momentum as Jayson Tatum ripped off three-straight layups, extending Boston's run to 16-1 and putting the visitors ahead 45-44 with 4:11 left in the first half.

As this unfolded, Orlando didn't make a field goal for nearly 5:30.

Back-to-back buckets by Tatum and Brown grew, hands down, the Celtics' best stretch of the game into a 21-5 advantage in a span lasting 5:40.

However, consecutive jumpers by Wendell Carter Jr. and Paolo Banchero gave the hosts the lead back as halftime arrived, entering the locker room leading 55-54.

While Brown and Tatum registered 18 and 16 points, respectively, in the first 24 minutes, the Magic had a more balanced scoring attack, with Anthony (13), Banchero (12), and Carter (12) in double figures.

Orlando also held a 30-22 advantage in points in the paint, the host's second unit outscored Boston's 25-14, and the Magic generated 11 fast-break points to the Celtics' two.

Celtics Repeatedly Settle as the Magic's Defense Fuels Their Transition Attack in the Third Quarter

About five minutes into the third frame, Tatum knocked down a three from the right wing, but he reached for his midsection afterward. It's unclear if the pain stemmed from that shot, but he grabbed Gary Harris and took himself out of the game after that foul.

He then jogged to the locker room for further examination.

After that, the Celtics, living up to their reputation for slow starts to the second half, saw their energy dip with Tatum no longer present.

The Magic, continuing to convert stops into transition makes, turned Brown overthrowing his pick-and-roll partner, Al Horford, as the latter dove to the rim, into an Isaac three.

They followed that up by flipping a missed long-range look from the corner for White into a Harris three from the right wing. That gave the hosts a 19-2 advantage in fast-break points and a 74-68 lead.

Even with Brown burying a needed three, Boston couldn't find its rhythm offensively, as the hosts continued clamping down and converting stops into points, extending their run to 14-3, going up 80-71 when a Brown miss from beyond the arc turned into a dunk for Wendell Carter Jr.

And while there were moments that could have provided the spark the Celtics were searching for, like when Pritchard pressuring Cole Anthony resulted in the latter losing the ball as he spun away, leading to a transition layup for Brown, the visitors were never able to build off those plays.

It didn't help that Orlando stayed hot from beyond the arc. The hosts went 4/9 on third-quarter threes.

Boston got a boost when Tatum returned to the game with 2:04 left and the Celtics trailing 86-73.

He quickly found Sam Hauser for a three, then capitalized on a free throw following a Mo Wagner technical.

A Grant Williams pull-up jumper in the frame's final minute trimmed the deficit to 88-79 entering the fourth quarter.

Magic Fend Off the Celtics in the Final Frame

There was a Mfiondu Kabengele sighting to start the fourth quarter. With Boston shorthanded on the front end of a back-to-back, bringing him in hopes of an infusion of energy is worth a shot.

And with Horford presumably not about to break the pattern of sitting out the second half of a back-to-back, it's an opportunity for him to earn minutes for Tuesday's tilt against the Heat.

Kabengele played hard, including fighting on the glass and nearly producing a second chance for the Celtics before the call got overturned, but his shift was uneventful.

The opposite is true for Hauser, who wrestled a loose ball away to keep a possession alive, pitching it to Tatum for a three from the left wing. Hauser then swished a pull-up jumper and drilled a three of his own. The latter pulled the visitors within five, 92-87, with 9:23 to go.

But later in the frame, with Boston hanging around, the Magic ripped off an 8-0 run, capped on a play where Tatum and Brown collided, leaving Franz Wagner open for a three that he capitalized on, giving Orlando a 105-95 advantage with 4:20 left.

After that burst, the Magic never let the Celtics get close again, and with 1:25 left and Boston down 11, Joe Mazzulla emptied the bench.

With its 113-98 victory, Orlando snaps the Celtics' nine-game win streak and becomes the first team to beat Boston in a season series in the 2022-23 campaign.

Up Next

The Celtics head to Miami for a matchup against the Heat on Tuesday. The game tips off at 7:30 pm EST. Inside The Celtics will have content related to the game coming out before, during, and afterward. And follow @BobbyKrivitsky on Twitter for updates and analysis from pregame to post.

Further Reading

For the Celtics, a Quiet Trade Deadline May Prove Best

Here's What Stood Out in the Celtics' Win vs. the Raptors: Boston's Second Unit Fuels Ninth-Straight Victory

The Top 5 Plays from Saturday's Celtics-Raptors Game

Celtics Reportedly Looking for Players in Very Specific Range Ahead of NBA Trade Deadline

Western Conference Rival Reportedly has Shown Trade Interest In Celtics Guard Payton Pritchard

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