ORLANDO, Fla. - When Doc Rivers has dinner with Orlando coach Johnny
Davis and Magic players Pat Garrity and Grant Hill sometime next summer,
there should be some interesting conversation. Although the Celtics and Magic meet two more times this season, Rivers already has plenty of fodder for some good-natured ribbing.
Boston's best performance of the season in a 117-101 rout of Orlando
last night, Rivers tried out some of his new material. He joked that the
Magic played as poorly as many in Orlando would expect with Rivers on
the sidelines at the TD Waterhouse Centre.
aside, the kind of moribund play the Magic exhibited last night led to
Rivers's firing a little over a year ago. The contest was never close,
which represented a pleasant change for the inconsistent Celtics as they snapped a four-game losing streak and handed Orlando only its second home loss this season.
be lying if I said I didn't want to come here and win," said Rivers.
"Not because I dislike Orlando's team. More because I've been here. I
know Johnny. I know Pat. I know Grant. And I'm going to have dinner with
them this summer at some point and I don't want them talking about how
they killed us. I can say something now. But for me, it couldn't be
about me. It had to be about the players, and the players answered."
made sure they got attention by setting season highs in points, field
goals (45), and offensive rebounds (16), though they lost the overall
battle on the boards (56-46). Other than rebounding, Boston dominated
Orlando by setting a quick pace on offense and getting back on defense.
racked up 30 fast-break points (23 in the first half). Many of the 70
points Boston scored in the paint came as a result of dunks and layups
on the run. On the other end, the Celtics held the Magic to 39 percent from the floor.
69-45, at halftime, the Magic left the court to jeers from the same
crowd of 12,124 that graciously cheered Rivers during introductions. An
early 14-2 run set the tone for the visitors' performance. They finished
the first quarter ahead, 37-20, shooting 64 percent. Paul Pierce scored
with ease inside, converting layup after layup. Raef LaFrentz also
continued to make significant offensive contributions, just as he did
early against Miami Sunday night.
a 15-4 run early in the second, Boston stretched its advantage to a
game-high 27 (60-33) with a layup by LaFrentz. But in many ways, the
quarter belonged to Marcus Banks, who scored 9 of his season-high 20
points as he continues to make the most of his opportunities. With
rookie Delonte West (fractured right hand) once again injured, Banks
returned to the backup point guard spot after recording a DNP-CD against
"I'm just glad to
get that opportunity," said Banks. "I just have to sit there and be
patient. I've got to wait my turn and make sure when I get in there I do
all the right things."
the exception of some struggles from the field and defensive lapses
that allowed Orlando to close within 12 (94-82) early in the fourth, the
made all the right moves. They also seized the opportunity that
developed as it became clear they caught the Magic on an off night.
Orlando placed six players in double figures, no starter had more than
14 points, though Kelvin Cato recorded season highs with 14 points and
12 rebounds. Coming off the bench, Hedo Turkoglu led the Magic with 18
To hear Steve Francis tell it, Boston owed its victory largely to the officials and luck.
the beginning, it was bad," said Francis, who picked up his second
personal on an offensive foul with 7 minutes 54 seconds left in the
first. "There were a lot of questionable calls. It got everything
ignited for them.
we didn't defend too good in the first quarter. Sometimes we were
contesting, but a lot of times it was just them, pure athletic ability.
They've got guys who normally don't shoot hitting a lot of jumpers."
Nothing Francis said, however, could diminish the significance of the win for the Celtics.
By showing the ability to hold a large lead, work through a period of
poor play, and remain composed when Orlando made a couple of small runs,
the Celtics gave hope that a winning streak might not be far off.
just played with a better sense of urgency," said Pierce (24 points).
"We felt good about the way we played [against Miami]. We just didn't
want to come off this road trip without at least a win. It worked out
for Doc and the team."