ORLANDO — After the Celtics beat the Miami Heat in a rematch of the ECF Friday, the Celtics then beat the Orlando Magic the next day 126-120 to extend their start to the season to 3-0.
The C’s rallied behind Jayson Tatum’s 40 points and eight rebounds against Orlando as he led the way in scoring. However, starting point guard Derrick White also finished with 27 points. Both Tatum and White had 12 combined straight points in the fourth quarter to run away with the win.
“I mean, it’s early but (the MVP) has always been a goal of mine,” Tatum acknowledged. “When I was a kid, getting into the NBA wasn’t all I wanted to do. I wanted to be a champion, reach all those accolades and accomplishments, and MVP is obviously at the top of that list.”
The game was a close match through and through. Both teams sharing the lead. A high scoring first half left the score tied 68-68 halfway through.
With Al Horford out, that left the new pickup and New England native Noah Vonleh to start for the C’s at the center position. Vonleh only played 14 minutes but he showed to be valuable to the C’s success. Once again, it was Grant Williams who showed up for the green with 13 points, six rebounds, and 1 block. Malcolm Brogdon also chipped in with 13 points too.
Jaylen Brown only finished with 12 points while Marcus Smart had six.
For the Magic, they were keeping up with the Celtics’ 19 three pointers by hitting 15 as a whole. Former Kentucky Wildcat Terrance Ross led the scoring with 29 points and he was all over the court. He was running the floor, hitting the deep ball (5 three’s), and jamming the rock. Former Duke Blue Devil Paolo Banchero dropped 23 points and didn’t stop fighting for the Magic.
Another big difference was the free throw shooting. Celtics shot 83% from the charity strike while the Magic shot 65%.
Nonetheless, the Celtics showed their chemistry despite not having their big guys out there as starters. White and Williams stepping up will continue to be huge moving forward. This 3-game winning streak is being used as a signal to the rest of the league that the Celtics should still be respected.
The C’s will head to Chicago to face the Bulls tomorrow night at 8 p.m. The Magic will face the Knicks tomorrow night.