BOSTON – With more than two minutes left, the Boston Celtics’ crowd saw the unexpected – Gino on the jumbotron.
If you see Gino, the medium shirt, bell bottom pants-wearing figure from the iconic dance show American Bandstand, you know the Celtics are winning rather convincingly.
There’s no other way to put what happened in Friday's 128-98 blowout win against the Magic.
- Highlights: Boston Celtics 128, Orlando Magic 98
- Celtics have talked to Magic about potential deal involving Nikola Vucevic
- Stevens: Coaching All-Star team 'not on a list of goals I have written down'
- Zeller makes early impact in first game since December 29
- Six double-figure scorers lead Celtics in dominant 128-98 win over Magic
It equaled their largest win of the season which came last month against the same Orlando Magic team.
But more than that, it allowed Boston to rest key players knowing they are in the middle of a four-games-in-five-nights stretch that includes a road matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
Even if the Celtics weren’t playing the Bucks, Brad Stevens and the rest of his team needed a night like this.
“Most of our games have been one possession, two possession, three possession games,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “It is nice.”
And while Boston dominated play most of the night, it was their play in the third quarter that really put the game away.
“It was a good example of how you need to come out in the third quarter and play when you have a lead,” Stevens said. “I thought we played with good spirit, good purpose, and then I thought that third period allowed us to rest those guys in the fourth, and we’ve got a lot of games this week so hopefully that’s a good thing.”
It certainly was for Isaiah Thomas and most of the starters with all on the bench for the entire fourth quarter except for rookie Jaylen Brown.
“It was nice,” Thomas said. “I mean, I wanted to play really, but it was good to get one of those wins. We haven’t had one this season (at home) so it was good for our confidence and to know that we played the right way and we took care of business and we got another one tomorrow (against Milwaukee).”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.
It was another milestone night for Thomas. He finished with a game-high 21 points which was the 30th straight game he had 20 or more points scored. The last Celtic to do so was Kevin McHale in 1986 – three years before Thomas was born.
The shots continue to fall and an extremely efficient rate for Crowder. He had 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting to go with six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
He was the one relatively bright spot for the Magic, showing off the skills that make him a player a number of teams – including the Celtics – have interest in. He finished with 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with seven rebounds and two assists.
The rookie showed a little bit of everything on Friday, scoring both off the drive, from the line and from 3-point range. He wound up with a career-high 20 points accompanied by eight rebounds (a career-high) and two assists.
The final numbers – 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting with seven rebounds – look respectable. But like most of his team, Biyombo’s play had little impact on the outcome.
Players typically struggle after missing lots of consecutive games. But Zeller reminded us all that he’s a pro who stays ready to play when his number is called. He did just that on Friday, making his first five shots from the field to finish with 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
There was very little Ibaka brought to the game at either end of the floor. He missed six of his eight shot attempts and grabbed as many rebounds as Gino did on the jumbotron after the Magic got waxed by the Celtics. Zero rebounds in 22 minutes is just flat-out embarrassing for a player of Ibaka’s stature.
Well, at least Green grabbed four rebounds. But beyond that (0-for-5 shooting, two turnovers) he was a non-factor for most of the 16 minutes he logged on the floor.