Five takeaways from C'a win over Magic: No Isaiah, no problem
Five takeaways from Celtics’ win over Magic: No Isaiah, no problem
BOSTON – Regardless of what meteorologists might have said, the plane ride back to Boston from Orlando was a lot smoother for the Celtics after their 117-87 win against the Magic on Wednesday night.
The 30-point margin was their largest of the season, a game in which the Celtics finished with seven players reaching double figures scoring and an eighth player, Kelly Olynyk, finishing with nine points.
But there was one thing that in the grand scheme of things, was a downer and that was the absence of Isaiah Thomas who was out due to a right groin injury.
It was the first time since the 2014-2015 season that Boston played without Thomas.
The 5-foot-9 guard averages 26.0 points per game this season which is a career high, and he leads the team with 6.2 assists per game.
So, to win so convincingly void of such an integral part of their success, is indeed impressive.
Here are some of takeaways for the Celtics from Wednesday:
THE FUTURE: BROWN AND ROZIER
No Thomas created increased opportunities for two of Boston’s younger players, second-year guard Terry Rozier and rookie forward Jaylen Brown. Both played major roles in Boston’s biggest blowout win of the season. Brown had 13 points which included a one-handed jam over Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, while Rozier finished with a career-high 16 points.
CROWDER’S HEALTH ON THE RISE
After missing eight games earlier this season with an ankle injury, Jae Crowder is about as close to 100 percent health-wise as can be. The 6-foot-6 forward tallied his second double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds, along with two assists.
AL’S PASSING FANCY
Boston prides itself on having great ball movement and one of the keys to that is Al Horford. The 6-foot-10 forward/center has made a habit out of getting his teammates involved early and often this season. He’s averaging 5.3 assists per game this season which is tops among NBA centers. That includes him tallying a game-high eight assists against the Magic.
Playing in front of not-so-friendly crowds has been a good thing for the Celtics. Wednesday’s victory was their seventh on the road in their past nine games away from the TD Garden. Boston is one of four teams in the East (Cleveland, Toronto and Charlotte) with a winning road record, but Boston has the most wins (C's are 8-5).
WINNING WITHOUT THOMAS
The most important development from Wednesday night is that the Celtics won the game without their leading scorer and assist man, Isaiah Thomas. As much as Thomas needed the night off to help rest his groin injury, his teammates needed to see what they could do without him which should provide them with some added confidence going forward. Because as important as Thomas is to the Celtics’ success, they are built to win as a group, which was on full display Wednesday night.