BOSTON – The Boston Celtics failed to give Brad Stevens the one birthday present he would have loved to have had on Monday – a win.
Boston spent the entire game playing from behind, failing to make the necessary shot or get the defensive stop required to swing the game’s momentum in their favor as the Orlando Magic squeaked out a 93-90 win.
Boston had multiple chances in the closing moments to force overtime.
Kyrie Irving missed a corner 3-pointer that would have tied the game. Al Horford was able to corral the offensive rebound, and quickly got the ball into the hands of Gordon Hayward whose desperation heave hit the back of the rim just a smidge too hard, leading to the ball rolling out as time expired.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s first home loss of the season, a 93-90 defeat to the Orlando Magic.
Nikola Vucevic: For most of the first half, Nikola Vucevic was the best player on the floor. He was one rebound shy of a double-double… by halftime (16 points, nine rebounds). He would finish with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Jonathan Isaac: Only Markelle Fultz played fewer minutes than Isaac among rookies last season. But the improvement in Isaac’s game is undeniable. He was a major factor in Orlando getting off to such a great start, scoring nine of his 18 points in the first quarter. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Gordon Hayward: It was a good first half for Gordon Hayward, scoring eight points on a pair of 3-pointers and a dunk – shots we had not seen much of from him thus far. Hayward continued to play well before finishing with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. It was another solid outing for Hayward as he continues to make progress towards regaining the All-Star form we saw prior to missing most of last season with a left ankle/leg injury.
Kyrie Irving: It was another rough start to the game shooting, only for Irving to find his stride in the second half to finish with a decent night shooting the ball. For the game, Irving had 22 points on 10-for-19 shooting to go with eight rebounds and five assists.
Evan Fournier: He didn’t score a ton of points, but Fournier made a slew of big-time shots and free throws for the Magic. He finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 assists.
Jaylen Brown: He hit a big 3-pointer with 1:11 to play that made it an 89-86 game, but he had missed seven of his previous eight shots from the field and committed a ill-timed foul with 1:32 when he was called for a reach-in foul against D.J. Augustin. Augustin made one of the two free throws, but that one point would prove huge in what turned into a down-to-the wire finish.
Celtics offense: Boston came into Monday’s game with one of the worst offensive ratings in the NBA. And for most of the night, you could see why. The Celtics never played with any semblance of consistency on offense, resulting in them falling behind by double digits only to bounce back but never getting enough of an offensive springboard to take control of the game.
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