It wasn’t pretty or easy, but the Boston Celtics got the victory in overtime down in Orlando tonight. As a fan, it was aggravating to watch the Celtics continuously struggle in the pick and roll game, and if they had done better on the defensive end the game wouldn’t have been as close. Offensively, they executed very well, much like they did Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. If Boston wants to extend their win streak on Wednesday night, they’ll have to do much better on both ends of the court.
Boston set the tone early, playing uptempo on the offensive end and getting easy buckets as a result. Early on, it seemed like the Celtics were going to pull away, but Boston’s poor defense kept the Orlando Magic in the game. In the first half, Leandro Barbosa came in and immediately became a factor. In his first five minutes of play, he scored 11 points, but three quick fouls sent him to the bench.
Despite heading into halftime with a 10 point lead, Boston failed to add extend it in the second half, which in turn allowed the Orlando Magic to get right back into the game. The Celtics pick and roll game was atrocious tonight, and the lack of rotating was frustrating to watch. The Magic got too many easy shots throughout the game, and Boston made little to no adjustments to try stopping Orlando.
However, on offense, Rajon Rondo’s double-double of 15 points and 16 assists fueled Boston and helped maintain a minimal lead through most of the third quarter. Jared Sullinger came in and supplied 11 points and 6 rebounds, which was crucial when Boston had trouble scoring. His offensive rebounding gave the Celtics second chance opportunities and on some possessions he grabbed the board and went right back up to get the easy layup.
Late in the fourth quarter Boston found themselves with a 7 point deficit, but fought back to have it come down to a Paul Pierce, game winning shot, which he missed.
In overtime the Celtics once again pushed the tempo and extended their lead to 5. Boston’s defense clamped down, forced Orlando to take bad shots, and all that needed to be done was sink a few free throws.
Boston takes on the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night at the TD Garden. If the Celtics want to come away with the victory they’ll have to play much better than they did tonight. The pick and roll game is the main concern. If they rotate and play great team defense, no one can put up 110 points on them. I hate to keep using it as an excuse, but chemistry is still a work in progress, especially on defense. When this team is on the same page they’re an unstoppable force, but in the meantime the Celtics are still going through many learning curves.