According to Jason Terry, tonight is a must win game. Not because of playoff implications, but simply due to the fact Orlando is “terrible.” With Orlando’s 20-59 record, it is hard to argue against Terry’s sentiments.
The Magic have the league’s second worst record, only behind the Charlotte Bobcats (18-61). As Celtics’ fans have witnessed though, playing the league’s bottom dwellers doesn’t always result in a pleasant outcome for Boston (40-39). The Celtics have lost to the Bobcats, Cavaliers, Pistons, and Hornets a combined eight times this season.
Having Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce back should help Boston avoid the upset though. Both Garnett and Pierce sat out in last night’s loss to the Miami Heat due to ankle injuries. With the playoffs quickly approaching and Boston’s playoff seeding all but solidified, rest is at a premium for the veterans.
The older players aren’t the only ones who may need a rest though. After throwing down a powerful dunk in the fourth quarter last night, Jeff Green came down hard on his elbow, forcing him to miss the rest of the game. While Doc Rivers and Green himself reiterated it is nothing serious, he’s listed as a gametime decision for tonight.
Even with Orlando’s poor record, there is still some youthful talent on the roster. Since being traded from Milwaukee at the trade deadline, Tobias Harris has broken out as a cornerstone to the Magic’s future. Harris is coming off a 30-point, 19-rebound performance on Wednesday night against his former squad.
The Magic also have the second best rebounder in the league this season. The 22-year-old, Nikola Vucevic, averages 11.9 rebounds per game, and has hit the 20 rebound mark his past two outings. That ability to rebound the ball will place pressure on the Celtics’ frontcourt to hold their own.
Boston’s rebounding woes have been on display all year. Ultimately if Boston is able to pick up the win tonight, they’ll permanently slot themselves into the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed, and can begin preparation for a first round battle with New York.