Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 17th 2023

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If the Orlando Magic want to avoid falling to the Celtics for the second time in three days, they’ll have to put an end to one of the most historic runs in Boston franchise history.

By blowing by Orlando on Friday, the Celtics improved to 13-0 at home for just the second time ever, and they will look to keep rolling on Sunday when the Magic pay another visit.

Friday’s 128-111 victory put Boston in elite company, as it joined the 1957-58 Celtics as the only two teams in the storied history of the franchise to rattle off 13 consecutive home wins to begin the season.

That 1957-58 squad featured Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman and a 23-year-old Bill Russell, and it started 18-0. While Boston might not have been working with that kind of talent on Friday, it got contributions from across the board to snap a four-game skid against Orlando dating back to last season.

Kristaps Porzingis (calf), Al Horford (rest) and Luke Kornet (adductor) were sidelined, forcing the Celtics to start 6-foot-7 Lamar Stevens at center.

However, Boston brushed off its lack of height with ease.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 30 points and six boards while fellow starters Derrick White (19 points) and Jaylen Brown (18) also logged strong outings, but it was the bench that made the difference.

Payton Pritchard hit six 3-pointers en route to 21 points for Boston, which also got 11 points from both Sam Hauser and Oshae Brissett.

Brissett said he believes the Celtics’ bench is vastly underrated and has played a big role in the team’s 19-5 start overall.

“Anyone that’s saying that is out of their mind,” Brissett said of those who don’t believe in Boston’s reserves. “Because I strongly believe our second unit is better than a lot of teams’ first unit, and I can say that confidently.”

Meanwhile, the Magic will be looking to dust themselves off from one of their sloppiest performances of the season. Jalen Suggs netted 19 points as all five starters scored in double figures, but Orlando committed 21 turnovers that translated to 26 Boston points.

“It’s huge — takes away from obviously getting a good look ourselves, but it gives them easy looks and lets them run out in transition,” Magic forward Franz Wagner said of his team’s giveaways. “We are a really good defensive team in the half court. I think it’s twofold that problem, and we have to make sure we clean that up.”

One positive was the play of rookie Anthony Black, who had career highs in points (13), rebounds (nine) and assists (four) on Friday. Black has been shouldering a heavier workload in the absence of Markelle Fultz, who has missed the past 16 games due to a knee injury.

Fultz could return on Sunday, though, after being listed as questionable for Friday’s game. Porzingis could also be back for the Celtics considering his latest absence was mostly a precautionary move.

Sunday marks the third meeting of the season between the teams. The Magic beat Boston 113-96 at home on Nov. 24.

–Field Level Media

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