The Boston Celtics knew that the fourth seed was imprisoned when they came into play, but they usually played it like any other regular season game. Aside from the curtailment of Al Horford's and Jaylen Brown's minutes, the Celtics used their regular turns.
The strategy seemed to strike back when Boston lost Jayson Tatum to an injured tibia and Marcus Smart was ultimately injured on the way to a fatal loss to the target.
FIRST QUARTER: On the back and forth were many Al Horford and Kyrie Irving for the Boston Celtics and a lot of Nikola Vucevic for the Orlando Magic. Vucevic scored 1
SECOND QUARTER: Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis and Gordon Hayward came to an 11-2 run to start the quarter. They took advantage of a sales-prone Magic team to win up to 13 points, but Boston themselves became sloppy and gave Orlando a 11-2 run to close the quarter. Vucevic checked in again and scored six more points in the second. Boston got a balanced attack, with the exception of Horford and Marcus Morris.
THIRD QUARTER: The Celtics came out with little energy and their lead disappeared quickly. Evan Fournier and DJ Augustin combined for 15 of Orlando's 35 points, while Boston relied again on Horford and Irving. The real story of the quarter was that Marcus Smart suffered a hip injury halfway. He collided with Vucevic and had to be helped into the locker room after trying to stay in the game. Meanwhile Orlando had reached his lead on seven before settling at five and finishing fourth.
F OUR QUARTER: Terrence Ross scored eleven consecutive points to increase Orlando's lead to 14. With the return of Kyrie Irving and the hot shoot of Jaylen Brown, the lead was reduced to four. Kyrie and Ross exchanged shots, but Irving cut twice. He tied it with 2:40 to go. On the other side of the floor, Daniel Theis defended the rim to keep Boston close. Boston missed a chance of leadership on several occasions, and Orlando brought the match out of reach with a 6-0 lead.
STATS OF THE GAME: Orlando had 22 points versus 14 Boston sales and 17-9 edges in fast break points. Boston got too sloppy for too long and could try a late comeback
UP NEXT / STANDINGS WATCH: The Celtics are closing the regular season on Tuesday from Washington. The loss solidifies the fourth seed of the Celtics, and in the first round of the playoffs, one now encounters Indiana.