Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics still could not solve the Orlando Magic puzzle on their way to a 113-98 loss. This is the third straight time the Cs have lost to the Magic after winning their previous 10 meetings.
Boston played undermanned tonight as they didn’t have starters Marcus Smart and Robert Williams due to ankle and knee injuries, respectively. They also missed the services of Sixth Man of the Year contender Malcolm Brogdon who didn’t suit up due to personal reasons.
Brown had this to say about the Magic after the Celtics’ nine-game winning run came to a halt:
"Tonight, we had opportunities to win or go up and Orlando took those opportunities away with their physicality. Give credit to them and we look forward to the next one.”
Even with several key players in street clothes, the Boston Celtics expect more from themselves. They beat the Toronto Raptors on the road last Saturday without Tatum and lost Smart, Williams and Derrick White to injuries.
Jaylen Brown knew the Celtics could have and should have done better but it seemed like the Magic had got their number. After a 55-54 halftime score, Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner and Rookie of the Year favorite Paolo Banchero dominated Boston.
After Tatum drilled a 3 that trimmed Orlando’s lead to 97-95, the Magic held them down to just three points the rest of the way. It wasn’t just the physicality of coach Jamahl Mosley’s team that bothered the Celtics.
The length and athleticism of the Orlando Magic have been a puzzle Jaylen Brown and company have not been able to solve. Brown and Jayson Tatum each had 26 points, but they had to bleed for each of them.
After the game, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla reiterated what Jaylen Brown had said earlier. Mazzulla emphasized the Orlando Magic’s physicality and edge, which were the biggest reasons for Boston’s downfall.
Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics can’t afford to take their foot off the pedal
After the loss to the Orlando Magic, the Boston Celtics dropped to 35-13, still four games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference. They’ve practically owned the best record in their conference and even the entire NBA for most of the season.
Injuries to Marcus Smart and Robert Williams could slow them down, but they can’t take their foot off the gas pedal. They have to adapt without two of the best defensive players as they trail to hold on to the best record in the NBA.
Against the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic, they looked lethargic, especially in the first half. They can’t afford that as the season is still long and they’ll be facing elite competition almost every night.
Moving forward, Jaylen Brown will have to carry more of the Celtics’ load as Jayson Tatum has been banged up. “JT” has been dealing with wrist soreness and most were visibly pained by something in the loss to the Magic.
Boston will face the Miami Heat, the new-look LA Lakers, with Rui Hachimura, Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks over the next 10 games.
If they’re still severely undermanned and they don’t play up to their usual standards, they could lose their lofty position in the standings.