It may have been only a preseason game at TD Garden, but it was not a preseason crowd. Celtics fans were in midseason form during the 98-97 win, as Boston ventured back from down 11 in the fourth quarter to steal their preseason opener from Orlando in front of the raucous garden fans.
The Celtics started many of the usual suspects, with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum all getting the nod. Despite starting, all three played around 25 minutes on the night. Brown opened the night with early 8-0 run of his own making to give Boston a 21-20 advantage after the opening quarter. He would lead the Celtics with 25 points on the night despite not closing out the game.
The second quarter belonged to Magic center Mo Bamba, who responded with the first nine Orlando points of the period. The 2018 lottery pick got it done in a variety of ways, knocking down threes, finishing lobs, and turning offensive rebounds into points. Bamba finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds on 6-10 from the field. The two teams traded leads as the Magic took a 52-50 advantage into the half.
Throughout the third quarter and into the first half of the fourth, Orlando built their lead behind hot shooting from distance. A Bamba dunk gave the Magic a 97-86 advantage with 6:23 in the contest. From there, it was the Celtics youngsters who brought Boston back behind an incredible TD Garden crowd.
Aaron Nesmith connected on his only two threes of the ballgame, Payton Pritchard drilled a pair of 28-footers, and all of a sudden the Celtics were down only a pair with 36 seconds left. Following a Pritchard miss and an Orlando rebound, Langford came up with a key steal and save. From there, it was no hesitation as Pritchard found him for the game-winning three.
That’s not a normal preseason crowd reaction:
The Celtics take on Toronto on Saturday in their second preseason game of the season.