Photo credit: Chris Forsberg / ESPN Boston
The Boston Celtics drop their first game of the Summer League in Orlando after losing 95-88 against the Orlando Magic.
After a fortnight involving a unseemly coaching departure, the hiring of a new young coach, and saying goodbye to two of the most prominent players in the history of the franchise, Sunday afternoon gave the Boston Celtics their first chance to return to some form of normality. They faced the Orlando Magic in the first game of their Summer League stint in Florida.
The Magic got on the scoreboard first during their first possession, when Victor Oladipo made a three-point shot. The Celtics responded quickly however, as a short rally put them in front, concluding with a first ever basket in a green jersey for Kelly Olynyk with a jump shot that put the C's up 6-3.
Oladipo though struck again with another three-pointer just a few moments later to tie the game up for Orlando. Olynyk also grabbed a three-point basket for himself as the Celtics pulled away slightly with a 13-8 lead. After a quick timeout Orlando regrouped, and thanks to some sloppy play that included a bad pass, Magic forward Maurice Harkless was able to slam the ball home off an assist by Doron Lamb to put Orlando back on top by one.
Orlando kept it a close game until the final minute of the quarter, when Boston went on a quick scoring run, culminating in a three-point buzzer-beater shot that put the C's up 26-22 at the end of the first.
It was a fairly slow start to the second quarter for Boston, failing to score on their first three possessions, allowing Orlando to pull away a little with a 26-25 lead. Some solid defensive work through from the likes of Fab Melo allowed the C's to slow the Magic offense down as they attempted to regain control of the game. Kelly Olynyk scored his eleventh point of the game with a jump shot to put Boston back in front, but it didn't last long however as the Magic went on a 8-0 run, ending with a three-point shot from Doran Lamb. Kelly Olynyk was proving to be key for the offense as he ended the half with 17 points, and two free throws during the final second reduced the C's deficit to 42-47 at the end of the half.
Boston started the second half confidently, quickly securing four points to reduce their deficit to two. Both teams exchanged consecutive scoring possessions, until Orlando's rookie forward Romero Orsby scored his 12th point of the game with a driving layup to put the Magic up by four. The Magic proceeded then to score four more unanswered points, all coming from the free throw line. The game then slowed down considerably, as both teams failed to score any points for two minutes, the C's turning the ball over twice during this period.
As the third headed towards the final few minutes Boston managed to tie the game up at 60, but Orlando forced another scoring run, this time quickly putting themselves up by four. The final minute of the quarter got a little scrappy, with both teams trading points from the free throw line. The Celtics though snatched the lead once again when Abromaitis made a three-point shot to put the C's up 71-70 heading into the final quarter.
Orlando made a flying start to the fourth, going on another scoring run, this time netting eight unanswered points to put them back in front. Mitchell scored a slam dunk that brought the Celtics back within one point with six minutes left, but Orlando shut down the C's offense for the next few minutes as they extended their lead back to seven. Boston tried to fight back, but Orlando managed to hang onto their lead to secure a 95-88 victory.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 25 points during 26 minutes on court. Olynyk also grabbed seven rebounds, while Fab Melo lead the team with eight.
The Celtics will now play their second game of the Summer League on Monday afternoon against the Detroit Pistons.