Celtics rout Magic, 87-56, thanks to stingy defense

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Celtics rout Magic, 87-56, thanks to stingy defense

BOSTON It doesn't make any sense.

No starting backcourt. Down three of your top reserves.

Facing an Orlando Magic team that's among the top teams in the NBA this season, and is led by the most dominant inside force in the game, Dwight Howard.

So what do the Celtics do?

Blow them out, of course.

In what may be one of the NBA's biggest upsets of the season - not only because of the outcome, but the lopsided nature it came about - the Celtics had a shockingly easy go of things in beating the Magic, 87-56.

For Boston (7-9), it was their second straight win, and third in their last four games. More important, it was the Celtics' first win over a team with a winning record.

Setting the tone on Monday, just like he did in Sunday's win at Washington, was Paul Pierce.

His ability to score while creating scoring opportunities for his teammates, gave the Magic problems all game.

Pierce finished with 19 points, sharing game-high scoring honors with Brandon Bass.

Defensively, Boston had statistically maybe their greatest game in franchise history, holding the Magic to just 24.6-percent from the field -- the second-lowest opponent field goal percentage allowed ever by the C's. Not coincidentally, the Magic's 56 points was a franchise worst (previously 57), and tied a Celtics franchise-best for points allowed in the shot clock era. Magic Superstar Dwight Howard had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic (11-5), but on 4-15 shooting.

In addition to Pierce, it was clear from the outset that the C's were the aggressor, the team that was on the attack.

Avery Bradley, making his third straight start for Rajon Rondo at the point, went into Honey Badger mode defensively in locking down Jameer Nelson which included stripping him, forcing a backcourt violation and blocking one of his shots.

Former Celtic Glen Davis made his first appearance at the TD Garden since the sign-and-trade that sent him (and Von Wafer) to Orlando, for Bass.

Davis had a Davis-like game, finishing with six points and nine rebounds. Bass had an even better game for the Celtics, scoring 19 off the bench to go with eight rebounds.

Figuring out the key to Boston's success was clear: it was their defense. Orlando, which came into the game as the 11th-best shooting team from the field this season, was off - way off - all night.

At the half, Orlando was shooting a frigid 28.9 percent from the field and the second half was just as bad.

Fridays' Patriots-Ravens practice report: Richards returns to the field

Fridays' Patriots-Ravens practice report: Richards returns to the field

Friday's practice participation/injury report for Monday night's Patriots-Ravens game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
TE Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder)
DB Jordan Richards (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (hamstring)
DB Eric Rowe (hamstring)
WR/SpT Matthew Slater (foot)

BALTIMORE RAVENS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Crockett Gilmore (thigh)
LB Terrell Suggs (not injury related)
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh)
C Jeremy Zuttah (not injury related)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
G Alex Lewis (ankle)

FULL PARTICIPATION
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.