Boston Celtics

Celtics-Magic preview: Celtics on the rebound - literally

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Celtics-Magic preview: Celtics on the rebound - literally

BOSTON For years, rebounding has been one of the many challenges facing the Boston Celtics.

This year has been no exception.

But there are clear signs that the C's rebounding is well, on the rebound.

With Rajon Rondo out for the season, rebounding becomes more of a necessity for the Celtics to jump-start an offense that has put a greater emphasis on getting out in transition.

Although it is a very small sample, the two games since Rondo's season-ending torn right ACL injury, have produced some decent rebounding numbers for Boston.

According to NBA.com, the C's rank 13th in rebounds in the two games. That's a major jump from the Celtics' next-to-last rebounding status in the league this season.

Even before Rondo went down, the C's were on the rise rebounding-wise.

In fact, the Celtics are the league's top defensive rebounding team (35.8) over the last five games according to NBA.com.

And that will be a major factor against Orlando tonight, a team that has lost 18 of 19 games this season in which opponents had more defensive rebounds.

Here are some other keys as the Celtics look for their third straight win and in the process extend what has been a miserable season for a Magic team that has now dropped 18 of its last 20 games.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Boston will try to get out and run early and often, something that worked out quite well in Boston's win over Sacramento on Wednesday.

That might be easier said than done against Orlando.

Despite what has been just a miserable season for the Magic, they have actually done a decent job with their transition defense. They come into tonight's game giving up 12.5 fast-break points per game which ranks 8th in the league.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Avery Bradley vs Jameer Nelson: A Bradley highlight reel wouldn't be complete if it didn't have at least a few clips of a flustered Nelson in it. Bradley's transformation into an on-the-ball defensive monster began about a year ago, with Nelson serving as Bradley's first victim of note.

PLAYER TO WATCH: No question it has to be J.J. Redick who for weeks was considered a player of interest to the Boston Celtics. A free agent this summer, Redick has been one of the few bright spots for Orlando this season. He's averaging a career-high 15.3 points while shooting 46 percent from the field and 40.5 percent on 3s.

STAT TO TRACK: Even without Rondo, it's important for the Celtics to continue racking up the assists. This season, the C's are just 2-17 in games in which their opponent tallies more assists.

Celtics Storylines: Four factors that will impact ball movement

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Celtics Storylines: Four factors that will impact ball movement

Since Brad Stevens arrived in Boston, sharing the ball has been a strength of the Celtics. But this is a different season and a different roster.

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Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

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Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

As the controversy raged Saturday over President Donald Trump's tweet rescinding the White House invitation to Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry, a tweeted photo recalling a simpler time for sports team's presidential visits appeared. 

The nostalgic Twitter account @the_60s_at_50 posted a photo from the Celtics' visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and its principal occupant, John F. Kennedy, on Jan. 31, 1963. JFK had invited his hometown NBA team into the Oval Office for what seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment visit.

A newspaper account of the visit was also posted. The defending NBA champion Celtics were in the Washington area to play the Cincinnati Royals at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House that night and had been taking a tour of the White House when Kennedy invited them in. 

All the team members were there except for star center Bill Russell, who, of course, experienced incidents of racism in Boston that were well-documented. However, Russell's absence was blamed on him oversleeping. His teammates said they didn't know they would meet Kennedy on the tour.  

And yes, that's Celtics legend - and CSN's own - Tommy Heinsohn second from right. Coach Red Auerbach is next to the President on the left, Bob Cousy is next to Auerbach and John Havlicek is the first player in the second row on the left.