Celtics take down the Magic, 91-80

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Celtics take down the Magic, 91-80

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Sometimes the greatest inspiration comes about in moments of tragedy.

We saw that on Sunday afternoon.

The Boston Celtics showed no signs of life against the Orlando Magic until one of their own, Marquis Daniels, went down because of a neck injury.

As he laid motionless, face-down on the floor, his teammates slowly gathered nearby, one by one to offer support.

In a season in which the Celtics have been challenged in so many ways on and off the court, here was yet another moment in which that tougher-than-teflon bond that Celtics players talk about, was put to the test.

And once again, they collectively rose to the occasion in rallying for a 91-80 win over Orlando.

Rajon Rondo led the way with a season-high 26 points, to go with game-high seven assists.

But maybe the biggest assist of the night came from Daniels, whose injury seemed to light a fuse in his teammates.

Paul Pierce has seen plenty of teams go into a funk when a teammate goes down, essentially using that as an excuse to lose.

But the Celtics once again proved they're mental make-up is different from most teams.

"I think we kind of fed off Daniels' injury," Pierce said. "It was kind of like, 'Let's do this for 'Quis.' I was on the bench at the time, but it was like our energy went up. That's what started the run."

With the victory, Boston (38-12) has now won the head-to-head series with the Magic, a nice little card to have in hand in case these two finish with an identical record.

For Orlando (32-20), it was another loss that draws the Magic closer to the middle of the Eastern Conference pack, and pads even more distance between them and the top teams in the East like Boston, Miami and Chicago.

Of course, the Magic were short-handed without power forward Brandon Bass, who is out because of an ankle injury.

But the last team with whom you can have a pity party when it comes to injuries, is the Celtics.

Even before Daniels' injury, it, appeared the Celtics were going to have to finish out Sunday's game with fewer players than they began it with.

Glen Davis suffered a head bruise in the second half, and appeared as though he might not be able to return.

After heading back to the locker room in the second quarter for further examination, he was deemed fit enough to return and was on the floor in the second half.

Prior to the game, coach Doc Rivers told CSNNE.com that Shaquille O'Neal (right Achilles tendon) would not play on Sunday. Rivers later told a group of reporters that O'Neal might be sidelined until the All-Star break.

Even with all the banged up bodies, the Celtics refused to let Sunday's game get away from them.

And when all was said and done, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was once again placing the blame for his team's struggles squarely upon himself.

"I just could not find anything for us to run to get a decent shot," Van Gundy said. "I didn't know who to play, I really did a poor job today."

Orlando, one of the NBA's better 3-point shooting teams, missed 21 of its 24 3-point attempts.

When the Magic struggle like that from the perimeter, that puts their chances of winning squarely upon the broad shoulders of Dwight Howard.

He did his part, scoring a game-high 28 points to go with 13 rebounds.

The C's had no problem with Howard having a big night offensively.

"We felt Dwight couldn't beat us by himself," Pierce said.

And as it turned out, the C's probably could not have beaten the Magic without Daniels' injury providing a much-needed emotional lift.

"We're happy that he's OK. He probably gave us a spark," Pierce said. "Thanks, 'Quis."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtic draftees make first foray into community with presentation to Ohrenberger School

Celtic draftees make first foray into community with presentation to Ohrenberger School

WEST ROXBURY, Mass.  -- It was the last day of school for some band students at Ohrenberger School, many of whom were packed inside the gym eagerly awaiting the four newest members of the Boston Celtics basketball family. 
 
As eager as the students were to finish off the school year, for the Celtics rookies Wednesday’s appearance to unveil the school’s revamped “Music Zone” was just the beginning of their time with the Celtics.
 
Getting into the community has become an annual rite of passage for incoming Celtic rookies, with Wednesday’s event being part of the seventh annual Players’ Choice Grant.
 
The four-pack of Celts was headlined by Jayson Tatum, who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick. Joining him were second-round picks Semi Ojeleye, Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird.
 
“Working with the kids is always fun,” Tatum said. 
 
The charitable arm of the Celtics, the Shamrock Foundation, provided a $50,000 grant to a charity that was chosen by the players from the 2016-17 season.
 
Players were greeted by a gym full of middle schoolers who conducted a question-and-answer session with the players, with some students coming away with a basketball signed by all the players. 
 
“I really enjoyed getting to know the fans, the kids,” said Jabari Bird, who was drafted by the Celtics with the 57th overall pick out of Cal.
 
The “Music Zone” received 17 new MacBooks which contained musical software, with several instruments, a portable stage and additional furniture.

Report: Celtics expected to part ways with Kelly Olynyk

Report: Celtics expected to part ways with Kelly Olynyk

With the Celtics clearing the way to make a run at big names such as Paul George and Gordon Hayward, there will inevitably be salary-cap casualties.

But we'll always have Game 7 against the Wizards, Kelly Olynyk.

Olynyk, 26, averaged nine points and 4.8 rebounds last season, and will forever be remembered for his astonishing 10-for-14 shooting performance off the bench when he scored 26 points in the second-round series clincher over Washington at TD Garden.

After four seasons in Boston, the 7-footer and former first-round pick from Gonzaga is currently a restricted free agent and would surely turn down a Celtics' qualifying offer of a little more than $4 million. Until the C's renounce his rights, he counts for $7.7 million against the cap. 

That's money the Boston will need in its pursuit of George and Hayward. So, it's so long, Kelly O.