Celtics-Magic review: What we saw

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Celtics-Magic review: What we saw

BOSTON Who would have thought no Rajon Rondo (wrist), Ray Allen (ankle) or three key reserves, would somehow equate to the Boston Celtics most impressive win of the season, an 87-56 blowout against Orlando. While many were expecting the game to be a blowout, few would have anticipated it being so lopsided in favor of the injury-riddled Celtics?

To win a game like that so emphatically, a lot has to go right.

We'll take a look at the keys we outlined prior to the game, and how those keys played out in the game's outcome.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Three-point shooting should be a major factor in tonight's game, with the Celtics and the Magic ranking No. 1 and 2, respectively, in 3-point shooting percentage. However, the C's will be significantly challenged in that are with their best 3-point shooter, Ray Allen, out with an ankle injury.

WHAT WE SAW: The 3-ball was not nearly as big a game-changer for either team, on Monday. Orlando connected on just four of its 16 3-point attempts. The Celtics were even worse, misfiring on 11 of their 13 3-pointers.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs. Ryan Anderson. You've got the perennial all-star battling the all-star wannabe right here. Garnett is coming off a solid game at Washington, but Anderson is coming in with what has been a breakout season for the fourth year pro. He's averaging 17.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game which has been a big part of Orlando's impressive start to this season.

WHAT WE SAW: This was Anderson's moment to shine. Instead, he shrunk like a worm in salt water. Not only did he not come close to matching his season averages, he didn't even score or grab a single rebound in 23-plus minutes. Meanwhile, Garnett was part of the three-headed monster (Jermaine O'Neal and Greg Stiemsma were the other heads) charged with trying to limit Dwight Howard. Garnett did a solid job on him, and even managed to chip in 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Paul Pierce. He's coming off a huge 34-point, 10-assist, 8-rebound night at Washington. With so many Celtics out of the lineup, Pierce might have to be even better than that just for the Celtics to have a fighting chance.

WHAT WE SAW: Pierce wasn't as good statistically on Monday as he was on Sunday, but his ability to fill up the stat sheet didn't go unnoticed. He shared game-high scoring honors of 19 points, with teammate Brandon Bass. Pierce also managed to dish out seven assists to go with five rebounds.

STAT TO TRACK: Tonight's game features the NBA's active leaders in 20-point, 20-rebound games. No. 1 on the list is Dwight Howard, who has 37. Behind him is Kevin Garnett, who has 27. Howard's chances of getting another one tonight? Very good. KG? Not so much.
WHAT WE SAW: Neither player came within striking distance of adding to their 2020 resumes, but both provided a much-needed lift for their respective teams. Howard had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic while Garnett chipped in with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Royer's late goal rallies Red Bulls past Revolution, 2-1

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Royer's late goal rallies Red Bulls past Revolution, 2-1

HARRISON, N.J. - Daniel Royer finished a nice sequence in the 74th minute, Luis Robles made a diving save in the closing minutes and the New York Red Bulls rallied to beat the New England Revolution 2-1 on Saturday night.

Felipe sent the ball left to Kemar Lawrence alongside the box and he put a cross to Royer on the back post for an easy finish on his fourth goal.

Robles, who only allowed Lee Nguyen's penalty kick in the ninth minute, preserved the win with his fourth save, diving to his left to block Diego Fagundez's shot from outside the box.

Bradley Wright-Phillips tied it for New York (6-6-2), which was winless in its last four matches, when he pounced on a loose ball and backheeled it into the net. New England goalkeeper Cody Cropper had pounced on a cross by Kemar Lawance, but Cropper could hold on and Wright-Phillips was there to clean up for his sixth goal.

Damien Perrinelle fouled Fagundez in the penalty area after a great pass from Kei Kamara, allowing Nguyen to step up for his sixth goal. New England (4-5-4) had won two straight and lost just one of its previous six. It is 0-5-2 on the road.

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.