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.

WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

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WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

Now THIS is old-time hockey!

There's bad blood between the Bruins' David Backes and the Stars' Jamie Benn that goes back a long way, most recently in last spring's Dallas-St. Louis playoff series when Backes was still with the Blues. They met again today -- and the ungodly (hockey) hour of 11:30 a.m. Dallas time -- for a nationally televised game between Backes' new team, the Bruins, and the Stars.

And it didn't take long for the two to renew acquaintances . . .

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.