Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Nov 24, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis (8) passes the ball against Orlando Magic center Goga Bitadze (35) in the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

In what was a continuation of last season, the Magic continued to be a a thorn in the Celtics’ side, this time with a 113-96 Black Friday win over the Green down in Orlando.

Led by a second-half charge that at one point included a 17-0 run, the Magic wiped out Boston’s eight-point halftime lead (which eventually ballooned out to 12) behind some downright incredible shooting.

After finishing the first half shooting just under 40 percent, the Magic came out guns blazing in the second half, with makes on 26 of their 42 attempts (a 61.9 field goal percentage), and drained six of their 15 tries from beyond the arc over that span. Over that same stretch in the second half, the Celtics shot a meager 27.8 percent, and got just two of their 15 tries from deep to fall. That’s never the recipe for a strong finish.

Mo Wagner led the way for Orlando, with 27 points on a 9-for-13 shooting performance, while Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 26 points in just under 39 minutes of action.

The defeat was Boston’s largest of the season, and it was also their first loss of the NBA’s in-season tournament. But the real news of the afternoon came on the Kristaps Porzingis front, as the big man left the loss with a calf injury.

  • Subbed out of the game for Luke Kornet midway through the third quarter with calf tightness, it didn’t take long for the Celtics to rule Porzingis out for the remainder of the afternoon.

    It was a devastating loss to the Celtics, as it not only opened the door for Orlando’s game-changing run, but it also left the C’s down a 7-foot-3 big who, to that point, had dropped nine points on 4-for-9 shooting, and collected four rebounds, two assists, and two steals, in 22:18 of action.

    It’s also just the latest scare with a player who’s full of ’em, and with an MRI on deck.

  • gary washburn on Twitter: "Kristaps Porzingis tells the Globe he'll have an MRI on his left calf to tomorrow but doesn't think the injury is too serious. Said he felt a tweak running the floor. Did not slip. #Celtics #Magic. / Twitter"

    Kristaps Porzingis tells the Globe he'll have an MRI on his left calf to tomorrow but doesn't think the injury is too serious. Said he felt a tweak running the floor. Did not slip. #Celtics #Magic.

    Of course, there’s something to be said for the fact that Porzingis himself doesn’t seem all that concerned with the upcoming MRI, and that he thinks he simply ‘tweaked’ something. But until the MRI comes back completely clean, and until Porzingis is back on the court, this is going to hang over the club.

    That’s nothing new for Porzingis, and even for Porzingis the Celtic, as everybody held their breath when a foot ailment forced Porzingis out of the 2023 FIBA World Cup and truly began his Celtics tenure with a question mark entering training camp. That proved to be much ado about nothing, and that’s the same hope here.

    Porzingis has already missed one game this season, though that was unrelated to his foot or his calf, as it was a right knee contusion that kept him out of action against the 76ers earlier this month.

  • Nov 24, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis (8) dribbles the ball against the Orlando Magic in the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 24, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Kristaps Porzingis (8) dribbles the ball against the Orlando Magic in the first quarter at Amway Center. (Jeremy Reper/USA TODAY Sports)

    No matter the diagnosis when it comes to Porzingis’ calf, be it a day-to-day kind of issue or something that will keep him out of action for a week or so, there’s no denying that the Latvian-born big has been everything the Celtics could’ve hoped for and more out of the gate this year.

    In action for 15 games this season, Porzingis is averaging 18.9 points per game, and is shooting a career-high 54.7 percent from the floor. He’s also shown some signs of developing some absolutely fantastic chemistry with fellow C’s superstar Jaylen Brown.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 17: Quentin Grimes #6 of the New York Knicks defends Jrue Holiday #4 of the Boston Celtics during the second half of the Celtic's preseason game against the New York Knicks at TD Garden on October 17, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 17: Quentin Grimes #6 defends Jrue Holiday #4 during the second half of the Celtics preseason game against the Knicks at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    In non-Porzingis injury news for the Celtics, Joe Mazzulla’s squad also played Friday’s loss to the Magic without guard Jrue Holiday available.

    Holiday was originally considered ‘probable’ for this contest, but received a late ‘doubtful’ downgrade. And speaking with reporters before the game, Mazzulla said that Holiday’s ankle ‘just wasn’t where it needed to be’ for the Celtics to play in this contest. Mazzulla also noted that he doesn’t believe that it’s going to be a long-term issue for Holiday, but that he didn’t want to speak for him.

    Holiday is averaging 12.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for the Celtics this season.

  • The Celtics will return to action Sunday night against the Hawks.

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