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Christmas Day: Boston Celtics @ Orlando Magic


After finally snapping their four game losing skid with a 123-101 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, the Magic have to face what could very well be an even tougher test when they take on the Boston Celtics Saturday afternoon.

The two teams met on Christmas last year with the Celtics winning 86-77.

The Magic are 40-43 against the Celtics all time in the regular season but have won 13 of the last 20 meetings, including a 3-1 series win last season. They’ve defeated the Celtics in 8 of their last 10 meetings in Orlando. They are also 9-8 against Boston in the postseason. The Magic defeated the Celtics in seven games to reach the 2009 Eastern Conference Championship.

Despite that recent success, it’s the Magic who are looking for revenge since the Celtics defeated the Magic in six games to win the 2010 Eastern Conference Championship.

The Magic ended San Antonio’s 10-game winning streak Thursday and will attempt to end Boston’s win streak Saturday. Boston extended that streak to 14 with an 84-80 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night to improve their record to an Eastern Conference-best 23-4. Before winning Thursday, the Magic lost eight of their last nine games and are just 17-12.

The game will be shown nationally by ABC. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

Tip off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 2:30 pm EST.

The Line: Orlando – 2.5


Boston Celtics

Shaquille O’Neal
Kevin Garnett
Paul Pierce
Ray Allen
Nate Robinson

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Brandon Bass
Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

The officials will be Bob Delaney, Matt Boland and Marat Kogut.

Opponent To Watch: Glen Davis, F – Big Baby has become of the most solid backup bigs in the league and is averaging 11.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season. Usually, a more prominent player is place here but my colleague Brian Serra suggested Davis and with good reason – the Magic are really lacking depth up the front. The return of Ryan Anderson should help the Magic to somewhat slow the Celtics big men but if any of the three bigs in the rotation (Anderson, Brandon Bass and Dwight Howard) get into a foul trouble, it could be a big day for Big Baby.

What To Watch For: These two teams have developed a nice rivalry over the past couple of seasons. Both have been elite teams, have played each other in each of the last two postseasons and have combined to win the last three Eastern Conference Championships. With Rajon Rondo out with an ankle injury, it’s going to be up to Jameer Nelson and Gilbert Arenas to take advantage of Nate Robinson. Dwight Howard showed a lot of improvement against the Celtics in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals and will have to continue that improvement if the Magic want to win Saturday.

The new-look Magic could present some problems for the Celtics. Celtics Forward Paul Pierce told the Orlando Sentinel Hedo Turkoglu is one of his most difficult matchups.

"“Hedo is going to be great for ’em because he already knows the players, he knows the system, he knows the coaches,” said Boston small forward Paul Pierce.“I’ve always said he’s one of the more difficult matchups for me, personally, at that position because of the way he shoots the ball, the way he handles and play-makes. And it doesn’t hurt for him to be 6-10, so it’s hard for me to get to his shot.”"

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days ( and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).