Matchup Preview: Orlando Magic vs Boston Celtics


Over the next month, we’ll be talking with a variety of people who cover each NBA team to find out a little bit about their team, and how they expect the season to go. We’ll also find out what they believe will be the most intriguing matchup when the two team’s meet during the regular season. Continuing with the Atlantic Division, we look at the rebuilding Boston Celtics. Tom Westerholm of CelticsHub joins us. You should follow Tom for some great Celtics coverage on twitter @Tom_NBA. 

Game Dates

Wednesday, December 17th @ Boston 

Tuesday, December 23rd @ Orlando 

Sunday, March 8th @ Orlando 

Friday, March 13th @ Boston 

Last Season: 25-57; Finished 12th in Eastern Conference 

November 8th: Orlando 89 Boston 91 

November 11th: Boston 120 Orlando 105 

January 19th: Orlando 93 Boston 91 

February 2nd: Boston 96 Orlando 89 

Projected Starters 

Point Guard: Rajon Rondo

Shooting Guard: Avery Bradley 

Small Forward: Jeff Green

Power Forward: Brandon Bass

Center: Kelly Olynyk 

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) is interviewed after being selected as the number six overall pick to the Boston Celtics in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Q: What do you think we can expect to see from Marcus Smart this season? 

Anybody who saw Smart in Orlando saw essentially what we expected from his scouting reports: a strong defender built — as MassLive’s Jay King put it — like a club bouncer who can get to the rim but struggles at times with his jumper. I suspect Smart’s rookie season will look a lot like his Summer League in that he’ll have flashes of brilliance (ie. a brilliant defensive game against a top player, or a 20-plus points on 5-for-9 from 3-point range game) along with stretches of less-than-inspiring 2-for-9ish games from the field. Celtics fans will overreact to the 20-plus point games, while non-Celtics fans will pull back too far in the other direction. Rinse, repeat.

In essence, I expect Smart to be Jared Sullinger.

Mar 28, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles out of his own half against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Celtics 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Q: It seems like Rajon Rondo has been getting traded for the past six years. Is this the year they finally move him? If they do, what kind of package do you see them trying to get for him?

A: I still play 2K13 because I’m broke and video games cost money, and last night in Association mode I tried to tear down Boston’s Pierce/Garnett/Rondo roster in a way that made sense. I drafted a stud point guard so that I could move Rondo, but after about an hour of frustratedly flipping through offers like “Thad Young and Lavoy Allen,” I gave up on trading him, deciding that finding a fair deal for him on my own wasn’t worth it.

Then the Trail Blazers offered me LaMarcus Aldridge and a pick for Rondo and Sullinger, which was a no-brainer.

I think Danny Ainge is looking for his no-brainer. I don’t think he’ll trade Rondo until he sees exactly what he’s looking for, and he’s content to make Rondo an offer in free agency/let him walk if he needs to. I don’t think he knows exactly what no-brainer he wants, but he’ll know it if it comes across his desk, and if it does, he’ll definitely pull the trigger.

That doesn’t really answer your question, but I don’t think there technically is an answer, so it’ll have to do.

Q: What’s one matchup you’ll be watching when the Magic and Celtics meet this season?

A: Gerald Wallace vs. Ben Gordon. 2009 FOREVER.

Q: What kind of expectations should the Celtics have this season? Are they bound for another trip to the lottery?

A: Yes, a million times yes. This team is not going to be good, and in some ways, I almost wonder if they’ll be worse than last year. Even good rookies don’t generally generate a ton of wins, and as weird as this sounds, Kris Humphries had a hugely positive impact for Boston last season. Rondo will be back and healthier but there’s a good chance that either A) he is committed to the Celtics long-term, meaning he understands the importance of losing in the short-term or B) he isn’t committed to the Celtics long-term and will be traded soon anyway.

One way or the other, Boston isn’t going to the playoffs. They’ll be better than Philadelphia, but I’m not really sure who else. (Ed Note: Is being better than Philly really something to be proud of?)