Orlando Magic Grades: Boston Celtics 109, Orlando Magic 98

Kemba Walker caught fire in the second quarter and tortured the Orlando Magic again. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kemba Walker caught fire in the second quarter and tortured the Orlando Magic again. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic were unable to slow down Kemba Walker, giving up a 16-point lead in the first half. They struggled to keep up with the Boston Celtics.

18. 98. 38. Final. 109

The Orlando Magic needed a timeout to get themselves right. The Boston Celtics ransacked their defense through the first six minutes of the first quarter. The team was making the same mistakes that destroyed them in Wednesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They needed to snap back to attention.

For much of the rest of the first quarter and second quarter they did. The ball zipped around the perimeter to the open man and into the paint. Khem Birch attacked the offensive glass to create second-chance opportunities. The defense flew around and challenged shots, keeping the Celtics from getting anything going.

Orlando opened up a 16-point lead. All seemed right. The Magic seemed like they had found their rhythm and had beaten back whatever was ailing them.

Then Orlando’s old nemesis started to take hold. Kemba Walker has made it his mission it seems to make the Magic’s life hard whenever he steps on the floor against them. He drove Markelle Fultz right into the screen and had space to pull-up for three or attack a retreating Nikola Vucevic.

After scoring 19 of Boston’s 29 points in the second quarter, Boston had erased that deficit and found its footing again.

The Celtics started playing more physically, frustrating and slowing the Magic’s defense down. Boston had Orlando right where it wanted playing its game.

The Celtics erased that deficit and did a whole lot more, dominating the rest of the game for a 109-98 win at the Amway Center on Friday. Orlando never found its footing again, missing a slew of open shots, forcing shots to try to kickstart things and struggling to break the Celtics’ physical hold on the game.

Boston turned every mistake into an opportunity, leaking out and beating Orlando to every loose ball. the Magic simply could not create any offense to make up for it. Their brief spurt in the second quarter to build that lead dissipating quickly.

The defense just was not able to reel the Celtics back in. Walker got where he wanted. Even when the Magic started changing their defensive schemes to try to put more pressure on him, he got where he wanted and got to his spots, feeding others with ease.

Orlando never matched and never kept up.

Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. F. <a href=. C

B-. No one will question <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

C-. If Evan Fournier was a player who was taking some poor shots and making them, <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. TERRENCE ROSS

C-. <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. MARKELLE FULTZ

A. The Boston Celtics were undermanned playing without Jaylen Brown and <a href=. 30-14. 4th East. BOSTON CELTICS

The Orlando Magic are 21-25 and seventh in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. They are four games ahead of the Detroit Pistons for the final spot in the playoffs.

Next. 5 questions for the Orlando Magic's third quarter. dark

The Orlando Magic return to action Sunday at the Amway Center against the LA Clippers.