Not even 48 hours have passed since the Celtics crushing loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but the Green still must lace 'em up again to take on another formidable foe, and one who knows them as well as anybody at that. The Orlando Magic invade the TD Garden Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. EST for another installment in the growing rivalry between these two franchises.
On Friday night, the Celts led the Mavs 97-91 with under three minutes remaining only to go down in flames disguised as a 10-0 Dallas run that ended the game and sent the Mavs off with a 101-97 victory. With the loss came a ton of missed opportunities as the Celts missed several open looks over those final three minutes before finally being finished by a Jason Kidd three-pointer with 2.5 seconds left to play.
Ray Allen led the Celts with 24 points against Dallas and is now just five three-pointers shy of Reggie Miller's all-time record, while Kendrick Perkins returned to the starting lineup in the absence of Shaquille O'Neal and provided 13 points and 12 rebounds
Perkins will be faced with the task of guarding Orlando monster Dwight Howard this afternoon. Howard scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 109-106 loss at the Garden on Jan. 17, and is averaging 25 points and 16 boards in his last five games. Overall, the Magic are 6-4 in their 10 games since that meeting with the C's on Martin Luther King Day and have fallen to fifth overall in the Eastern Conference standings behind the Celts, Miami, Chicago and Atlanta. They're even in the season series with the C's thus far this year, winning at home on Christmas Day, 86-78.
The Celtics (37-12) are still tops in the Eastern Conference, are 22-4 at home and have lost back-to-back games only three times all season. They host the Magic (32-19) Sunday at 2:30 p.m. EST, on ABC.