Game 40: Celtics vs. Magic

at TD Garden, 8 p.m. | TNT, WEEI (850 AM)

GAME PREVIEW (via Stats Inc.)

Kevin Garnett should be back in the lineup Monday night after missing nine games, just in time for the the Orlando Magic's first visit to TD Garden since losing in the Eastern Conference finals.

Garnett had a game-high 22 points in Orlando on Dec. 25, but nothing else went right as the Celtics (30-9) felt the absence of Rajon Rondo. Boston had a then-season-low 15 assists, shot 29.7 percent in the second half and blew a 10-point halftime lead in an 86-78 loss that snapped its 14-game winning streak.

Orlando (26-14) won despite a six-point, five-foul effort from Dwight Howard, as the Celtics did nothing to take advantage. They had just 24 points in the paint, including two from O'Neal, who fouled out in 10 minutes.

"There was no question they were using Shaq to try to get Dwight in foul trouble," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Orlando has won its last three visits to Boston in the regular season, and a victory Monday would allow it to wrap up its road trip at 3-2.

Down by 15 in the first quarter Saturday against Minnesota, the Magic controlled the final 36 minutes, with J.J. Redick and Jason Richardson each finishing with 21 points in a 108-99 win.

"J.J. has been playing well. He's always ready to play and so is Jason Richardson," Van Gundy said. "Those guys always play hard. You can count on their energy."

Read the full preview HERE.


  • NelsonNelsonDefending the 3-point line: The Celtics rank sixth in the NBA in opponent's 3-point field goal percentage (34.5 percent) and they'll need that to be stout against a Magic squad that leads the league in 3-point attempts (chucking 25 trifectas per game). The Celtics allowed Houston to connect on 10 of 20 3-pointers in a loss last Monday night, but tightened up against the Kings and Bobcats later in the week, as those two teams combined to go 5 of 22 beyond the arc.

  • Making the most of turnovers: The Magic rank near the bottom of the league in turnovers, giving up the ball 15.1 times per game and their turnover rate of 14.5 percent is third worst in the East. Boston forced 17 turnovers on Christmas Day, but settled for a measly eight points off of them. By comparison, the Celtics committed 13 turnovers during the holiday battle, leading to 18 points for the Magic.

  • RedickRedickKeeping an eye on J.J.: Orlando has won the last two regular-season meetings against Boston and Redick scored 11 points each time, chipping in a pair of 3-pointers in each game. What's more, Redick has had a flare for late-game big shot and Boston needs to keep an eye on him if Monday's game is close in the fourth quarter.