BOSTON — This Boston Celtics rebuilding project would go much quicker if they could play more home games against the Orlando Magic.
Wednesday night, the Celtics cranked up their defense and beat the Magic for the eighth straight time at TD Garden, blowing open a close game in the fourth quarter to cruise to a 109-92 victory.
The Magic haven’t won at TD Garden since Feb. 7, 2010.
“We started to really defend,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said after his team shook off a slow defensive start, especially against center Nikola Vucevic, and never trailed in the second half.
Vucevic had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first quarter but was held to six points and five boards the rest of the way.
Guard Rajon Rondo had 15 assists and helped a balanced Boston attack as the Celtics (9-14) went 13 of 19 from the floor in the fourth quarter and won for the fifth time in eight games.
The Celtics used a 10-2 run in the fourth quarter to break the game open.
Rondo made a run at his fourth triple-double of the year, producing 13 points and seven rebounds as six Celtics scored in double figures. He did have six of his team’s 14 turnovers, but four of those came in the first quarter.
Forward Brandon Bass, coming off the bench, had 10 of his team-high 18 points in the final run. Forwards Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger both finished with 16 points.
“We just turned up the heat,” Sullinger said. “Everyone played one hell of game tonight.”
Big man Kelly Olynyk, coming off a career-high 30 points and nine rebounds in Monday night’s win at Philadelphia, contributed 15 points and six boards off the bench. Olynyk has 45 points and 15 rebounds on 18 of 25 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the last two games.
“Kelly really wants to be good,” said Stevens, pointing to the second-year man’s work ethic.
Backup point guard Phil Pressey was also a spark off the bench with a season-high nine points, four assists and two rebounds in 19 minutes. He was on the court with Rondo as the Celtics went small for the deciding spurt.
“I felt like Phil Pressey was really active and aggressive both on the ball handler and then away from the ball,” Stevens said.
The Magic, playing their league-high 19th road game, fell to 10-18 (7-12 on the road).
“Not our best effort tonight,” Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. “When I say effort I mean it just wasn’t a good day for us. Not our best game.
“We still have a long way to go and nights like this stare you right in the face and let you know that.”
Forward Tobias Harris scored 17 points as five Orlando players scored in double figures.
“Our defense was poor all night,” Harris said. “They were just scoring at will on us basically. It’s just something we got to work on; not going to beat teams if you don’t play defense, (and allow them to) score over a hundred points. It’s just a tough game to win.”
The Magic used a 10-0 run in just 1:17 to take an eight-point lead. The run grew to 14-2 and the lead was 10 with 4:44 left in the first half. But the Celtics outscored the visitors 19-6 in the final 4:31 to take a three-point lead at the break.
NOTES: Yahoo Sports reported the Celtics are becoming more interested in dealing G Rajon Rondo. Citing sources, the report said the asking price would be “pretty high, probably higher than most want to pay,” and that the focus is on moving the team captain to the Western Conference. The report also said the Celtics are shopping F Jeff Green, hoping to land a first-round draft pick. … Boston G Marcus Smart (Achilles) and G Marcus Thornton (calf) remained out. … Orlando rookie G Elfrid Payton was part of a pre-draft workout in Boston on June 13, with the Celtics owning the Nos. 6 and 17 picks in the draft. He went 10th to Philadelphia and was traded to Orlando. … The Magic practiced at Harvard on Tuesday. … Orlando, which has played more road games (19 of 28) than any team in the league, open a four-game homestand against the Utah Jazz on Friday. The Celtics host the Minnesota Timberwolves the same night.
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