Brown (34 pts, 10 3s) leads Celtics past Magic 112-96
By JIMMY GOLEN
BOSTON (AP) Jaylen Brown scored 34 points, including a career-high 10 3-pointers, and Jayson Tatum added 23 on Sunday to help the Boston Celtics beat the Orlando Magic 112-96 and snap a three-game losing streak.
The Celtics made 23 3-pointers in the game, one short of the franchise record. Brown was 10 for 18 from the distance and one short of Marcus Smart's team record of 11 for one player.
"I lost count at some point," Brown said. "I wish somebody would have told me that. I would have fired up five, six more to make sure I beat Marcus."
Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando, which beat Brooklyn on Friday night to snap a nine-game losing streak. The Magic cut a 23-point, third-quarter deficit to 91-83 early in the fourth before Boston scored 12 of the next 16 points - including a pair of 3-pointers by Brown.
"This team has been in a funk in some ways with that stuff, but that's not who they are," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "We've seen what they do when their backs are against the wall. We know that they compete. There's never been a question of that."
The Magic led by as many as five points in the first quarter and held a 40-37 lead with seven minutes left in the second before Brown made a pair of 3-pointers to spark an 11-2 run.
It was 50-46 Celtics in the final minute of the half before Tatum hit back-to-back 3s that gave Boston its first double-digit lead. Leading 56-49 early in the third, the Celtics scored 10 straight points to start a 19-5 run that made it a 21-point lead.
Boston made 20 of its first 40 3-point attempts before missing five in a row. It shot 23 of 54 from 3-point range in all.
"They shot the ball very, very well," Vucevic said. "But a lot of it was also because we didn't make it hard enough."
Magic: Orlando scored only 17 points in the second quarter. ... James Ennis scored a season-high 18 points in 21 minutes off the bench in his first game in almost a month (strained left calf). ... The Magic shot 38.1% from the field.
Celtics: Kemba Walker was tripped up and stayed on the floor for a bit, favoring his left knee, before heading to the bench. He checked back in later in the fourth. ... Smart, who had been on a minutes restriction since missing 18 games with a left calf strain, played 33 minutes for the second straight game. He had 11 points and eight assists. ... Tatum scored 19 in the first half, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
The Celtics, who made it to the conference finals last year, had been among the top teams in the East early on. But they had lost four of their last five and have gone 12-17 since mid-January.
"It takes teams time. Sometimes it comes quick. Sometimes it comes at different stages in the season, and some teams never get it," Stevens said. "The goal is to find your best version. ... We have to do it with all five on every possession at both ends of the floor."
It was the Celtics' last home game before the state opens large arenas to fans. In preparation for Thursday night's Boston Bruins game, the TD Garden has added signage and other markers to guide fans in social distancing.
Although there were no paid fans on Sunday, the public address announcer gave guidance on mask-wearing, exit procedure and staying in designated "neighborhoods." The Celtics are next at home on March 29 to play the New Orleans Pelicans.
Magic: Host Denver on Tuesday.
Celtics: Visit Memphis on Monday to start a four-game, three-city road trip.
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Updated March 21, 2021