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Monday, February 8, 2010

The Celtics can't beat good teams, simple as that

Remember when the Celtics consistently beat the NBA's best teams? On the road, at home, back-to-back, it didn't matter.

Times have changed as the Celts are still a good team but right now, nobody can say that they're great.

Thanks to a coma in the third quarter (36-11), Boston (32-17) choked away an 11-point halftime lead and lost to the Orlando Magic (34-17) 96-89 yesterday afternoon at the TD Garden.

That wrapped up the season series with the Magic taking it 3-1. Overall, the Celtics are 1-7 against Orlando and Atlanta this season, two teams they are very likely to see in the playoffs.

Vince Carter led Orlando with 20 points and Dwight Howard battled foul trouble but still managed 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jameer Nelson had 15 points, Rashard Lewis scored 14 points and Matt Barnes added 11 points.

Rajon Rondo nearly had a triple double with 17 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and three steals. Ray Allen added 14 points, Kevin Garnett had 13 points and nine rebounds while Paul Pierce scored 13 after missing the last two games.

Key reserve Marquis Daniels after missing just over two months of action and scored eight points off the bench.

Boston led 24-23 after the first quarter and 51-40 at halftime in one of their best halves of the season. Of course, they juxtaposed this with their usual third quarter/second half meltdown.

The C's outscored the Magic 27-20 in the fourth and cut it down to five points but it was too late. A 19-0 Orlando run in the third quarter, thanks to some great outside shooting, put them in control for the rest of the contest.

Boston has one more game before the All-Star break as they travel to New Orleans (good timing) on Wednesday night to play the Hornets minus star point guard Chris Paul.

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