Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/1/13
By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange BOSTON -- The short-handed Celtics won their third straight game Friday night, cruising to a 97-84 victory over the woeful Magic. Five days after he and his team learned Rajon Rondo would be lost for the season, rookie Jared Sullinger underwent back surgery and also will be lost for the year. But after beating Miami in double overtime Sunday, the Celtics have disposed of two weak opponents and the three-game winning streak, coming on the heels of losing six in a row, has Boston back to .500 at 23-23. The Magic lost their eighth in a row, their 19th in the last 21 games; and the seventh straight to the Celtics. Orlando is 0-13 against the Atlantic Division. Boston's Paul Pierce scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds and seven assists in 29 minutes, while Jeff Green came off the bench to score 17 points. Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 10 rebounds and the Celtics had six players reach double figures for the second straight game. The Boston bench, up 89-54 in the previous two games, outscored its Orlando counterpart 43-25. Orlando made up ground in that area at garbage time, when the Magic cut a 23-point deficit down to the final score. J.J Redick had 15 points, Nikola Vucevic 14 points and 14 rebounds and rookie Andrew Nicholson 14 points and nine boards for the Magic. Orlando's Jameer Nelson left the game in the first half with a left forearm contusion and did not return. While the loss of Rondo was sudden and unexpected, the Celtics knew Sullinger had a back that could eventually need surgery; and the back is the reason he lasted until the 21st pick in the draft. "We knew this could happen," coach Doc Rivers said before the game. "We knew it a month before the draft that this could happen and at some point probably would happen. We were hoping it'd be a summer thing rather than the middle of the season, but it happened now. He was playing great. I think the good news is, we know he can play and we know he'll be a very good player. In the long run, this will make him healthier." The Celtics trailed by six in the first quarter, but used a 20-5 run bridging the quarters to go up by nine and they then led by 11 at halftime -- with their bench outscoring their Magic counterparts 20-2 in the half. The Magic closed their deficit to three with 5:04 left in the third quarter, but the Celtics used an 11-2 burst to regain control. The Celtics led by 13 after the third quarter. Boston then ran off six straight points to start the fourth quarter. NOTES: Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was noncommittal regarding possible roster moves going forward without Rondo and Sullinger: "I don't know any of that yet. I'm not sure. We have three weeks before the trade deadline ends, and we're trying to maintain flexibility. By that time, by the trade deadline date, we will have a full [15-man] roster, one way or another." Asked why Sullinger had surgery so soon, Ainge said, "He's just not going to be effective, managing the pain was not a good option for us the rest of this year. And the uncertainty. His age, youth; I think all those things are factors. It's tough because I feel like we are still a good team [even without Rondo]. [Losing Sullinger] was the tough blow. We'll just have to find a different way to win." ... Rondo was at the game on crutches. ... The Celtics rookie center Fab Melo, made his debut with 2:38 left to go in the game. Melo averaged 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game in 19 games in the Development League. ... The Magic continue their five-game road trip at Philadelphia Saturday night, while the Celtics host the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday. ... Garnett played in his 1,301st game, 13th all-time in the NBA. He needs three games to pass Elvin Hayes for 12th and eight to go by Buck Williams and into 11th. ... A broken foot suffered in New York Wednesday night kept Orlando's Glen Davis from making another return to Boston, where he began his NBA career. "Big Baby" is slated to miss eight-12 weeks after having surgery on Thursday. Broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn tweeted: "I think he put on a little weight. ... It's like we used to say, he's always one hamburger away from obscurity."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, pick

Budapest drops 2024 Olympic bid, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris, which could ban some participants

DeMarcus Cousins was ‘praying’ for a better supporting cast with Sacramento

Report: Nets trading Bojan Bogdanovic to Wizards

Elliott spoke with police after 'best friend' caught with gun

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jets reportedly believe Jay Cutler can compete in AFC East

Report: 'Melo could waive no-trade clause for Clippers after season

Rivers: Paul medically cleared to play, could return Thursday

Trea Turner missed part of Nats camp Wedneday for jury duty

Hernandez's prison calls to Pouncey could come up in trial

Josh Hamilton experiences pain in reconstructed knee, leaves camp

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker