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5 things we learned in ugly Celtics win over Magic 03.13.15 at 10:07 pm ET
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Phil Pressey

Phil Pressey

Well, that’€™s one way to follow up your best win of the season.

In what might have been the ugliest basketball game of the NBA season, the Celtics narrowly defeated the Orlando Magic 95-88 Friday night at the TD Garden. The Celtics (28-36) trailed by 10 entering the second half, but took the lead in the closing minutes. Evan Turner was unstoppable down the stretch, scoring 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter.

With the win, the Celtics remain one game back of the Charlotte Hornets (29-35) for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. On Saturday, the Celtics travel to Indiana to play the Pacers (30-34), who have won their past seven games and nine of their last 10. Indiana is currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

Elfird Payton led the Magic (21-46) with 20 points and nine assists on Friday, while Nikola Vucevic had a double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds) in the loss. For the Celtics, Phil Pressey added a double-double, dishing out 10 assists and scoring 10 points.

For a complete box score, click here.

EVAN TURNER‘€™S AMAZING FOURTH QUARTER

After missing his first five attempts, Evan Turner made all six of his fourth-quarter shots. Turner scored 16 points, including the go-ahead jumper with two minutes left in the game. The much-maligned small forward was clearly in some sort of mythical zone, attempting and making a number of high-difficulty shots, including this impressive three-point play.

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5 things we learned as Celtics execute upset of Grizzlies 03.11.15 at 10:10 pm ET
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There was no more room for moral victories.

As was the case against the Golden State Warriors two weeks ago, the Celtics played inspired basketball against the Western Conference elite, only to lose their hold on the lead in the final minutes versus the Memphis Grizzlies.

Only this time the C’s made shot after shot in the waning moments to pull out a thrilling 95-92 victory they desperately needed to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race. In the final 1:40, Jae Crowder made a game-tying 3-pointer, Marcus Smart converted an alley-oop-and-one to grab a one-point lead, Tyler Zeller pulled down a defensive rebound between Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph before converting a pair of free throws for a three-point advantage, and Avery Bradley sank a step-back jumper over the league’s 2013 Defensive Player of the Year to seal the deal. It was a remarkable combination of effort and execution.

The win keeps the Celtics (27-36) within striking distance of the Miami Heat (29-35) for the East’s eighth playoff seed with three games against the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers in four nights starting Friday. On Wednesday, Bradley led five Celtics in double figures with 17 points. Jae Crowder netted 16 points and Kelly Olynyk dropped 15 while Brandon Bass and Tyler Zeller added 12 apiece.

For a complete box score, click here.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA
5 things we learned as Celtics show right kind of fight in win over Heat 03.09.15 at 10:14 pm ET
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This time the Celtics showed they could take a punch.

Isaiah Thomas scored a team-high 25 points off the bench, including 12 in the final quarter, while Brandon Bass added 14 as the Celtics closed out strong in a 100-90 road win over the Miami Heat in a critical matchup for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics improved to 26-36 while the Heat fell to 28-35. With Charlotte (28-34) getting blown out at home by Washington, 95-69, the Celtics now trail Charlotte and Indiana by just two games for the final two spots in the East. Miami, led by Dwyane Wade‘s 34 points, is now just a half-game ahead of Boston for ninth place.

A day after one of their key players lost his composure in a brutal loss to the lowly Orlando Magic, the Celtics enjoyed the flip side Monday night.

Heat big man Hassan Whiteside threw a elbow to the back of Kelly Olynyk as Olynyk was trying to get in position for a defensive rebound late in the third quarter and was ejected, like Marcus Smart was the night before in Orlando.

The ejection was the part of a key 15-1 run by the Celtics at the end of the quarter that gave the Celtics a 73-64 lead heading into the final quarter.

Evan Turner and Henry Walker exchanged shoves with 26 seconds left in the game and both were ejected. The shoves were very mild but the officials took no chances as the game was in hand. The Celtics take two of three on the road trip and now play host to Memphis Wednesday night at TD Garden.

For a complete box score, click here.

ANOTHER GOOD START 

The Celtics raced out to a 24-19 lead after 12 minutes thanks to good defense. As was the case the night before in Orlando, the Celtics showed the ability to defend in the paint, holding the Heat to 9-of-21 shooting from the floor.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Miami Heat
5 things we learned as Magic hurt Celtics’ playoff chances 03.08.15 at 8:33 pm ET
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Playoff teams beat the Orlando Magic. The Celtics do not look like a playoff team.

Favored to win, the C’s squandered a 20-point, first-half lead to the host Magic in a 103-98 loss. The defeat drops the Celtics (25-36) 2.5 games behind the Pacers (28-34) and Heat (28-34) for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The C’s visit Miami in a game with huge playoff implications on Monday night.

In Sunday night’s loss, Isaiah Thomas scored a team-high 21 points, shooting 8-of-10 from the line while also dishing out eight assists. Brandon Bass notched a double-double (19 points, 17 rebounds), and Marcus Smart added 16 points on 6-of-16 from the field.

Victor Oladipo, who scored 70 points in his previous two games, led Orlando (21-43) with 22 points, including 15 in the second half. Rookie Elfrid Payton approached a triple-double, collecting 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. And journeyman center Dewayne Dedmon logged a double-double (11 points, 16 rebounds) in the absence of Nikola Vucevic (left ankle injury).

For a complete box score, click here.

DEFENSE SHINES EARLY

The Celtics played outstanding defense in the first quarter, holding the Magic to just 17 points on 6-of-21 shooting (29 percent). Smart and Jae Crowder led the way, harassing Orlando’s ball-handlers on the exterior, switching on the majority of picks, and forcing seven turnovers. The C’€™s also did a great job of getting out in transition, turning their defense into easy scoring opportunities.

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5 things we learned as Celtics beat Anthony Davis’ Pelicans 03.06.15 at 10:41 pm ET
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The Celtics defeated the Pelicans 104-98 on Friday night. After a close three quarters, the C’€™s pulled away in the final frame. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 27 points, while Brandon Bass and Evan Tuner added 17 and 16 points, respectively.

The Celtics improved to 25-35 and trail the eighth-place Pacers (27-34) by just one game in the loss column.

For the second time this season, the Celtics successfully contained The Brow. Although Anthony Davis recorded a double-double (29 points, 14 rebounds), he had a limited impact in the second half. Eric Gordon (20 points), Luke Babbit (12), Tyreke Evans (11) and Omer Asik (10) also finished in double figures for New Orleans (33-29).

For a complete box score, click here.

ISAIAH THOMAS CONTINUES TO SHINE

Thomas had his most efficient game as a Celtic, shooting 8-of-13 from the field. Thomas was particularly proficient from beyond the arc, hitting four of his six 3-point attempts. Thomas scored 14 of his points in the fourth quarter, making three key 3-ointers to open the frame, which put the Celtics ahead for good. With Avery Bradley expected to miss the next two games, it will be interesting to see if Thomas cracks the starting lineup.

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Celtics rule out Avery Bradley for New Orleans with left elbow sprain 03.05.15 at 4:37 pm ET
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The Celtics backcourt just became a little less crowded.

The team announced on Twitter, prior to their trip to New Orleans Thursday, that Avery Bradley did not make the trip and would be out against the Pelicans Friday night when they open a three-game road trip.

Bradley will miss the contest with a sprained left elbow, suffered Wednesday night during the first quarter of their win over the Jazz. After briefly exiting to the locker room, he returned, donned a black arm sleeve and finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He played 36 minutes but still appeared to favor the left arm, as he did when he initially left late in the first quarter.

The Celtics announced Thursday afternoon on Twitter that Bradley did not travel to New Orleans with his team. The tweet included no word on whether he could potentially meet up with his teammates before the end of their three-game road trip.

Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart combined to help the Celtics set a new franchise record for fewest turnovers (3) in a game and figure to make up the slack until Bradley returns. Thomas, as he did on Wednesday, has been coming off the bench to provide a scoring spark. It’s not clear if he will continue in that role or replace Bradley in the starting lineup. Smart started the 16th game of his rookie season on Wednesday.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, left elbow
Report: JaVale McGee deal to Celtics falls apart 03.05.15 at 2:27 pm ET
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JaVale McGee (34) won't be coming to the Celtics anytime soon after talks with the free agent broke down. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

JaVale McGee (34) won’t be coming to the Celtics anytime soon after talks with the free agent broke down. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Put all those “Shaqtin A Fool” parties on hold for now.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, big man JaVale McGee will not be coming to Boston after all. Bulpett reported Thursday afternoon that his representative and the Celtics could not come to an agreement on a contract.

As a result, McGee remains a free agent center available for any team to scoop him up.

Earlier Thursday, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported the Celtics and McGee were all but set on a deal that would land him in Boston as the Celtics try to make a stretch run for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Danny Ainge confirmed that report on the team’s flagship station before Bulpett’s report Thursday that the deal fell through.

Goodman later reported that the deal broke down when McGee, and his representative Arn Tellem, wanted a player option for next season while Ainge insisted on a team option, likely based on what the Celtics saw from him the rest of this season.

The 7-foot, 270-pound center started this season, his seventh in the NBA, with the Nuggets. On trade deadline day, Feb. 19, he was sent packing, along with the rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum and a 2015 first-round pick to Philadelphia, where he was waived on March 1 after appearing in just six games.

McGee, still just 27, has shown glimpses over his career of being a dominating offensive big man. In the 2012 playoffs, which was his first playoff appearance in his career, McGee scored 21 points in Game 5 of a first-round series against the Lakers. McGee’s numbers were up and down throughout the series, including Game 7, when he scored just six points on 1-for-7 shooting in 32 minutes. But on July 18, 2012, McGee re-signed with the Nuggets on a four-year, $44 million contract, which included a $12 million salary for 2015-16.

It’s likely the McGee wanted a guaranteed option for next season after the Sixers waived him and the Celtics would not approach the $12 million McGee was originally scheduled to make.

McGee’s 2013’€“14 season was ended on Feb. 20, 2014 when he underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left tibia, initially injured at the start of the 2013-14 season.

Read More: Boston Celtics, JaVale McGee, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers
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