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After successful homestand, Magic beat NBA-best Celtics to start road trip – Boston Herald

The Orlando Magic took care of business on their recent homestand, going 4-1 at Amway Center.

A greater challenge came Friday: seeing if their progress would travel on the road, starting against league-best Boston at TD Garden.

The Magic (10-20) passed the test, prevailing 117-109 over the Celtics (22-8) for their fifth consecutive win, their longest winning streak since the 2020 season. Orlando won three games before the 2019-20 season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then took the first two regular-season seeding games in the “NBA bubble,” giving them a five-game win streak that spanned nearly five months.

Moe Wagner led the Magic on Friday with a team-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 8 rebounds, his second 20-plus-point showing of the season.

Paolo Banchero added 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds while Franz Wagner had 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

Markelle Fultz recorded 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, including 6 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 57.9 seconds remaining.

Cole Anthony added 14 points (7-of-13 shooting), 5 rebounds and 3 assists while Mo Bamba contributed 8 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

The Magic entered Friday coming off four consecutive home victories vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors (twice) and Atlanta Hawks.

Their defense stepped up during the homestand, coming in at 10th in defensive rating — points allowed per 100 possessions — during the stretch.

But the Celtics, who had the league’s best offensive rating led by two top-15 scorers in Jayson Tatum (30.2 points per game) and Jaylen Brown (26.6), presented different challenges.

“They’re No. 1 in a lot of the categories — offensive efficiency, 3-point percentage,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said pregame. “They do it well. This is the test you want our guys to have.”

Tatum (31 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists) and Brown (26 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists) got theirs, but the Celtics’ supporting cast didn’t do enough.

Boston welcomed back defensive stalwart center Robert Williams III, who made his season debut after having left knee surgery during the offseason.

“Defensively, he becomes a rim protector,” Mosley said. “With our ability to get to the paint, we have to find options once we get there. For them offensively, another lob threat being at the rim. We have to contain the basketball knowing he’s going to be lingering around the rim. Offensive rebounds, our boxing-out is going to be huge.”

The Magic were the ones who dominated the offensive glass, grabbing 53 rebounds, including 15 offensive boards. This led to them finishing with 20 second-chance points and 7 more field goal attempts.

Al Horford also made his return to the lineup for the Celtics after missing the last five games because of personal reasons.

He finished 6 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist in 16 minutes after being ejected early in the third quarter because he was assessed a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2 against Moe Wagner.

Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Gary Harris (strained right hamstring), Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness) and Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness) were sidelined Friday.

Carter, Harris and Okeke traveled to Boston.

They didn’t participate in Friday’s morning shootaround but did get on-court work afterward.

“We’re just going to continue to see how they respond, so their rehab is going to be on the road vs. being at home,” Mosley said.

R.J. Hampton wasn’t available after requesting and receiving an assignment with the organization’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.

Hampton played in Lakeland’s 101-95 home win over the Birmingham Squadron on Thursday, scoring 24 points (9-for-16 shooting) in 27 minutes off the bench to help end a four-game losing streak.

He also played in Friday’s home game vs. the Texas Legends and will rejoin Orlando in Boston on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s game at the Celtics.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at khprice@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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