By Tiffany Williams –
Monday night the Celtics will kick-off their preseason action hosting the Orlando Magic at the TD Garden.
Monday nights probable starters for the Celtics are Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.
The Celtics all-time record vs. Orlando: is 69-51 and at home the Celtics vs. Orlando is 46-16.
The last time the Celtics played Orlando was back on May 5th. The Celtics led from start to finish as the C’s beat the Magic 132-96 in Orlando…Kemba Walker made his return to the lineup after missing time due to an oblique strain and tied his season-high with 32 points while Jayson Tatum added 27 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Evan Fournier made his return to Orlando for the first time and recorded 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals…Payton Pritchard added 14 points off the bench for the C’s. The Magic were led by Dwayne Bacon and Moe Wagner who each recorded 20 points.
On March 21st, the C’s got back on the winning track with a 112-96 win over the Magic at the Garden. Jaylen Brown scored 34 points on a career-high 10-for-18 from three while Jayson Tatum added 23 points, four rebounds and four assists. Daniel Theis added a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Kemba Walker scored 14 points and swiped two steals while Marcus Smart added 11 points and a team-high eight assists. The Magic were led by Nikola Vucevic and his 22 points and 13 rebounds while Evan Fournier added 16 points and two steals.
On January 15, the C’s hit the floor for the first time in a week due to Covid-related postponements but did not miss a beat as they extended their winning streak to five games with a 124-97 win over the Magic. The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown and his 21 points and career-high-tying eight assists while Semi Ojeleye added 18 points and six boards off the bench…Payton Pritchard chipped in with 16 points while Jeff Teague added 17 points in just under 21 minutes of action. The Magic were led by Aaron Gordon and his 17 points while Nikola Vucevic added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Monday night will begin Ime Udoka first season as the Head Coach of the Celtics. On June 28 he officially became the organization’s 18th Head Coach. Udoka joined the Celtics from the Brooklyn Nets where he was an assistant coach during the 2020-21 season. Prior to his time in Brooklyn he spent one season serving as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20) and seven seasons in San Antonio (2012-19) where he was on the coaching staff under Gregg Popovich that won the 2014 NBA Championship. Udoka has been a part of coaching staffs that have made playoff appearances in each of the last nine seasons that he has been on the sideline.
Returning to Boston, Enes Kanter and Al Horford and while Horford is expected to start Monday night, Kanter is not expected to start. Kanter, who has agreed to a one-year deal with the Celtics in August, In the 2019-20 season with the Celtics averaged 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds across 16.9 minutes per game. As for Horford, over the past three seasons, he’s averaged 13.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.1 blocks in 29.3 minutes. Horford appeared in only 28 games in the 2020-21 season. This season, Horford is looking to be more impactful in the frontcourt.
There are a lot of connections in Monday night’s game.
For Orlando’s Michael Carter-Williams, Monday night’s game against the Boston Celtics, is a return home for the kid who grew up in the Southeastern Mass town of Hamilton.
Also, on Monday night Duke University will have three former players in this game with Wendell Carter Jr, Jayson Tatum and Jabari Parker. Moe Wagner, Cole Anthony and Theo Pinson both attended the University of North Carolina. Admiral Schofield, Josh Richardson and Grant Williams all attended the University of Tennessee.
Some more great connections in this game, Franz Wagner, Moritz Wagner and Dennis Schröder were all born in Germany. So a great game to watch for basketball fans in Germany.
Jayson Christopher Tatum, I am expecting this guy to be Monday night’s biggest winner. Tatum is coming off 2020-21 season that very impressive while netting a season-high 40 points against Toronto on Jan. 4, Named to his second straight All-Star game and was added as a starter after Kevin Durant would miss the game due to injury, made the game winning shot against Milwaukee on Dec. 23, handed out a career-high 12 assists against Detroit on Jan. 3, named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 10 when he averaged 33.0 points to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 52.0 percent from three, finished third in the three-point contest at All-Star weekend, netted a career-high 53 points to go along with 10 rebounds against Minnesota on Apr. 9, Recorded 44 points and 10 rebounds against Golden State on Apr. 17 joining Larry Bird as the only two players in franchise history to record multiple 40-pt, 10-reb games at the age of 23 or younger, recorded his first career triple-double with 14 points, a season-high 13 rebounds and 10 assists against Chicago on Apr. 19, Recorded 38 points and 10 boards against Brooklyn on Apr. 23 and posted a new career-high of 60 points tying a franchise record against San Antonio on Apr. 30.