BOSTON (AP) — Boston coach Brad Stevens’ halftime tirade had a delayed reaction.
After a lackluster start to the second half, the Celtics overcame an 11-point deficit and beating the Orlando Magic 95-88 on Friday night.
Evan Turner scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half and his 16 points in the fourth quarter tied Orlando’s team total in the final period.
“I’ve never heard Brad really curse and he cursed us out pretty good,” Turner said. “We were messing up a little bit. We weren’t helping each other too much. Some of our plays were lackadaisical. He thought we were playing too cool.”
Phil Pressey had 10 points and 10 assists to help the Celtics win their third straight and fifth in six games. Boston also avoided a costly setback in its playoff hopes.
“I thought this was one of the best wins we’ve had and the reason is we didn’t have it,” Stevens said. “We didn’t have it and we had to figure it out. We had to find a way and that’s not easy.”
Kelly Olynyk added 13 points and Avery Bradley had 10 for the Celtics. They extended Orlando’s road losing streak to 10.
Elfrid Payton scored 20 points for Orlando, and Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Magic led by 11 in the third quarter, but couldn’t overcome woeful free-throw shooting and turnovers. Orlando was 5 of 14 from the foul line in the third quarter and 14 of 28 overall.
“It’s tough. We missed a lot of free throws and those are easy ones that we need to make,” Vucevic said. “For us to be a good team and win in this league, you’ve got to make free throws.”
Turner led Boston on a 12-2 run late in the fourth, scoring nine and giving the Celtics their first lead since the second quarter on a three-point play with 2:33 left. Turner lost control of the ball while driving the lane, but reached behind his back and grabbed it and hit a runner while drawing a foul.
The free throw put Boston up 85-83 and Turner added two more jumpers after Orlando briefly tied it.
The Magic had their chances, especially in the third quarter.
Tobias Harris hit a long jumper just before the buzzer to put the Magic up 50-40 at halftime. Orlando had several chances to pull away in the third but missed six straight foul shots, including three consecutive opportunities for a three-point play. Payton snapped the slide while going 1 for 3 after being fouled on a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left.
Boston failed to take advantage until the fourth, when Turner took over for Boston. Turner and Bradley hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then Turner added a jumper to tie it 79 with 5:22 left.
While Turner handled the offense during Boston’s rally, Stevens said Pressey deserved as much credit for his defense, hustle and poise. Pressey has played in just 37 of Boston’s 64 games.
“Him responding and just being ready is a real testament to Phil,” Stevens said. “If he doesn’t play he’s the loudest guy on the bench and if he does play he’s an energizer.”
Turner had been in a shooting slump and joked he was going to get his arm or wrist checked if he had another off night. He made 12 of 20 from the floor and all five of his foul shots. He also added four assists, five rebounds and two steals.
“I don’t know why some of the shots I took weren’t going these past few weeks,” he said. “I think the biggest thing tonight was staying confident, taking what the defense gave me and getting to my spots.”
The Magic fell to 6-9 under coach James Borrego, who said he has seen improvement and it showed up until late in the third quarter.
“You keep doing it. You build confidence. You step up the next time and you grow,” Borrego said. “There’s no magic pill here. There’s no magic scheme. There’s no magic defense. There’s no magic offense right here. There’s just a mentality we’ve got to break through right now and we will.”
Magic: Orlando’s road woes date more than two months, last winning in Chicago on Jan. 12. … Two the Magic’s 21 victories this season were against Boston, including a 103-98 victory Sunday in Orlando. … The Magic opened the game on an 18-8 run and led 23-19 after the first quarter.
Celtics: Boston improved to 17-16 at home, the Celtics’ first winning record at home since they were 2-1. … C Tyler Zeller was called for a flagrant foul on Vucevic in the second quarter. Officials reviewed video of the play before ruling it was a flagrant-1 and Zeller was allowed to remain in the game.
Magic: Host Cleveland on Sunday night.
Celtics: At Indiana on Saturday night.
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