ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 37 points and Gordon Hayward added 22 to help the Boston Celtics rally from a 16-point first-half deficit and defeat the Orlando Magic 109-98 on Friday night.
Daniel Theis added 16 points as the Celtics won their third straight game.
Evan Fournier led Orlando with 30 points, but the Magic struggled to find anyone else to contribute in the second half when they were outscored 56-41. Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Aaron Gordon was the only other player in double figures with 12.
Walker had 27 points in the first half, when Boston found itself in a 46-30 hole. The Celtics point guard scored 19 of his points in the second quarter to pull Boston within four at 57-53 at halftime.
Boston picked up the pace considerably on defense in the second half. The Celtics limited Orlando to just 7 of 25 shooting (28%) in the third quarter, outscoring the Magic 29-20 to take an 82-77 lead. Walker didn’t score in that quarter, but the Celtics didn’t need him as Boston started to spread its scoring around.
Walker nailed his sixth 3-pointer of the game to put Boston up 95-81 with 8:46 left and then it was a matter of holding on.
Orlando got 12 points from Fournier and Terrence Ross hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 103-98 with 2:29 to play, but the Magic went scoreless the rest of the game.
Walker single-handedly kept Boston in the game in the first half, scoring 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He outscored his teammates 27-26 for the half.
He scored 19 points in the second quarter after Orlando had run out to a 46-30 lead by running past a slow-reacting Boston defense.
Walker responded by scoring 13 straight points for the Celtics, including three straight 3-pointers and finally got some help to close the 16-point deficit to just 57-53 at halftime.
Celtics: F Jayson Tatum (groin), G Jaylen Brown (ankle) and C Enes Kanter (hip) were all out. … At one point in the first half, Kemba Walker had outscored the rest of the Celtics 25-18.
Magic: F Jonathan Isaac, G D.J. Augustin and F Al-Farouq Aminu were out. … Orlando had beaten Boston three straight times entering the game.
Celtics: at New Orleans on Sunday.
Magic: home against LA Clippers on Sunday.
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