Magic Musings: Orlando’s road struggles continue against Boston

Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) shoots the ball againt Orlando Magic power forward Glen Davis (11) during the first half.

Mark L. Baer/Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

In a matchup of two teams that were something less than super in January, the Boston Celtics prolonged the road woes of the Orlando Magic by leading almost from start to finish and coming away with a 96-89 victory.

Despite being without point guard Jameer Nelson, who did not travel with the team because of a sore left knee sustained Friday night in a win over Milwaukee, the Magic closed to within a point of the lead halfway through the fourth quarter. But the Celtics, coming off a 2-15 month, were able to withstand that challenge.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Magic, headed by Arron Afflalo with 18 points. Afflalo was moved from small forward to shooting guard in Nelson’s absence, with Victor Oladipo opening at the point and Tobias Harris returning to the starting lineup at small forward after coming off the bench the previous two games.

Oladipo went 3 of 16 from the floor as the Magic, who shot better than 50 percent in defeating the Bucks, hit only 41.2 percent of their field-goal attempts against a team that gave up an average of 102.6 points a game in January.

Magic vs. Celtics

The loss was the 11th in a row away from home for the Magic and enabled the Celtics to capture the season series 3-1. The one victory came two weeks ago in Orlando and snapped a 10-game losing streak.

Nikola Vucevic scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 30 minutes in his third game since returning from a concussion.

Jared Sullinger had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics.

THE TURNING POINT

Jump shots by Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass gave the Celtics some breathing room after the Magic had cut their lead to 86-84 with 2:30 remaining on a basket by Glen Davis.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Rondo’s seventh game since returning from ACL surgery and rehab was his best yet. He finished with 19 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals.

STAT OF THE GAME

With Nelson out, the Magic used their 14th different starting lineup in 49 games. They had 27 different starting lineups last season.

WHAT’S NEXT

Monday night at Indiana, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).

You can follow Ken Hornack on Twitter @HornackFSFla or email him at khornack32176@gmail.com.