Celtics 119, Magic 101

Preview | Box Score | Recap

BOSTON (AP)—The Orlando Magic lost a high-scoring guard in Cuttino Mobley and the Boston Celtics found one in rookie Tony Allen.

Allen scored 16 points in 20 minutes and the Celtics won 119-101 Monday night against a team shaken by the trade that sent Mobley to Sacramento shortly before the game. Steve Francis, Mobley’s close friend, appeared distracted on the court and was upset afterward.

“For us, not just myself but everybody, we were pretty much just emotionally drained,” Francis said. “You don’t wait 30 minutes before a game to tell a guy he’s traded.”

Coach Johnny Davis said he learned a few minutes before the game that the trade had been completed, bringing Doug Christie to the Magic and also sending forward Michael Bradley to the Kings. Mobley was Orlando’s third leading scorer with 16 points per game, but Christie should help the defense of a team that has allowed the most points per game in the NBA.

Mobley could have become a free agent after the season.

“I think, ultimately, that’s what made the decision,” Davis said.

Mobley, standing near the Orlando locker room during the second half, said, “I’m sad. Maybe they (the Magic) were scared I wouldn’t sign back.”

Francis had 18 points but played just 27 minutes. He and Mobley had joined the Magic in an offseason trade that sent Tracy McGrady to Houston. Several Orlando players wore black armbands with Mobley’s No. 5 on them.

“It was hard for me to play. He is my brother,” Francis said. “I’ve played my whole career with him.”

Allen also has had trouble maintaining his focus but not Monday.

The first-round draft choice from Oklahoma State had four points and two steals in a 14-0 run that increased Boston’s lead from 32-28 to 46-28 with 3:14 gone in the second quarter.

“Tony Allen is just coming on like gangbusters. His energy his infectious,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “When he keeps focus, he’s really, really good. And he’s been locked in lately.”

He said Allen has earned more playing time.

“I just want Doc to trust me and know I’m a force to be reckoned with,” Allen said. “I want to do whatever I can to stay on the court, offensive rebounding, passing out Gatorade, towels, whatever it takes.”

After the 14-0 run, the Celtics led by at least 14 points—and as many as 30—the rest of the way and stopped Orlando’s three-game winning streak.

The Celtics improved to 8-2 in their last 10 home games and were led by Paul Pierce with 18 points. Gary Payton, Ricky Davis and Raef LaFrentz each scored 15. Rookie Jameer Nelson had a career-high 19 points but the Magic lost for the sixth straight time in Boston.

“We played very solid defense,” Jiri Welsch said. “It looks like we always play well against them.”

Allen started the second-quarter run with a 22-foot basket and Al Jefferson converted a tip. Then Marcus Banks blocked Francis’ shot and hit a 3-pointer at the other end of the court for a 39-28 lead.

A steal by Allen led to a three-point play by Welsch on a driving layup and a free throw. Allen then stole the ball again and fed Kendrick Perkins for a dunk. Banks then stole the ball from Francis and set up Allen for a layup.

The run ended when former Celtic Tony Battie made two free throws.

Boston led 65-50 at halftime and opened the third quarter with a 12-6 surge that made it 77-56 on Welsch’s 3-pointer. Allen gave the Celtics their biggest lead, 100-70, with a 3-pointer.

Nelson led a fourth-quarter rally with 15 points that cut the lead to 105-91 with about four minutes left, but they came no closer as Davis followed with a 3-pointer.

Notes

Two Celtics players had six field goals each and six others had five apiece. … Orlando’s HedoTurkoglu missed all nine of his shots in 25 minutes.

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Top Performers

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 Orlando
G. Hill G. Hill
5-13,  15 Pts
4 Rebs, 9 Assists
 Boston
G. Payton G. Payton
5-13,  15 Pts
7 Rebs, 6 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists