Celtics-Magic Preview

The Associated Press

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are expected back for the Boston Celtics.

That may not matter to Jason Terry since he thinks the Orlando Magic are "terrible."

With Pierce and Garnett slated to return from injuries, the Celtics will try to clinch the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference on Saturday night with an eighth straight win over the Magic.

Pierce and Garnett have been dealing with sore ankles, and because Boston (40-39) has already clinched a playoff spot, coach Doc Rivers had the luxury of resting them for Friday's 109-101 loss at NBA-leading Miami.

The two veterans are expected to return with the Celtics needing just one win from their remaining three games to secure the seventh spot in the East.

Facing the Magic (20-59) certainly has Terry feeling confident.

"Orlando is a team that, obviously, you see them. I don't want to give them any fuel, but they're terrible," Terry said. "So we must go in there with whoever we have and scrap for the win."

The guard's comments could stem from the Celtics winning seven straight meetings with the Magic, holding them to 88.1 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting. However, they needed overtime to win 116-110 in the most recent visit to Orlando on Nov. 25, and Garnett and Pierce chipped in with 24 and 23 points, respectively.

They combined for 28 points and 21 rebounds while Terry scored 12 off the bench to win the latest matchup, 97-84 at home Feb. 1.

Jeff Green is looking to continue his impressive stretch for Boston. The big man has hit 12 of 25 from 3-point range while averaging 20.6 points over the past eight games, a huge increase from his 12.8 on the season.

He had a game-high 25 points with eight rebounds against the Heat, and he scored 17 while blocking three shots as a reserve versus Orlando on Feb. 1.

Green, though, may have his hands full with center Nikola Vucevic and forward Tobias Harris, who are trying to lead the Magic to back-to-back wins for the first time since a season-high four-game run Dec. 14-19.

They had 30 points apiece Wednesday while Vucevic added 20 rebounds and Harris grabbed 19 boards in a 113-103 overtime victory over playoff-bound Milwaukee.

Harris is averaging 20.8 points and 10.6 rebounds over the last nine games, while Vucevic has managed 18.7 points and 16.3 boards in six contests since missing five with a mild concussion.

Vucevic ranks among the league leaders with 11.9 rebounds per game, and his 12.9 scoring average is vastly improved from his 5.5 with Philadelphia as a rookie last season.

"I think I'm a lot better and I've improved in every area of my game," Vucevic told the team's official website. "My confidence is a lot higher, so when I go out on the court I just do what I do best so I don't think as much. I've gotten stronger and I'm more mature, so I feel like I'm better overall."

He's totaled 20 points and 17 rebounds in two games against the Celtics this season.

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