Gordon Hayward scored 31 points and Jayson Tatum added 29 to lift the Boston Celtics to a 122-119 overtime victory over the Magic on Sunday near Orlando.
Jaylen Brown collected 19 points and 12 rebounds for the third-place Celtics (47-23), who saw their slim chances to secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference go by the boards earlier on Sunday when Toronto wrapped up the No. 2 seed with a win over Memphis.
Boston was able to take solace in sweeping Orlando in 2019-20, one season after Orlando won all three meetings between the teams.
Hayward, who entered Sunday’s contest averaging 17.2 points per game, had 22 points in Boston’s 109-98 victory at Orlando on Jan. 24. He added 23 on 10-of-16 shooting in the Celtics’ 116-100 victory at home over the Magic on Feb. 5.
Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Terrence Ross added 18 points off the bench for the reeling Magic (32-39), who have dropped four in a row.
Gary Clark’s three-point play trimmed Boston’s lead to 118-117 with 1:23 left in overtime before Tatum sank a long-range jumper and Daniel Theis added a layup. Markelle Fultz’s dunk made it a one-possession game, but Vucevic misfired on a 3-point attempt as time expired.
Vucevic’s 10-foot jumper gave Orlando a 112-107 lead with 48.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter before Tatum answered with a 3-pointer and jumper to forge a tie. Tatum then blocked Ross’ would-be game-winning 3-point shot with 2.1 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Hayward made 7 of 10 shots for 18 points to pace Boston to a 55-51 advantage at halftime. Conversely, the rest of Celtics made just 13 of 36 attempts from the field during before intermission.
Kemba Walker missed his first six shots from the floor before making a left-handed lay-in to give the Celtics a 75-70 lead with 4:06 to play in the third quarter. Ross made three consecutive free throws and a floating jumper to give Orlando an 86-85 advantage before Hayward’s lay-in with three seconds left in the third quarter regained the lead for Boston.
--Field Level Media
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