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Orlando Magic vs Boston Celtics Picks and Predictions December 15

Orlando Magic vs Boston Celtics NBA Friday Night basketball game picks and predictions for December 15, 2023 at 7:30pm et.

Magic vs Celtics:

When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, December 15, 2023
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Celtics look to beat a second straight opponent that has given them recent trouble as the Orlando Magic come in Friday night for the first of two games in three days between the teams.

It may be only mid-December, but the series could have a big impact on the final Eastern Conference playoff picture as first-place Boston’s lead on Orlando — which is tied for third with Philadelphia — is just two games.

The Celtics are coming off sweeping Cleveland in another two-games-in-three-days set, beating the Cavaliers 120-113 on Tuesday and 116-107 on Thursday after Boston went 1-3 against Cleveland last season.

The wins moved Boston to 12-0 at home this season, but coach Joe Mazzulla knows his team’s mindset should not change regardless of where the games are played.

“We have to be able to play, regardless of circumstances,” he said, “and I think we’re starting to learn and not be defined by that.”

Jayson Tatum had double-doubles in the back-to-back wins against Cleveland, including 27 points and 11 rebounds on Thursday. Jaylen Brown, who was originally questionable due to a left ankle injury, added 18 of his 22 points in a hot first half.

Teammate Derrick White feels it’s about more than just stats for the star duo, who paced Boston’s 50.6 percent shooting.

“They do so much night in and night out that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet,” White said. “We’re thankful to have them.”

Similar to Cleveland, Orlando recently has had the upper hand in its series against Boston, winning four consecutive matchups dating to last December.

“I get it because we’re the Celtics and we’re supposed to win it every single year that there’s expectations of, ‘Yeah, two or three teams will give you (a hard time) but everyone else will be easy,’ and that’s just not the case,” Mazzulla said. “That’s not the NBA.”

Orlando’s streak of head-to-head success against Boston continued into this season with a 113-96 win on Nov. 24.

Moritz Wagner had a game-high 27 points while Tatum posted 26 to lead the Celtics, who shot just 40.8 percent.

The Magic have not allowed 100 points to Boston in three straight meetings, while their two most recent opponents — Detroit last Friday and Cleveland on Monday — were each held under 95.

“I think you continue to preach exactly what you know travels, which is defense,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said. “That’s who we are, and that’s what we’ll continue to be about.”

Orlando, which has not made the playoffs since 2020, is 11-2 since Nov. 15. A 104-94 win Monday at home against Cleveland was its second straight after back-to-back losses that ended a nine-game winning streak, the longest in the NBA this season.

Paolo Banchero, who has been Orlando’s leading scorer in two of the past three games, had 20 points and 10 rebounds Monday. He netted 11 as Orlando turned around a halftime deficit in a 30-15 third quarter.

“We don’t want to be the doormat anymore and a team that people talk about as, ‘It’s just the Orlando Magic,'” guard Jalen Suggs said. “We want to be that tough team, and you’ve got to scout and bring full mental energy and physicality when you come play us.”

The Celtics played Thursday without center Luke Kornet, who was a late scratch due to an adductor injury. As a result, Lamar Stevens contributed four points in nine minutes in his first action since Nov. 28.

–Field Level Media

Free NBA Picks and Predictions:

For this Orlando Magic vs Boston Celtics Friday Night Basketball game, I’m taking the Celtics Team Total Over 112.5 Points -135.

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