The Celtics have received a strong dose of humility in recent games. So, they are keeping things in perspective as they prepare to meet the Orlando Magic at 8 p.m. Friday night in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
“They’re the team everybody’s chasing in the East,” coach Doc Rivers said of the Magic after practice Thursday. “They won the championship of the East last year. As far as we’re concerned, they’re the favorite and Cleveland’s the second favorite and we’re the third — going by the results of last year. So, it will be good to see where we’re at.”
Said captain Paul Pierce: “It’s definitely a big game for us. Just try and make a statement against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. You’re talking about a team that’s going to be there in the end, one of the best records in the league. So, we’re playing for home court advantage and this is a team that we have to beat.”
Kevin Garnett (knee) missed the playoffs and has returned to average just more than 30 minutes a game this season.
“I’m just looking forward to playing them,” Garnett said. “Their record says they’re one of the best teams. They’re deep, they’re very deep. People are not really talking about their depth, but the onus is on us. This should be a good test for us.”