Game 40: Magic at Celtics

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Tip-off: 8 p.m.
Records: Celtics (30-9), Magic (26-14)
Broadcast info: TNT, WEEI
Probable starters:

Celtics:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Shaquille O’Neal

Magic:
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Jason Richardson
SF: Hedo Turkoglu
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Dwight Howard

Storylines:

Magic gel: It’s been less than a month since these two teams met on Christmas, but the Magic are a completely different team. Orlando ended the Celtics’ 14-game winning streak on Christmas, but before that the Magic were in a tailspin, having lost 8 of 10 games. Orlando has now won 9 of 11 starting with that Christmas Day win, seemlessly working Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Gilbert Arenas into their new-look lineup.

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KG’s health Kevin Garnett is likely to return tonight for the Celtics after practicing yesterday. He hasn’t played since Dec. 29, so he could be rusty. Shaquille O’Neal, however, is questionable after slipping on some ice before practice. If Shaq can’t go, that matchup with Dwight Howard suddenly looks very scary.

January swoon: The Celtics had won 14 straight before Christmas, but they’re just 7-4 since. Rajon Rondo and Garnett have missed time, but you have to wonder if the Celtics will limp into the playoffs like they did last season or pick it up again and finish off the winter months with a bang.

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