Magic-Celtics game serves as World Series warm-up
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BOSTON -- The World Series opens Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
But while Red Sox-Dodgers dominates the focus of the Boston sports fan, the Celtics have a game to play Monday night.
A baseball player or two might even be in the TD Garden crowd, and you know the video board will pay tribute to and wish the local baseball team well as the local basketball team hosts the Orlando Magic in the fourth game of the season for both.
The Celtics and Magic were involved in tight games Saturday night as Boston (2-1) survived a battle with the Knicks in New York and Orlando (1-2) fell by a point at Philadelphia.
Jayson Tatum, who is leading the Celtics in scoring (21 points per game) and rebounding (10.7) through three games, survived a wild final minute at Madison Square Garden as he continues to emerge as a pure threat at age 20.
He missed a dunk, grabbed the rebound, made a difficult turnaround and then fouled Tre Burke when the Knick guard fired from 40 feet. Burke missed the first of three field goals and the Celtics escaped.
"I'm a lot more comfortable than I would have (been) last year," Tatum said after the game. "I think it just gets easier with time and as you play more games and get more relaxed."
The second-year wing took some good-natured ribbing from his teammates after making a 1-on-1 play for the winning shot instead of passing the ball.
"He should have made the dunk," a laughing Kyrie Irving said. "He should have made the dunk. I told him, 'I can't dunk it for you. I can only pass you the ball.' We joke about it, but even when he got the ball back, it was like three people all on one side screaming for the basketball. I was weak side, had my hands up as well like 'Yo, what's going on?'
"He just made an unbelievable move, dream shake, tough shot. That guy's just super talented. To be so young, to be so poised, it's an awesome trait for him."
The Celtics won Saturday after losing at Toronto on Friday night.
The Magic lost by 32 points at home to the Charlotte on Hornets Friday night, then battled right down to the wire in the loss at Philadelphia.
"We played better. We should have won the game," Magic coach Steve Clifford said. "We defended the whole game, but we had two huge mistakes. You can't make those mistakes on the road against a good team, so whatever, we played better, but that's not what this thing's about.
"There's a game right there that was meant to be won with plays to be made, but you have to make them."
The Magic shared the ball in the loss, registering 31 assists on their 41 baskets -- and also went 16 of 29 from 3-point range.
Nicola Vucevic had 12 of those assists in his second career triple-double (27 points, 13 rebounds).
"That's always my mindset, to play the right way, read the game and see who's open. If I have a shot, I have a shot. If not, I try to make the right play for others," Vucevic said. "Early in the first half tonight I had a couple back cuts, a couple cuts from guys. They were really doing a good job of cutting off me, playing off me and I was able to find them.
"We needed that to get the ball moving and get some good looks and tonight we had a lot of guys involved, a lot of guys who scored and that's why we were able to stay in the game."
Gordon Hayward, who lost his first season with his new team to a horrific leg injury, rested Saturday night on the back end of a back-to-back but is expected to return for Boston's third game in four nights.
The Celtics are 6-1 versus Orlando over the past two seasons.
Updated October 21, 2018