The Boston Celtics continue to build momentum entering Sunday’s Eastern Conference matchup against the host Orlando Magic.
The Celtics own a season-high four-game winning streak and have won eight straight over Orlando. Two of those have come this season — including the Magic’s lone overtime game.
Sunday marks the last of three games the teams will play this season.
The Celtics are in the midst of a three-game road trip that began with a wire-to-wire victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Magic will be playing the second game of a back-to-back after Saturday’s 135-115 home drubbing at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Boston has won 11 of 15 games since dropping three games below .500 with a loss to the New York Knicks on Jan. 6.
Jayson Tatum, now a three-time All-Star after being named an Eastern Conference reserve, said Boston has remained confident.
“Frustrated might have been a better word,” said Tatum, who scored a game-high 24 points in 28 minutes against the Pistons. “But doubting ourselves? There was never any doubt in that locker room. Frustration, which was warranted how we were playing and the results, and just frustrated because we knew how much better we could have been and still can be. We’ve got a lot of confident guys in that locker room.”
Boston led Detroit by as many as 24 points. Jaylen Brown (13 points), Josh Richardson (12) and Dennis Schroder (10) also scored in double figures, while Robert Williams III had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Magic registered their season-low point total — in addition to shooting 32.1 percent from the field and missing 34 3-pointers — during a 92-79 home loss to Boston on Nov. 3.
In the Jan. 2 rematch, Brown totaled a career-high 50 points and 11 rebounds as the host Celtics overcame a 14-point deficit to win 116-111 in overtime. Brown’s 50 points were the most all-time by a Boston player against Orlando.
Orlando, which is 2-13 at home against Eastern Conference opponents, endured a similar situation on Saturday against Memphis. All-Star point guard Ja Morant netted 33 points in 29 minutes, marking the best all-time scoring performance by a Grizzlies player versus the Magic.
Head coach Jamahl Mosley’s team trailed 37-24 after one quarter and 76-56 at halftime. Orlando, which dropped to 3-9 this season playing the first game of a back-to-back, was outrebounded 62-38 as Memphis collected 23 second-chance points.
The Grizzlies also shot 50.5 percent from the floor and enjoyed a 68-34 scoring edge in the paint.
“Credit to them (the Grizzlies),” Mosley said postgame. “They’re on a roll, they’re playing well right now. This is a little bump for us, but again the great part about the league is that you get to bounce right back tomorrow and figure out exactly what you need to fix and go get after it again against Boston (on Sunday) night.”
Rising Stars selectee Cole Anthony paced six Magic players in double figures with 22 points, 17 in the first half. The second-year guard has scored 20 or more points in two of the last three games after only one outing with 20-plus points in January.
–Field Level Media