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Celtics run past Magic 124-97 after week-long hiatus

Jaylen Brown had 21 points and eight assists, Semi Ojeleye added 18 points and the Boston Celtics rolled to an 124-97 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night in their return to action following an virus-related week-long hiatus.

Jeff Teague finished with 17 points and rookie Payton Pritchard had 16 points to help Boston post its fifth straight victory.

Boston returned to action after having three games postponed due to some players testing positive for the coronavirus and others being ruled out because contact tracing showed that they could have been exposed to it.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) makes a move against Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross (31) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP PhotoElise Amendola)

But the Celtics didn’t seem to be affected by the layoff, sharing the ball and turning stops into opportunities to run the floor against an Orlando team that struggled to find a rhythm at both ends of the floor.

Aaron Gordon had 17 points to lead the Magic, who have lost four straight. Nik Vucevic, Dwayne Bacon and Cole Anthony added 15 points apiece.

The Celtics took an 88-72 advantage into the fourth quarter and opened the period with a 13-0 run to effectively put the game away.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) dribbles the ball as center Daniel Theis (27) sets a screen against Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP PhotoElise Amendola)

Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams remained in the NBA’s health and safety protocols Friday along with reserve guard Carsen Edwards. But the Celtics had 12 players available thanks to Brown, Tristan Thompson, Javonte Green, Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye all being cleared to return.

Magic center Mo Bamba didn’t travel with the team as a precaution while he goes through contact tracing, the latest roster hit to a team that has battled injuries all season.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens went deep into his bench to spread out minutes following the layoff. For the game, Boston held a 66-33 edge in bench scoring.

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) dribbles the ball as Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP PhotoElise Amendola)

TIP-INS

Magic: Were 3 for 12 from 3-point range in first half and finished 7 for 28 for the game. … Finished with 16 turnovers.

Celtics: Went 17 of 42 from 3-point distance. … Led by as many as 14 in the first half and took a 60-48 lead into halftime. … Had no turnovers in the first quarter.

Boston Celtics forward Tristan Thompson, left, drives against Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP PhotoElise Amendola)

NEW PROTOCOLS

The NBA’s tightened safety protocols were on display Friday with players being handed a mask along with the customary water and towel whenever they were subbed out.

UP NEXT

Magic: Continue five-game road trip with visit to Brooklyn on Saturday.

Orlando Magic center Khem Birch (24) checks on Cole Anthony, who had landed on the floor during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP PhotoElise Amendola)

Celtics: Host the Knicks on Sunday.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Orlando Magic center Khem Birch (24) looks to shoot against Boston Celtics center Daniel Theis (27) and guard Javonte Green, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP PhotoElise Amendola)

Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony lies on the floor as teammate Khem Birch comes over to check on him during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in Boston. (AP PhotoElise Amendola)