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Aaron Gordon goes perfect from free-throw line as Magic win season series from Celtics

Aaron Gordon, Magic, Celtics

ORLANDO, Fla. – No Bamba, no problem. The Orlando Magic returned after a 1-5 road trip for their first home game of the new year as Aaron Gordon finished with a game-high 28 points to lead the Magic to a 105-103 victory, bolstered by an impressive 13-of-13 from the free-throw line. This is the first time Orlando has won a series series from Boston since the 2009-2010 season.

“I think that we had a better purpose of play tonight,” said Gordon. “I think that we knew what we were doing and where we wanted our buckets to come from, whether it was Evan [Fournier], Vooch [Nikola Vucevic] or T-Ross [Terrence Ross]. We were getting to the [free-throw] line. We understood where we needed to score, at what time, and we just kept chipping away.”

Orlando now sits 1.5 games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Orlando was the beneficiary of an offensive outburst in the second half, but the shooting struggles from beyond the arc continue to be an issue. Orlando went 11-of-38 from 3-point range Saturday night, and just under 43 percent from the field overall. Getting into the playoffs is quite the hurdle while sitting at No. 28 in the league in offensive rating.

Gordon got called for two fouls early in the first quarter, but that didn’t stop him from aggressively attacking the basket on almost every other play. It was easily one of his most efficient performances of the season with 28 points on 7-of-14 shooting, the aforementioned 13-of-13 from the free-throw line and 12 rebounds in 37 minutes. It was his 11th double-double of the season.

When shots don’t fall in, the quick fix is just to attack the basket and get to the line. Gordon did exactly that, playing to his strengths to get in the paint instead of relying on jumpers.

Saturday night’s game marked just the ninth time in Magic history that a player has gone perfect from the line with 13 minimum attempts. Steve Francis went 14-of-14 on Dec. 10, 2004 vs. Golden State.