On Saturday, the visiting were the ones wishing Van Gundy had the day off. Van Gundy and the Magic ended the Boston Celtics’ 14-game winning streak with an 86-78 victory. Orlando rallied from 12 points down in the second half for back-to-back wins against the ’s top teams.
The Magic also ended San Antonio’s 10-game winning streak last week.
Before the game, Van Gundy sarcastically suggested that the N.B.A. play 10 games on Christmas, instead of the current five, and start them at midnight.
Orlando was hosting Boston for the second straight year on Christmas. Van Gundy has said the Magic was hit with a “hefty” fine for his critical comments last year about playing on the holiday. He has refrained from making such remarks again to avoid another fine from Commissioner .
“I have no comments at all on Christmas Day games,” Van Gundy said. “My suggestion to my staff this morning was that I think the N.B.A. is so important to Christmas that what we really need to do is increase from 5 games to 10, and we need to start them at midnight on what would have been Christmas Eve and play them all through the day so there’s not a minute of Christmas Day where there’s not an N.B.A. game on TV. Because it’s great.
“The N.B.A. is Christmas, to me, anyway. It’s what it’s all about.”
Coach and Miami’s are among those who have expressed their discontent for playing on Christmas this year.
For the Magic, Brandon Bass scored 21 points, and Jameer Nelson and J. J. Redick each made a jumper in the final minutes to send Boston to its first loss since Nov. 21 at Toronto.
Magic forward , who had received warnings from the league about taking too much time at the free-throw line, received a rare delay-of-game penalty after taking more than 10 seconds to shoot in the second quarter. Howard, who said after the game that he would not alter his approach, rolled the ball away in protest. He was given a technical foul.
THUNDER 114, 106 The N.B.A. scoring leader Kevin Durant had a season-high 44 points and Oklahoma City beat visiting Denver.
James Harden added 21 points for the Thunder in the first Christmas game in the franchise’s three-season tenure in Oklahoma City.
Chauncey Billups led the Nuggets with 30 points.
Denver played for the second straight game without forward following his sister’s death Wednesday. She died of a pre-existing condition.