Basketball

Celts face reconstructed Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. —Celtics coach Doc Rivers remembers when Boston overhauled its roster three years ago. Sure, the talent was there with the Big Three. So were the questions.

"When we made our move everybody told us you had to wait a year to put a championship team together," Rivers said before the Celtics practiced Friday in Orlando. "I didn't buy into that. Neither did our guys, and we proved everybody wrong."

Now imagine a major midseason shake-up.

The Celtics will face a reconstructed Magic team today trying to duplicate the quick turnaround — only doing so in December — that propelled Boston to instant champions, giving this Eastern Conference finals rematch a Christmas Day remix.

"We're not playing for December or January," Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard said. "We're playing for June."

Orlando is a shell of the team bounced by Boston in six games last season.

An early slide forced the Magic to orchestrate two blockbuster trades last weekend that brought Gilbert Arenas from Washington and Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark from Phoenix. They gave up Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat, plus a 2011 first-round draft pick and cash, in the deals.

Now one question to be answered is do they match up better with Boston.

"I'm not sure how, since they've gotten smaller, what sense that makes," Rivers said. "They've just brought more talent and they're a better team, to me, in the long run because they've added more talent."

AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen in Boston contributed to this story.

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