A youthful Celtics group falls to Magic on last-second drama in penultimate preseason game

On Wednesday night in Orlando, the Celtics trotted out a starting lineup that you won’t see throughout the regular season. In their second to last preseason game, Ime Udoka and crew gave the keys to the youth as Boston rested most of their veterans.

Orlando’s youngsters outlasted Boston’s down the stretch, as a Jeff Dowtin Jr. jumper with less than a second left gave the Magic a 103-102 win.

The early Celtics offense ran through Payton Pritchard, who cruised to 10 first-half points. Late in the second quarter, Pritchard was inadvertently hit in the nose by Ignas Brazdeikis and eventually ruled out for the remainder of the night.

After starring in NBA Summer League, Aaron Nesmith led the way again for Boston offensively. The Vanderbilt product finished with 23 points on 8-for-16 shooting while pouring in four threes. Led by Nesmith, Pritchard, and early Jabari Parker scoring, the Celtics jumped out to a 56-54 halftime lead.

Boston built a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the end of the night belonged to the Magic youth. Second-year pro Dowtin Jr. finished off the Celtics with the moment of his young NBA career:

R.J. Hampton led the Magic off the bench, finishing with a team-high 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Dowtin Jr. added 10, while Wendell Carter Jr. poured in 13 points for Orlando.

The Celtics dropped to 2-1 in preseason, and face Miami on Friday in their final test before the regular season begins.