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Magic stay alive with Game 4 overtime win over Celtics

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5/25/2010 9:56:28 AM
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Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Jameer Nelson scored six points in overtime and Dwight Howard added the final four for Orlando, as the Magic stayed alive in the Eastern Conference finals with a hard-fought, 96-92, win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 at TD Garden.

The Magic, who had won 14 straight coming into this series, rebounded from an ugly 94-71 loss on Saturday that put them in a huge 3-0 deficit.

Howard, who managed just seven points and seven rebounds in Game 3's disappointing showing, helped the club avoid the sweep with 32 points and 16 rebounds.

Nelson chipped in 23 points and nine assists and hit a pair of three-pointers to open the overtime scoring. Orlando led from there, as Boston shot just 2- of-10 from the field in the final five minutes.

Ray Allen scored all six of Boston's OT points and finished with 22 total. Paul Pierce ended with 32 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

"I thought we executed poorly throughout the game. It was amazing how bad we were execution-wise and still had a chance to win the game," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said.

The Magic, trying to become the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit, will host Game 5 on Wednesday.

Both teams were cold to start overtime, as the first points were scored when Nelson banked in a three from the left wing 2:18 into the extra stanza.

Allen hit all iron on a mid-range jumper at the other end, and Nelson squared up from the opposite wing and hit another from behind the arc for a 92-86 lead with two minutes remaining.

An inside-out pass from Glen Davis to Allen resulted in an open look, and Allen calmly sank a three of his own to net Boston's first points in OT.

Howard briefly got open in the post before Davis recovered and blocked his first attempt, but Orlando's center got the ball back and laid one in while getting fouled.

A missed free throw kept it a five-point game, and Allen was once again true from long range with 1:13 left.

Nelson was short on a scoop attempt for Orlando, though Howard was there to clean up the miss for a two-possession game again.

Kevin Garnett, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, got the ball outside the post on the left side and made a high pass that deflected off Pierce's hands and out of bounds.

Rajon Rondo forced a Nelson turnover prior to Pierce short-arming two open threes from the top of the key. Nelson grabbed the rebound on the latter with 9.6 seconds to go, but lost the ball and was called for a foul -- his sixth.

The Magic were not in the penalty, and Rondo curiously dribbled away precious seconds before kicking it out to Davis for an errant three as time expired.

"We kept fighting and fighting and fighting. That's what it took to get an overtime win," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We guarded them pretty well. It's the first time in the series we made it tough on them."

Despite only scoring seven points -- all from J.J. Redick -- in the first six- plus minutes of the fourth, Orlando only trailed by a 76-74 margin following two Rondo free throws with 5:33 remaining.

A Howard dunk and Nelson three-pointer on consecutive touches put the Magic in front, and after trading free throws and failed possessions, Rashard Lewis drained 1-of-2 from the foul line with 2:53 left for an 82-78 cushion.

After Rondo missed a runner, Howard threw down an alley-oop from Nelson while being fouled and hit the free throw for a seven-point advantage.

Boston's veterans made it a game, as Pierce drove in for a dunk and Allen hit a patented three from the left wing the next two times down.

Nelson followed with a 1-for-2 effort at the foul line, and Pierce beat Vince Carter off the dribble at the top of the key and made a runner while Nelson took a blocking foul. The subsequent free throw tied it, 86-86, with 1:16 showing.

Garnett forced a turnover at the other end, and Pierce missed a deep jumper with a hand in his face with just over 30 seconds on the clock.

Out of a timeout, Nelson bricked a 17-footer, and Boston opted not to call a timeout of its own. Pierce was looking for the game-winner from the top of the key but lost control of the ball, and the buzzer sounded as Garnett and Nelson wrestled for it on the floor.

"There were a couple of plays down the stretch offensively that we botched," Allen said. "We were rushing. We're kicking ourselves because we had opportunities."

The Magic came out with a definitively better showing in the opening quarter than in Game 3, when they shot 4-of-17 from the field and trailed 27-12.

The visitors made 12-of-19 this time around, and a Lewis three to end it resulted in a 31-26 lead.

Howard's personal 6-0 run midway through the second pushed the margin to 42-32, though Boston answered with eight of the next nine points to stay close.

Orlando continued to lead at the break, 51-47, and throughout the third until two Allen free throws gave Boston a 68-67 edge in the final minute. That was the score heading to the fourth, as the Magic failed to score in the final four minutes of the frame.

Game Notes

The defending conference champion Magic won despite Carter hitting 1-of-9 from the field for three points...Lewis and Redick added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Orlando, which received 10 points and seven rebounds from Matt Barnes...Rondo had nine points on 3-of-10 shooting to go with eight assists...The Magic shot 10-of-28 from three-point range, compared to Boston's 0-for-11 showing minus Allen's 5-for-7 effort...Orlando had 12 more second- chance points.

 

Jameer Nelson (Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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