Celtics rally to take down MagicJan 27, 2012 - 7:02 AM Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce led five players in double-figures, as the Celtics erased a 21-point halftime deficit to down the Magic, 91-83, on Thursday.
Pierce had 24 and Kevin Garnett added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Celtics, who held the Magic to a franchise-low 56 points in a win on Monday, trailed by as many as 27 in the first half but made the comeback despite playing without starters Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. They have won three straight and four of five.
"That was a character builder for our team," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "All we talked about was one bucket at a time."
Dwight Howard had 16 points and 16 rebounds to pace the Magic, losers of three of their last five. Jason Richardson added 13 points and Ryan Anderson finished with 12, but was held scoreless in a second half which saw Orlando shoot 22.9 percent from the floor.
The Magic bounced back from Monday's loss to Boston, which saw them register franchise lows in field goals (16) and field goal percentage (24.6), with a 102-83 win over Indiana on Tuesday.
They carried that momentum into Thursday, shooting 50 percent in the opening half en route to a 58-37 lead at the break.
The advantage was still 21 with five minutes left in the third when the Celtics began their methodical comeback. A quick 5-0 burst, sparked by three points from former Magic swingman Mickael Pietrus, made it 68-52.
Orlando pushed the lead back to 18 with two minutes left in the quarter, but Boston unfurled a 10-1 run, capped by Pierce's trey, to make it 73-64. Howard answered with a put-back slam before the buzzer, placing Orlando's tenuous lead at 11.
E'Twaun Moore, who had 16 points off the Celtics' bench, opened the fourth with a three before Howard hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it 76-67. Boston then reeled off a 12-0 run to grab its first lead since early in the first quarter.
Pierce scored seven straight, on a trey, a pull-up mid-range jumper and a goaltend on Howard, to pull Boston within two. A Garnett 20-footer tied it and Moore hit a trey after former Celtic Glen Davis missed a pair of free throws for a 79-76 lead with 7 1/2 minutes left.
Howard stopped the run with a layup, but Boston kept coming, as Moore drove for a bucket and former Magic big man Brandon Bass hit a shot off a pick and roll, as Orlando began to unravel.
"We got frustrated with the physical play...and got totally out of our game," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Anderson, who was held scoreless on Monday, was hit with a technical for complaining a "no call" to an official and Pierce made it 84-78 with the ensuing free throw. Then Howard received a technical for a similar violation. Though Pierce missed that free throw, Orlando's fate was virtually sealed.
Hedo Turkoglu made it 87-83 with a trey in the closing seconds, but Pierce and Bass both hit a foul shot and Moore made a pair from the stripe close the game.
The Celtics' 21-point halftime comeback was their largest since they came back from a 23-point halftime deficit against Indiana in 1996...The Celtics have won three straight for just the second time this season...Rondo was out with a sprained wrist, while Allen has a sprained ankle. Both players also missed Monday's blowout win...Howard notched his 14th double-double of the season.
- BOSTON: 91
Jan 26 10:51 PM
- BOSTON: 64
End of 3rd
Jan 26 10:09 PM
- BOSTON: 37
Jan 26 9:23 PM
- BOSTON: 16
End of 1st
Jan 26 8:45 PM
- BOSTON: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Jan 26 8:19 PM
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