Thursday, January 28, 2010
First impressions: Magic 96, Celtics 94
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Instant reaction after the Orlando Magic rallied for a 96-94 triumph over the Boston Celtics Thursday night at Amway Arena:
How the game was won: Rashard Lewis scored a game-high 23 points and produced the winning bucket as the Magic rallied from a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit to top the Celtics. Dwight Howard registered a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) for Orlando, while Ray Allen paced Boston with a team-high 20 points.
Turning point: Despite watching an 11-point lead evaporate in the final frame, the Celtics still boasted a three-point advantage in the final minute before J.J. Redick's 3-pointer tied the game. Boston settled for a rushed Ray Allen shot at the other end and Lewis made it hurt by driving baseline for the winning bucket with little more than a second to play.
Stat of the game: We'll nominate a pair: 1) The Magic shot more than twice as many free throws as Boston (40-18), and 2) The Celtics finished 12 of 24 from beyond the arc with Ray Allen (4 for 7) and Rasheed Wallace (3 of 5) leading the 3-point barrage. Eddie House had two 3-pointers overturned by replay with his foot on the line.
Unsung hero: We'll nominate another pair: 1) Redick not only hit the tying 3-pointer, but finished with a game-best plus-13 in the plus/minus category to spark the comeback, and 2) Marcin Gortat, who hit the only shot he took and four free throws for six points, grabbed eight rebounds, played some pesky defense, and logged a plus-4 overall.
What it means: The Celtics start this grueling stretch of four games in four cities over five nights on the wrong foot, but will have to bounce back quickly with a visit Friday to the Atlanta Hawks (and the Los Angeles Lakers looming Sunday). Boston won't be happy because this was a terribly winnable game. The officials did the Celtics no favors, but the team can only blame itself for some head-scratching possessions late in the game.