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Magic hold grudge, losing Celtics suffer from flu

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Tommy Heinsohn has a fan in Orlando coach
Doc Rivers -- sort of.

Rivers is crediting the Hall of Famer and current Boston Celtics
television analyst for the Magic's latest win.

Drawing inspiration from a tape of Heinsohn criticizing the
Magic earlier this month, Orlando snuffed out Boston's comeback bid
to hand the Celtics their third straight loss, 101-95 on Saturday
night.

"Basically, he belittled every single player on our basketball
team,'' said Rivers, deftly deflecting attention away from how
Orlando blew a 19-point lead. "To me, it's just like when you have
kids and someone picks on them -- you take it personal.

"(He should) coach his own team or his guys and leave us
alone.''

Tracy McGrady scored 25 points and Mike Miller had 20 for
Orlando, which has won four of its last six. Andrew DeClercq had 13
points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double with Orlando.

The Magic avoided a four-game losing streak to Boston, which
included a 114-109 overtime loss on Dec. 9. It was that game when
Heinsohn allegedly made his inflammatory comments.

"Doc hit it right on the head -- we're like a family,'' said
Miller, whose 3-pointer capped off a 9-2 run and put Orlando ahead
95-89 with 2:45 remaining. "We care so much about each other, when
someone talks bad about one of us, he's talking bad about all of
us.''

Heinsohn could not be immediately reached for comment, as the
Celtics' bus had left T.D. Waterhouse Centre by the time Rivers had
finished his remarks.

Paul Pierce -- shooting 9-for-28 but making all 16 of his free
throws -- had 34 points and nine rebounds to lead the Celtics.
Shammond Williams scored 16 points, nine in the fourth quarter.

Antoine Walker, suffering from a stomach bug that affected about
eight members of Boston's traveling party during their 1-3 road
trip, scored nine points before leaving early in the third quarter.

"I'm happy with the way we competed, but there are no moral
victories in the NBA,'' said Pierce, whose free throws without a
miss set a record for an Orlando opponent. "I think the guys
responded better when Antoine went out, but I wish we responded
better when he was out there.''

For much of the game, it appeared the Magic would hand Boston
its third straight blowout loss. Orlando had 65 points at the half
for an 18-point lead, and McGrady's free throw with 9:03 remaining
in the third quarter put the Magic up 70-51.

Boston slowly rallied, though, going ahead 87-86 on Pierce's
scoop shot with 5:23 left. The Celtics made 12 free throws in that
span, shooting 31-for-32 overall, while Orlando missed 10 straight
shots.

That's when Boston's comeback try finally ran out of steam.

An airball 3-pointer by Pierce led to two free throws by
McGrady, putting Orlando ahead for good, and Williams' miss of a
3-pointer resulted in Darrell Armstrong sinking a jumper with 4:03
to go -- the Magic's first field goal since the 1:52 mark of the
third quarter.

"They can talk all they want,'' said Armstrong, who finished
with 17 points. "And they can keep on talking on the plane back
home with a three-game losing streak.''

Orlando's defense held Boston to 36.6 percent shooting,
including 4-of-21 on 3-pointers.

Pierce is shooting 31 percent (20-for-64) since suffering a
scratched right cornea during fight with Cleveland's Zydrunas
Ilgauskas on Dec. 21.

Orlando, with DeClercq scoring nine points of an 18-2 run,
seized a 17-point lead early in the second quarter.

The Celtics cut the deficit to nine, but the Magic closed the
half on a 16-7 tear for a 65-47 halftime advantage. The Magic's
first-half production was two points off their season best, as they
shot 50 percent and outrebounded Boston 24-15.

"We did not play with the spark that was necessary in the first
half,'' Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "You need mobility on the
court. We had that, we could compete; in the first half, we weren't
very mobile defensively.''

The Magic were again without Grant Hill, whose bad left ankle
limited him to just four minutes in Orlando's 99-86 loss at Memphis
on Friday. Hill has missed six games this season, and played 10
minutes or less in three others.

Hill is averaging 15.3 points on 49.5 percent shooting, with 7.6
rebounds and 4.4 assists. In two games against the Celtics this
year, he averaged 21 points, 13.5 rebounds and six assists.

Game notes
Boston has not won four straight games against Orlando
since taking six in a row from Nov. 27, 1991-Dec. 8, 1992. ...
Making their first starts for the Magic were point guard Jacque
Vaughn and forward Olumide Oyedeji. Vaughn had 10 points, while
Oyedeji was scoreless.

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