Regular Season Series (Game 5 of 5)

Series starts 12/2

Game 1: Monday, December 2nd
Game 2: Monday, December 9th
Game 3: Saturday, December 28th
Game 4: Sunday, January 26th
Game 5: Saturday, April 12th

Celtics 86

(42-38, 18-22 away)

Magic 89

(42-38, 26-15 home)

    7:00 PM ET, April 12, 2003

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 28 12 23 2386
    ORL 24 22 19 2489

    Top Performers

    Bos: A. Walker 21 Pts, 9 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Orl: T. McGrady 37 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    McGrady torches Celtics for 37 points in win

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Whether Orlando is peaking will only be known only when the season is over. There's no question the Magic are playing well.

    Tracy McGrady

    Tracy McGrady scored 37 points and Gordan Giricek hit the winning 3-pointer with 32.2 seconds left as Orlando rallied to beat Boston 89-86 in the Magic's home finale Saturday night.

    It was the Magic's third straight win and second comeback victory in two nights.

    "Going into the playoffs, that's what you definitely want to be doing -- playing great defense as well as playing good on the defensive end,'' said McGrady, who had 20 points before halftime. "Things are meshing together. We'll see what happens.''

    Added Orlando coach Doc Rivers: "Our team believes right now we can beat anyone, anywhere, and that's what we're going to have to have. We're not going to have homecourt (in the playoffs), so we better have that thought.''

    Orlando moved into a tie with the Celtics for sixth place in the East with two games remaining for both teams. But Boston owns the tiebreaker thanks to its 3-2 record against the Magic. Both teams also have slim chances of catching New Orleans for the fifth seed.

    "It's important to get as high a seed as possible because I think in the East it's not out of the possibility that the away team could win a lot of the series,'' Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "You'd hate to finish seventh and then have to look at a team that got you in sixth some time in the playoffs.''

    Boston's Paul Pierce dunked with 1:16 remaining to give Boston an 86-82 lead. He finished with 25 points and nine rebounds.

    But Andrew DeClercq responded with a dunk for the Magic, and Pierce fumbled away the ball on the ensuing possession. McGrady drove, then kicked the ball to DeClercq on the right baseline. DeClercq fired the ball to Darrell Armstrong on the left wing, and Armstrong swung it to Giricek in the left corner.

    "My last shot was nothing,'' Giricek said. "I was open -- everyone can make good shots then.''

    Giricek finished with 16 points despite shooting 4-for-12, 3-for-8 on 3-pointers. Pat Garrity added 10 points, and Pat Burke had nine points and eight rebounds.

    Jacque Vaughn's free throws with 12.2 seconds gave Orlando some breathing room as the Magic scored the game's last seven points.

    Pierce missed three shots in the final 28 seconds and Antoine Walker's 3-pointer at the buzzer was far off the mark as Boston lost for the fourth time in five games. Walker had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Eric Williams added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

    "We're going to the playoffs, so we have to develop some momentum,'' said Pierce, who shot 7-for-17. "We've been struggling, but I think we're playing well.''

    McGrady, who shot 12-for-30, scored nine straight points in a two-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to give Orlando an 80-79 lead. After his 3-pointer with 4:16 remaining cut the Celtics' lead to a point, Boston called timeout and the sellout crowd broke into a deafening chant of "M-V-P! M-V-P!''

    McGrady also set the team record for points in the season, finishing with 2,385. Shaquille O'Neal had 2,377 in 1993-94.

    Pierce tied a Boston record. He shot 15 free throws, making 11, to tie his own team record for foul shots attempted in a season of 738 set two years ago.

    The Celtics shot 40.5 percent, but missed 20 of 28 3-pointers.

    The Celtics need 29 3-pointers in their last two games to break the NBA record for 3s in a season. The 1995-96 Dallas Mavericks sank 735. Boston set the record for 3s attempted earlier this season.

    Game notes

    Magic power forward Drew Gooden missed his third straight game and eighth in the last 12 with a sprained right toe. He might return Monday night in Atlanta. ... Boston was missing foward/center Tony Battie (right knee) and Bimbo Coles (ill mother). ... Boston has lost nine of its last 11 games in Orlando. ... With its win at Indiana on Friday, Orlando clinched its 11th straight season with a .500 record or better. That run is tied with Charlotte/New Orleans for the fourth-longest active streak in the NBA, behind Utah, Seattle and Portland. ... The sellout was Orlando's sixth of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 89
    FGM-FGA 30-74 (.405) 31-78 (.397)
    3PM-3PA 8-28 (.286) 9-23 (.391)
    FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 18-23 (.783)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-40 10-44
    Assists 18 17
    Turnovers 17 15
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 6 3
    Fast Break Points 1 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 22 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Antoine Walker Walker
    Points: 21
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Tracy McGrady McGrady
    Points: 37
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0