Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/28

Game 1: Monday, November 28th
Game 2: Saturday, February 4th
Game 3: Sunday, February 12th
Game 4: Friday, March 17th

Celtics 77

(27-39, 8-25 away)

Magic 84

(24-41, 18-14 home)

7:00 PM ET, March 17, 2006

Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 20 17 24 1677
ORL 20 22 17 2584

Top Performers

Bos: P. Pierce 19 Pts, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

Orl: D. Howard 18 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 6 Blk

Howard's double-double leads Magic's comeback win

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Dwight Howard and Darko Milicic have become a defensive presence in the middle for the Orlando Magic.

Howard had a season-high six blocks and Milicic added four, giving him 14 in the last three games, to help Orlando beat Boston 84-77 on Friday night.

"I've been watching Darko block shots the last couple of games and I just tried to do some of the same things tonight," said Howard, who also had 18 points and 13 rebounds. "The coaches are expecting a big defensive presence from both of us and they got it tonight."

The Magic trailed 61-59 entering the fourth quarter, but limited Boston to just 13 percent (3-for-23) shooting in the final period. It was only the second time in 37 games this season that Orlando has trailed going into the fourth quarter and rallied to win the game.

"Normally, we're a better shooting team than that, but we were seeing shadows everytime we went up for a shot in the paint," said Boston's Wally Szczerbiak, one of only two Celtics to score in double figures with 16 points.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 19.

"I thought we played pretty good defense on them in the fourth quarter," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "Boston missed a lot of makeable shots, but at least we were contesting those shots. We didn't give them many wide open looks and that's really what we're trying to accomplish defensively."

Jameer Nelson had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Orlando, which won for the fourth time in five games.

The Magic had two decisive runs in the final period, both fueled by Hedo Turkoglu, who scored 10 of his 18 points in the quarter. Turkoglu's three-pointer started a 7-0 run that pushed the Magic in front 70-66 with 7:29 left in the game. Then he scored the last four points in an 8-1 run that gave Orlando an 80-72 advantage with 1:47 left in the game.

Boston never got closer than five the rest of the game.

"One of the referees said this was one of the ugliest games he's seen in quite some time and I agree," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Bad turnovers, missed shots, bobbling the ball ... we forced a lot of things we didn't have to. When we kept it simple, there were stretches where we looked beautiful and then there were stretches where we looked pretty bad."

Game notes

The Celtics, who lost in Miami on Thursday night, are 7-23 in back-to-back games this season. ... Turkoglu tied a career-high with four steals. ... LaFrentz is shooting only 31 percent (13-for-42) in his last six games. ... Celtic F Ryan Gomes has more double-doubles (6) than any rookie since the All-Star break.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 77 84
FGM-FGA 26-80 (.325) 32-78 (.410)
3PM-3PA 2-15 (.133) 1-7 (.143)
FTM-FTA 23-26 (.885) 19-27 (.704)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-48 14-45
Assists 16 17
Turnovers 20 13
Steals 5 10
Blocks 2 11
Fast Break Points 16 23
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 19 (2/0)
Largest Lead 8 8

Top Performers

Paul Pierce Pierce
Points: 19
Reb: 7
Ast: 5
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Dwight Howard Howard
Points: 18
Reb: 13
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 6