Nelson, Magic hold off Celtics
Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Jameer Nelson scored 24 points, including five
in the final minute, leading the Orlando Magic to a 92-89 victory over the
struggling Boston Celtics.
Grant Hill totaled 18 points and Dwight Howard had a huge night with 17 points
and 15 rebounds for the Magic, who won for just the second time in their last
11 trips to Boston. Trevor Ariza had 10 points for Orlando, which has won four
of its last five overall.
Paul Pierce had 21 points for the Celtics, who fell to 1-6 on the season.
Wally Szczerbiak had 14 points, but threw away a chance for a potential tying
shot at the end.
Boston had the lead once the entire game, at 84-83 after Kendrick Perkins hit
a layup off a feed from Rajon Rondo with 2:35 remaining. That came just over a
minute after Orlando’s Keyon Dooling was ejected for a hard foul on
Hill then drove along the baseline for a basket to give the Magic the lead for
good again at 85-84 with 1:30 left.
After Delonte West missed a jumper for Boston, Ariza hit a free throw. He
missed the second, but the Magic got the offensive rebound and Nelson scooped
a shot off the backboard to make it 88-84 with 42.6 seconds left.
Pierce’s layup cut Boston’s deficit to two points, but Nelson came up huge
again, hitting another jumper from the left wing with 12 seconds left.
Pierce then missed a three, but Howard made one free throw for a 91-86 Orlando
lead with 6.6 seconds left, seemingly giving the Magic the victory.
A three by Pierce with 2.3 seconds left and one miss by Nelson at the foul
line with 1.8 seconds remaining left the score at 92-89. Szczerbiak then
inbounded the ball from under Boston’s basket, but his pass sailed long and
over the end line, sealing Orlando’s win.
Orlando scored the first five points and led 24-22 after one quarter. The
Magic extended to a 45-37 cushion at the half and the lead was 66-61 going
into the fourth.
This was the start of a three-game homestand for the Celtics with contests
upcoming against Indiana and Portland…This was the finale of a three-game
swing for the Magic, who lost at Indiana Friday and beat Minnesota
Saturday. The Magic host Denver on Wednesday…Orlando has won four of the
last five meetings…West had 13 points and Ryan Gomes scored 12 for the
Celtics, who shot 38.3 percent from the field, compared to 53.5 percent for
Orlando…The Magic missed all eight of their three-point shots.