NBA Game Summary - Boston at Orlando
(Thursday, January 22nd)
Final Score: Boston 90, Orlando 80
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, as the Boston Celtics topped the Orlando Magic, 90-80, in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference's premier teams.
Not only did Thursday's contest feature the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics and the Southeast Division-leading Magic, but it had two of the premier players.
Boston's Kevin Garnett and Orlando's Dwight Howard were both named All-Star game starters for the Eastern Conference squad on Thursday, by result of fan voting. Howard led all vote-getters with 3,150,181 votes, becoming the first player in balloting history to receive more than three million votes, while Garnett, who led all vote-getters for last year's All-Star contest, received 2,066,833 to lock up a spot for the February 15 showcase in Phoenix.
But Garnett, who scored 16 points Thursday, and the Celtics got the better of Orlando, halting the Magic's seven-game win streak while advancing their own to seven consecutive contests. Glen Davis came off the bench to score 16 points in the win for the Celtics.
"Well, with Baby (Glen Davis) it's all about consistency. I wish that was every night and I'm hoping that it will be every night someday," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers.
Howard, on the other hand, was limited to 11 points and 11 rebounds and fouled out late in the fourth quarter, making only 4-of-10 field goals. Hedo Turkoglu led the Magic with 22 points, while Rashard Lewis ended with 20 points and 10 boards in the loss.
"I thought they were outstanding, especially on the defensive end of the floor, and then even on the offensive end of the floor, especially down the stretch in the fourth quarter," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said about the Celtics.
Already ahead by eight points at the outset of the third quarter, Boston took a 46-36 lead when Kendrick Perkins opened the stanza with a layup. The Celtics' lead grew later in the third, when Pierce, Garnett and Rajon Rondo had a basket each.
The six-point burst put Boston ahead 56-40 with just under six minutes remaining, and though Orlando briefly got its deficit under 10, Pierce ended the frame with a free throw to make it a 65-54 Boston lead after 36 minutes.
While Pierce scored the final six Boston points of the third, Davis kept the Celtics afloat at the beginning of the fourth, scoring the team's first eight points of the stanza.
They prevented a cold-shooting Orlando team -- which missed five shots in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the final quarter -- from getting back in the game. Davis' personal run ended with a jumper with a little under eight minutes to play, pushing Boston's edge to 73-60.
The teams traded baskets down the stretch, and the Celtics held a double-digit advantage until Jameer Nelson made a three and short jumper back-to-back. The shots got Orlando within 82-75 with three minutes remaining.
However, Davis countered with a jumper from the wing, and Boston held on for the win from there.
Boston held a 24-19 lead after a back-and-forth first quarter, and Pierce converted a three-point play to up the Celtics' lead to 29-22 shortly into the second. The visitors held a lead for the remainder of the half, and Rondo's jumper in the final minute gave Boston a 44-36 lead at halftime.
Orlando fell to 16-4 at home this season, while Boston improved to 15-7 on the road...The home team had won the last seven contests in this series...Howard will make his third All-Star game appearance and second start...Garnett will make his 12th All-Star appearance...Orlando shot 38.2 percent from the floor, while Boston made 46.7 percent of its shots -- despite making none of its six three-point attempts.
01/23 01:34:37 ET