The Magic (10-3) dictated play early, weathered numerous runs by the Celtics (9-4) and ended the game on a 5-0 run after Boston finally tied it.
The Celtics are now 3-4 since a 6-0 start with three of the losses coming at home.
On that note, that’s four wins in the last six games at TD Garden for Orlando. C’s coach Doc Rivers downplayed any big rivalry between the teams, but if what they have continues to grow, the Magic can be comfortable coming in here and stealing a big game.
Fittingly, this one ended on a brick from about 27 feet by Rasheed Wallace, who paced Boston’s 2-of-19 effort from 3-point range with an ugly 0-of-8 showing.
The Celtics have a day off to mull this one over before facing the New York Knicks on the road Sunday afternoon. Check back here for all the action in that one.
Fourth quarter, 58.4, Magic 82-78: Vince Carter has missed 19 shots in this game but most of his makes have come at key moments, ending Celtics runs.
His latest basket, a fadeaway to snap a 78-78 tie, could prove to be the biggest.
Fourth quarter, 2:53, 78-78: Like a climb up Everest, the Celtics have finally tied the Magic after roughly 42 minutes playing from behind.
All it took was a drive to the basket, of all things. Rasheed Wallace, 0-for-7 from the arc, converted a short jumper on a feed from Paul Pierce underneath.
On the past few possessions you have heard a groan from fans each time a Celtic touches the ball outside, hoping they won’t launch and miss another one.
The Celtics last led 6-5 with over nine minutes left in the first quarter.
Fourth quarter, 4:49, Magic 75-74: You get the feeling that if the Celtics ever retake the lead, or even forge a tie, that they will win. Doing so is another matter.
Boston has been within a basket numerous times in the second half but has missed or turned the ball over each time.
Rasheed Wallace’s latest miss from 3-point range — his seventh in as many attempts — kissed away the last opportunity.
Fourth quarter, 6:23, Magic 75-70: The Celtics kept firing them up there and one had to go in.
After nine straight misses from 3-point range, including a handful in the last few minutes, Eddie House hits one to cut it three points.
As has been the case all night, Orlando has an answer to push it back to five midway through the fourth.
Fourth quarter, 10:05, Magic 66-63: A pair of layups by Ray Allen and the Celtics have again cut it to three points.
Allen has performed great with the second unit tonight, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the second and fourth quarters when several reserves have been on with him.
Fourth quarter, 11:59, Magic 66-59: The Celtics will go with a unique lineup of Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and Rasheed Wallace to start the fourth quarter.
End of third quarter, Magic 66-59: Every time the Celtics have made a push the Magic have had an answer, a great example of Orlando’s composure in this building.
Including the playoff matchup in May, the Magic have won three of the last five meetings in TD Garden and are 12 minutes from making it four of six.
Despite Vince Carter missing on a 3-point heave at the buzzer, the Magic continue to control things from the perimeter. They are 9-of-20 from long range compared to the Celtics’ 1-of-11 mark. Rasheed Wallace is the primary culprit for Boston, missing all five of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Third quarter, 2:45, Magic 64-57: The fans love their Brian Scalabrine time and Doc Rivers has to be pleased with it as well tonight.
Scalabrine popped off the bench for the first time in the game to spell Kevin Garnett and proceeded to draw a charge on his first trip up court.
Third quarter, 3:42, Magic 63-54: Vince Carter hit a 3-pointer and then made a wide-open jumper after easily losing Ray Allen.
The complete lack of defense on the play prompted Doc Rivers to immediately signal for Marquis Daniels to take Allen’s place.
Third quarter, 5:52, Magic 58-52: Rajon Rondo took over in the third quarter of Wednesday’s win over Golden State.
As this one gets a bit chippy underneath it sets up well for him to do the things that set him part.
As I type that he makes a steal underneath, although the possession goes nowhere for the Celtics.
Third quarter, 7:25, Magic 55-48: The Kendrick Perkins foul brigade has arrived here in the third quarter.
After being whistled for a questionable blocking foul, Perkins gets called for pushing Matt Barnes out of bounds 25 feet from the basket.
He then got right in the official’s face and let’s just say didn’t hold back before picking up a technical.
With five fouls and a hot head that will be the last we see of Perkins for a bit.
Third quarter, 9:58, Magic 49-44: The sight that every Celtics fan fears — Kevin Garnett coming up lame.
Rest easy. He appears OK and it looked like he only turned an ankle this time. Rasheed Wallace was set to replace him but Garnett waved him back to the bench.
Third quarter, 10:17, Magic 49-44: Mickael Pietrus hits a 3-pointer here early in the third quarter, Orlando’s seventh of the game.
Kevin Garnett has all four points of the third for Boston, which still has trailed since very early.
Another powerful dunk by Dwight Howard won’t help the Celtics’ cause.
Halftime, 43-40: Boston trims a 16-pointer first-quarter deficit to three at the half and carries all the momentum into the break.
The Magic were a dismal 4-of-18 and turned the ball over seven times in the second quarter.
The Celtics had a couple of chances to tie or take the lead in the last minute. First, Rasheed Wallace missed an open look at a 3-pointer and then Rajon Rondo threw the ball away with just seconds remaining.
On a side note, Paul Pierce, who was honored during a timeout for recently passing Isiah Thomas on the all-time NBA scoring list, had 10 points in the half to surpass Chet Walker and move into 47th place. Next up for Pierce? Former Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen, in 46th with 18,940 career points.
Off for a coffee. It should be an entertaining second half so stick around.
Second quarter, 2:50, Magic 39-35: On cue, Ray Allen makes the Celtics’ first 3-pointer of the game nearly 21 minutes in to get Boston within four points.
Second quarter, 4:22, Magic 38-32: Ray Allen, who recorded nothing more than two personal fouls in the first quarter has provided quite a lift here in the second, despite just tossing up an air-ball that Rajon Rondo caught and tossed in to cut it to six.
Allen has four points, a rebound, an assist and a steal in the past few minutes. Rondo just stripped an Orlando player and left the ball for Allen, who soared from the circle for a jam that really brought this place to life.
Second quarter, 5:43, Magic 35-26: There has been a slight reversal this quarter, as the Magic continue to miss in the second while the Celtics are beginning to get a few breaks, as evidenced by the fortunate roll Rajon Rondo got moments ago on a short jumper.
Orlando is 3-of-13 from the field in the second. Boston is 5-of-10 and can get within seven with a basket on the possession out of the break. The C’s haven’t been that close since early on.
Second quarter, 7:45, Magic 33-22: Add Vince Carter to the list of Magic swingmen giving the Celtics fits.
Carter just followed his own miss with a jumper to push the lead back to double digits. Carter has eight points, two rebounds and two assists.
Second quarter, 9:47, Magic 29-20: It is a 7-0 run for the C’s to start the second quarter, fueled by the second unit.
The Magic have suddenly gone ice-cold, missing their first five shots of the quarter. Anthony Johnson just about broke the backboard on a wide-open 3-point try.
Second quarter, 11:26, Magic 29-15: We are underway in a suddenly critical second quarter, but first a note about the first quarter score.
The 29 points scored by Orlando in the first quarter matches the highest total for a Celtics opponent in the opening 12 minutes this season, and Boston’s 13 points were easily the team’s lowest total for a quarter.
End of first quarter, Magic 29-13: One might call that a bad first quarter for the Celtics, and it was, but the credit should be given to the Magic, who controlled play throughout.
Orlando repeatedly clogged the lane, making it very difficult for Boston to get anything easy, and the C’s shooters simply couldn’t keep up with the likes of Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus from the outside.
Lewis and Pietrus combined for 20 points.
The Magic made 5-of-7 3-pointers, held the Celts to 5-of-24 shooting overall and finished the period on a 24-7 run.
First quarter, 2:56, Magic 24-13: Rashard Lewis likely doesn’t mind the many “Steroids” chants being rained down upon him as long as he plays like this.
Lewis, who served a suspension to start the season for testing for a banned substance, has nine points early on. He proved to be a difficult matchup for the Celtics in the playoffs.
Kevin Garnett just gave the Celtics something to build on in an otherwise ugly start by burying a turnaround and getting fouled to convert a three-point play.
First quarter, 4:08, Magic 22-8: The Celtics are now shooting 21 percent (3-of-13) to the Magic’s 73 percent (8-of-11).
First quarter, 5:51, Magic 17-6: Ray Allen just picked up two fouls seconds apart and was replaced by Marquis Daniels, who pays instant dividends by helping to force a turnover.
First quarter, 6:38, Magic 17-6: That last post looks pretty bad as the Magic exploded for 12 straight points in the course of my typing it, forcing Doc Rivers to call a timeout.
Orlando is 7-of-8 from the floor and has hit three of its four attempts from long range, just what Rivers was hoping to avoid.
In nearly six minutes all the Celtics have to show for themselves is a jumper by Paul Pierce, two free throws by Pierce and a putback by Kendrick Perkins.
First quarter, 6:53, Magic 15-6: Some nice defense early on as the Celtics force a 24-second violation and then Ray Allen gets bottled up by two Magic players and it goes the other way.
Orlando ends that by getting a thunderous dunk from Dwight Howard, a 3-pointer from Mickael Pietrus, a reverse from Vince Carter and another 3-pointer by Pietrus to put together the game’s first significant run.
First quarter, 11:00, 2-2: We are underway here at a packed TD Garden.
Just a stat to show how close these two teams are right now: They both just came off 14-point wins on Wednesday to improve to 9-3, both getting six players into double figures.
Vince Carter hits a jumper on a curl to get things started, but Kendrick Perkins answers for the C’s
7:50 p.m.: Doc Rivers started a bit early tonight so we missed a few answers but he did comment on the state of things for the Celtics and Orlando.
“They’re not where they want to be, we’re clearly not where we want to be,” Rivers said. “We’re both trying to become the teams that might play later on…I don’t think [the rivalry] is that deep yet.”
Rivers cited three keys to the game. Rivers said Boston must stop dribble penetration, avoid double teams on defense and do what it can to not clog the middle, all efforts which would limit the looks from the outside that the Magic love.
Orlando ranks second in the NBA in both 3-pointers made and attempted.
While Rivers downplayed the rivalry an increased media presence suggests there is some interest. As Rivers talked with roughly two dozen reporters in a hallway outside the Celtics’ locker room, Rasheed Wallace strolled past and yelled to Rivers to wrap it up, citing a fire hazard with the media horde clogging up the hall.
Boston goes with its usual starting five while Orlando trots out Jason Williams and Vince Carter at guard, Mickael Pietrus and Rashard Lewis at forward and Dwight Howard underneath.
7:05 p.m.: We are about an hour from tip and minutes from Celtics coach Doc Rivers’ meeting with reporters.
I will be back in a bit with any news from Rivers and a look at the lineups for tonight.
10:59 a.m.: The Celtics get their first crack at the team that ended their playoff run in the spring when they host the Orlando Magic at TD Garden. We will be courtside covering this one so be sure to follow along.
Tip is set for 8:00 p.m.
Boston held a 3-2 lead in its Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with Orlando before dropping the final two games of the series, including a Game 7 at home by 19 points.
The first of four matchups this season pits a pair of 9-3 teams against one another.
The Celtics are coming off a 109-95 win over Golden State here on Wednesday. Paul Pierce led six double-figures scorers with 19 points and Rajon Rondo had 18 and 12 assists.
Kevin Garnett, who was absent during the playoff loss to the Magic, chipped in 12 points.
Orlando also got six players into double figures in a 108-94 defeat of Oklahoma City on Wednesday, the Magic’s third straight victory. In only his second game back from a substance abuse suspension, Rashard Lewis had 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Lewis scored at least 17 points in each of the seven playoff meetings with Boston in May.
Just as it was in that series, Orlando will be without starting point guard Jameer Nelson, out 4-6 weeks following left knee surgery.