Rajon Rondo finishes with 26 points and seven assists, Paul Pierce adds 18 points, and Kevin Garnett drops 16. Kendrick Perkins, oddly, piles up 13 rebounds without scoring a single point.
Ray Allen is now three 3-pointers away from tying Reggie Miller for the most in NBA history.
Dwight Howard leads the Magic with 28 points and 13 rebounds, but the supporting cast is absolutely atrocious in defeat. The Magic shoot 34.4 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from 3 as a team.
The Celtics hit the road right away after this one. They'll be watching the Super Bowl on a flight to Charlotte, where they take on the Bobcats on Monday night.
Fourth quarter, 2:25, Celtics 87-73: The Magic finally get a stop, as their airtight defense leads to a Boston shot-clock violation. But it looks like a little too little, too late.
The C's are just over two minutes away from wrapping this thing up.
Fourth quarter, 4:10, Celtics 83-71: The Celtics went a little bit stagnant for a bit, but it's back now. Rajon Rondo plows his way to the hoop and gets the basket and the foul. The C's lead is back to 12.
Rondo and Dwight Howard now have 26 points each. Quite a showdown between the two young stars.
Fourth quarter, 5:37, Celtics 79-67: Orlando's shooting has been horrendously atrociously maddeningly stupefyingly bad in this game. The numbers: 28-for-86 from the field (32.6 percent), and 2-for-21 from 3 (9.5 percent).
Getting up 86 shots in 42 minutes is pretty impressive, but if you can't make them, no one cares. The Magic have been awful today. They've got to start hitting shots.
Fourth quarter, 7:10, Celtics 77-63: The Celtics aren't backing down. Their 14-point lead is still intact, the Magic offense is still dead, and now the C's are sending Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen back into the game.
The C's are in position to finish the deal here.
Fourth quarter, 9:36, Celtics 73-61: The Magic's offense is still dead. The C's open their lead to 13 again, as Glen Davis knocks down a jumper off a Pierce assist; the Magic have yet to score in the fourth quarter.
Kendrick Perkins has been a force in this game defensively. He's got 12 rebounds, two blocks and a steal. His presence down low has been huge in disrupting the Magic.
End of third quarter, Celtics 70-61: With a little offensive jolt from J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson, the Magic start to sneak their way back into this game.
They're not going to die quietly. Look for Howard to reassert himself in the fourth quarter. If he can turn it on again, then all bets are off.
Third quarter, 1:40, Celtics 70-57: After a long scoring drought, the Magic run a pick-and-roll to get J.J. Redick a drive to the basket. Redick burns Davis and Perkins to get a quick two.
The Celtics' lead is still 13. It's hard to believe they trailed this game for most of the first half. They've dominated it since.
Third quarter, 3:35, Celtics 70-55: Rondo to KG, who scores easily inside. The Celtics' lead has ballooned to 15.
Dwight Howard hasn't made a basket in this third quarter. The Magic need to look for other ways to get their offense together. Howard can't post up Perk, and his teammates can't make a jumper to save their lives.
The C's are on their way to winning the regular-season series with their East rivals.
Third quarter, 5:48, Celtics 61-49: Rajon Rondo clearly isn't afraid to take over the offense himself. He's doing plenty of it today — he's got 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He's even knocking down an 18-foot jump shot. If he keeps hitting that, there's no telling how he can be stopped.
The C's have their biggest lead of the game at 12. If they can keep getting stops, they'll hold it.
Third quarter, 7:48, Celtics 59-48: The Celtics have pushed their lead to 11 in the third quarter. The offense keeps clicking, and the C's keep closing out possessions and getting rebounds.
The C's have really rallied since Marquis Daniels' exit in the second quarter. They were down 24-17 at that point; they're on a 42-24 run since.
Third quarter, 10:31, Celtics 53-43: The Celtics open the third quarter with a bang. Three of them, actually.
The C's get one bucket each from Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and… Ray Allen, who's now three 3s away from tying Reggie Miller for the all-time record.
It's a 7-0 run to open the second half, and 17-3 dating back to the end of the first. Not bad.
Halftime, Celtics 46-43: The Celtics go on a 7-0 run near the end of the second quarter, and for now, they're in control of this ballgame. For everything they've been through, having a three-point lead at the break is pretty impressive.
Amid countless fouls, shoving matches and a scary injury to Marquis Daniels, the C's sneak into the locker room up 46-43. Despite a massive 22 points and six rebounds from Dwight Howard, the C's have the lead thanks to a solid, balanced team effort.
Rajon Rondo leads the way with 13 for the Celtics, who are looking to "win one for Quis" on their home floor.
Second quarter, 2:51, Magic 40-36: Dwight Howard is still going strong. After a winded Kendrick Perkins comes out and Glen Davis goes back in, Howard goes to down on Big Baby, posting him up easily.
Howard's now got 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting. It's not even halftime yet. This is just unfair.
Second quarter, 5:47, Magic 30-27: After the tech and then his third personal foul shortly thereafter, Jameer Nelson is probably done for the first half. Howard is still on the floor, but he's starting to miss shots and Perk's intensity has taken him out of the game.
The Celtics have their starting five on the floor to close out the half. Now is their chance to go on a run.
Second quarter, 8:41, Magic 25-20: There's a newfound energy in the building now, with the Celtics rallying behind the fallen Daniels. Perkins gets fired up and fouls Dwight Howard; Howard retaliates and gets both himself and Jameer Nelson T'd up. The once-silent Garden is loud again now.
Let's see if the Celtics can ride this momentum toward retaking the lead. It's not out of the question.
Second quarter, 11:01, Magic 24-17: Marquis Daniels is the next casualty, and this looks bad. Daniels is on the floor, not moving at all, and the medical staff has called for a stretcher to carry him off.
Daniels was trying to drive by Gilbert Arenas, he got tripped up, and he fell to the floor hard and fast. He hit the ground face-first, and he hasn't gotten up. It's been over five minutes.
This is a serious injury. A concussion, at the very least. Possibly worse. He may have hurt his neck. At the moment, it's difficult to say.
End of first quarter, Magic 22-17: The Celtics are down three bodies already — Glen Davis (bruised head, according to Celtics PR, whatever that means), Rajon Rondo (foul trouble) and Kendrick Perkins (exhausted from trying to muscle Dwight around). All things considered, being down just five isn't bad.
The Magic have gotten 12 points from Howard and four each from Jameer Nelson and Earl Clark. Yes, that Earl Clark.
The C's offense is still trying to get started. Rondo had six points early, and Paul Pierce has since added six, but the team effort hasn't really come together yet. Give it time — it will.
First quarter, 2:44, Magic 20-12: Dwight Howard checks out for a quick breather, having already poured in 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
This is the Celtics' chance to chip away. This Magic team is significantly weaker on both ends of the floor with the youngster Earl Clark in Howard's place.
First quarter, 3:57, Magic 16-9: Scary moment for the Celtics, as Glen Davis collides with Jameer Nelson at the rim and comes down hard, banging his head on the Garden parquet.
It takes Big Baby about two minutes to get up on his own power, at which point he heads straight to the locker room.
Semih Erden will enter in Baby's place. We'll have updates on Baby's health as soon as possible.
First quarter, 4:37, Magic 14-9: Paul Pierce just drove the lane, got to the basket, and got an and-1 from Dwight Howard. Swish goes the free throw.
That should breathe a little life into the Celtics, who just looked dead offensively for these first seven mintues.
First quarter, 5:46, Magic 14-6: Rajon Rondo just called for a very questionable charging call, as he runs into a flailing Ryan Anderson in the lane. Didn't look like Anderson had anything even resembling position in front of Rondo.
Rondo's still the only Celtic producing — he's got all six points on 2-of-4 shooting. The rest of the C's are a combined 0-for-6. But now Rondo has to check out early due to foul trouble, and Nate Robinson gets some early burn.
First quarter, 6:46, Magic 12-4: Rajon Rondo scores for the second time, getting a layup credited to him on a goaltend by Dwight Howard.
No one else is doing much of anything offensively. The Celtics need to start running their stuff, but Dwight's presence alone is throwing them all out of whack.
First quarter, 9:01, Magic 6-2: Both teams are chucking plenty of 3s early, but they're not going in. The Magic miss on their first attempt of the day, from Hedo Turkoglu; the Celtics brick their first two.
Both teams are struggling to establish the post game, with the exception of a couple early Howard buckets. The Celtics look petrified of putting the ball into the paint, with good reason.
First quarter, 11:42, Magic 2-0: Dwight Howard gets off to a good start, plowing his way through Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins for an easy bucket.
That should send the C's an early message, loud and clear. Stopping Superman won't be easy. Perk has to step up.
1:45 p.m.: It's official — Shaq isn't playing, so it'll be Perk and Howard going mano y mano.
For only his second start of the season, that's a daunting matchup for the Celtics' big man. But he's a competitor, so he'll get up for it, rest assured.
C's coach Doc Rivers said today that Shaquille O'Neal wouldn't play Sunday or Monday, and maybe even not at all before the All-Star break. Whether he wants it or not, Perk will get plenty of extra minutes.
12:45 p.m.: Welcome to the TD Garden, where the C's and Magic will meet Sunday for the last time this season.
Well, until May at least.
The Magic won the first meeting on Christmas; the Celtics got revenge in January. This one's for all the (well, regular-season) marbles.
Shaquille O'Neal is not expected to play for Boston; Kendrick Perkins is again likely to start in his place. We'll have confirmation of that soon — C's coach Doc Rivers addresses the media at 1:30.
8 a.m.: Let's be honest about something for a second. There's not a lot of glory in being the second-most viewed sporting event in America. Not on Sunday — not when the biggest happens to be the prime-time TV event of the year.
The Celtics aren't going to mince words about it. They know the truth.
"Is the Super Bowl a holiday in America?" Ray Allen asked. "It should be. Everybody's at home watching — the game, the commercials. We play on every holiday, I've come to that conclusion. Nobody will be watching us."
Maybe Allen's right, to some extent — the Celtics won't exactly rule the ratings on Sunday afternoon, not with the main event of Packers-Steelers on deck. Super Sunday afternoon's a time to get together with friends, enjoy good food and good drinks, and maybe watch a little of the pregame show. Basketball? What basketball?
But maybe America should make an exception. Dwight Howard and the Magic are in town, taking on the Celtics for the third time in as many months. Orlando won one at their place, Boston returned the favor, and now it's time for round three.
Kendrick Perkins is likely to start again, taking on Howard for the first time since the two butted heads in the East finals last spring. The C's backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen will go up against Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson.
Each team has won one regular-season battle, and it's time to decide the regular-season war. The C's and Magic tip off at 2:30 p.m. at the TD Garden.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP