This past Monday, Orlando Magic beat the Boston Celtics 96-92 in a thrilling overtime, and kept alive their chances in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Final. On the verge of elimination, the leadership of center Dwight Howard supported the Orlando Magic. He finished with 32 points and 16 rebounds and helped to break the tight defense of Boston. This victory meant the prolongation of the series, in which Boston has the lead of 3-1.
The battle was very even throughout the whole game. During the first half, both teams started really energetic exchanging baskets back and forth for several minutes. However, Orlando got a good run and obtained a lead of 8 points, 23-15 with 3:26 left.
This was the biggest lead that the Magic had in the quarter. Nevertheless, the Celtics team responded with a run of 7-2 and finished the quarter down by 6 points, 32-26. In the second quarter, Orlando started strong and got a lead of 10 points with 5:47 thanks to the good contribution of its center Dwight Howard, who scored 11 points in the quarter. But then, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett appeared for the Celtics and cut their lead to end the quarter just down by 4 points, 47-51. After the halftime break, the Magic started scoring 5 points to extend their lead to 7. But then Boston responded with 6 points in a row and chased them down to one point 55-56.
After that, the two teams scored back and forth baskets but the Celtics couldn’t surpass Orlando until the end of the quarter, where Boston scored the last six points in a row and obtained the lead by one point, 68-67 with two free throws of Ray Allen. In the last quarter, Orlando started with a run of 7-2 to snatch again the lead with 8:39 left. Then the Celtics responded with several baskets and tied the score in two occasions.
The Orlando Magic reacted with some great plays to extend its lead to 7 points, 85-78 with 2:24. A three pointer of Allen, two baskets and a free throw from Pierce gave them the opportunity to tide the game, 86-86. At the end despite the attempt of a jump shot of Pierce and then of Jameer Nelson in the final seconds, none of the two teams could attain the victory so they went to overtime.
Neither team scored points in the first 2:18 minutes of OT until Nelson hit a three pointer and added another one 43 seconds later for Orlando. Allen then scored a three pointer and Howard responded quickly by tipping the ball and getting foul. However, Howard missed the free throw and Allen hit another three-pointer to put the scoreboard 94-92.
Then, Howard took advantage of Nelson’s missed shot to score when there were only 53 seconds left, increasing their lead to 96-92. In the next offensive move, Garnett missed a pass that Pierce's couldn’t catch and the ball went to the bleachers. Pierce then missed a pair of three pointers in the final seconds and the game ended in favor of Orlando 96-92. The best scorers for the Orlando Magic were Dwight Howard with 32 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks; Jameer Nelson with 23 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds; Rashard Lewis with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists; JJ Redick with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals; and ultimately Matt Barnes with 10 points and 7 rebounds. For the Boston Celtics the best scorers were Paul Pierce with 32 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals; Ray Allen with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals; Kevin Garnett with 14 points and 12 rebounds; and finally Rajon Rondo with 9 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. The defeat ended the winning streak of six consecutive games for the Celtics, and left the series 3-1 in their favor. The fifth game of the series will be played on Wednesday in Orlando. About the Author Ally White has been a prominent writer on daily NBA games ; sports news and the sportsbetting industry for many exceptional sport web sites. You may reprint this article in its full content, please note no modifications to it are accepted. .