The Magic led by as many as 28 points in Monday night’s series opener against the Boston Celtics. In his first game back after being suspended, Dwight Howard racked up 16 points, 22 rebounds, and three assists. The Celtics mounted an impressive comeback in the fourth quarter, getting within 3 points on a Paul Pierce 3. With 6.6 left on the clock the Celtics fouled JJ Reddick, who made both shots to give Orlando the 95-90 win.
“The last 16 minutes was a debacle,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said of the Magic’s late-game play. “We were sort of trying to run out the clock, and you can’t do that in games like this. Especially in the playoffs, teams are going to keep fighting and keep coming back.”
Despite the Magic putting the brakes on, Boston had trouble scoring. Both Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins were held to single digits in scoring. Team captain Paul Pierce has led the Celtics to huge playoff comeback wins (down 21 points to Beat New Jersey in 2002, and down 24 points to the Lakers in game 4 of last-year’s finals), but the team was not able to pull it off on Monday. “We can’t wait until we’re down 25, 26 points until we wake up,” Pierce told the AP’s Jimmy Golen. “There’s no excuses for us not to be ready.”
Game 2 of the series will be on Wednesday night at 8pm at the TD Banknorth Garden. Boston Celtics playoff tickets are available now!