The Orlando Magic stave off elimination in a tense, exciting game, thanks to terrific efforts from Dwight Howard (32 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Jameer Nelson (23 points, 9 assists, including two clutch threes in OT). The Magic were able to overcome 13 missed free throws and 19 turnovers, along with a 31 point effort from Boston's Paul Pierce.
The Magic finally got off to a good start, as the Celtics' had a brief lead of 5-4 before the Magic turned it on, leading by as much as 23-15 in the opening quarter. The Celtics went on a 7-1 run to cut the Magic lead to 24-22, but the Magic went into the second quarter with a 31-26 lead. The Magic maintained their lead in the second quarter, leading by as much as 42-32, but the Celtics made the game close at the half, trailing just 51-47.
The Magic led by as many as 8 points early in the third, but Boston cut the Magic lead to 56-55 with 8:06 remaining. The Magic were able to maintain their slim lead the rest of the quarter, until Ray Allen's 2 free throws in the final minute made the score 68-67 Boston going into the fourth. The Magic took the lead back right away to open the fourth, going ahead 74-70. The Celtics countered with a 6-0 run to lead 76-74 with 5:33 remaining. The Magic then went on a 11-2 run over the next 3:09 to seemingly take control of the game 85-78 with 2:24 remaining. A Ray Allen three and two Paul Pierce buckets along with a free throw tied the game at 86 with 1:16 remaining. There would be no more scoring the final 1:16, as Nelson missed a shot with 17.8 seconds remaining, and Boston could not even get a shot off in their final possession.
Both teams started slow in the OT, as the Magic missed a field goal attempt, two free throws, and committed two turnovers in the first two minutes of the OT, while the Celtics missed all four shots during that span. Nelson then made two clutch three pointers in 43 seconds, with the first three pointer banking in. Two Allen three pointers got the Celtics to within 94-92 with 1:13 remaining, but the Celtics missed their final three shots and committed a turnover while Howard's layup for the Magic with 52.7 seconds remaining provided the final margin of victory.
Magic leading scorers
Dwight Howard: 32 points (13 of 19 FGs, 6 of 14 FTs), 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, 4 turnovers
Jameer Nelson: 23 points (7 of 14 FGs, 3 of 6 3 PT FGs), 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 6 turnovers
Rashard Lewis: 13 points (4 of 10 FGs, 2 of 3 3 PT FGs), 5 rebounds, 2 steals
J.J. Redick: 12 points (3 of 5 3 PT FGs), 4 turnovers
Matt Barnes: 10 points (4 of 8 FGs, 2 of 6 3 PT FGs), 7 rebounds
Overall Game Statistics
FG%: ORL 44.6% (33 of 74) BOS 42.1% (32 of 76)
3 PT FG%: ORL 35.7% (10 of 28) BOS 27.8% (5 of 18)
FT%: BOS 76.7% (23 of 30) ORL 60.6% (20 of 33)
REB: BOS 47 (10 offensive) ORL 43 (11 offensive)
AST/TO: BOS 19/16 ORL 19/19
BENCH: ORL 15 BOS 12
Other game notes and stats:
-Three Celtics scored in double figures, led by Pierce's 32 points, but shot just 11 of 25 FGs, including 0 for 6 on threes; Ray Allen scored 22 points and shot 5 of 7 from long range, and Kevin Garnett added 14 points and 12 rebounds, but shot just 5 of 12
-Rajon Rondo of the Celtics was held to 9 points on 3 of 10 shooting and 8 assists; Glen Davis added 6 points and 7 rebounds off the bench, while Rasheed Wallace was held to 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting
-The Magic's Vince Carter scored just 3 points on 1 of 9 FGs, including 0 for 3 on threes
-Carter and Mickael Pietrus combined to shoot 1 of 13, including 0 for 6 on threes
-The "Big Three" of the Celtics (Pierce, Allen, and Garnett) scored 68 of the Celtics' 93 points
-The Celtics shot just 2 of 10 in the OT with 1 turnover, while the Magic shot 4 of 7 despite 4 OT turnovers and 3 missed free throws
-Brandon Bass finally saw action as the primary PF backup for the Magic, playing 11 minutes with 3 points and 2 rebounds, and also altered a Celtics' shot
Here is the complete recap and box score