Celtics beat Magic 92-88 in East Conf Finals Game 1

The AP reports:

The Orlando Magic finally met their match in the playoffs.

Celtics beat Magic 92-88 in East Conf Finals Game 1

Ray Allen scored 25 points, Paul Pierce had 22 and the Boston Celtics used smothering defense to beat the Magic 92-88 on Sunday in the Eastern Conference finals opener.

Rasheed Wallace added 13 points as the Celtics built a 20-point lead, then held on late to snap Orlando’s 14-game winning streak.

Vince Carter had 23 points and Jameer Nelson finished with 20 for Orlando, which cut the lead to two in the final seconds but simply ran out of time, looking rusty after a six-day layoff. Dwight Howard was limited to 13 points and 12 rebounds, nowhere near the dominant force the Magic need to win a title…

Nelson had two quick 3-pointers and another jumper to start the third, moving the Magic within three points. Then it all unraveled.

The Celtics went on a 22-5 run later in the quarter to go ahead 65-45, and a crowd littered with blue and white T-shirts—deafening at times with noise clickers and claps—was silenced. But the Magic rallied late to cut the lead to three with 26 seconds remaining in the fourth on a dunk by Howard…

InsideHoops.com notes:

The Celtics defense was the star today. Orlando shot 41.6% and only hit 5-of-22 from three-point range. Boston only hit 44.6% of their shots, but they were stronger from outside with 6-of-14 threes.

In addition to his 22 points, Pierce had nine rebounds, five assists (but five turnovers) and two steals.

Orlando hit the offensive boards hard, grabbing 15 to Boston’s seven.

The entire Magic team had just 10 assists.

Dwight Howard shot just 3-of-10, had five blocks, but seven turnovers with two assists. He struggled.

Rasheed Wallace shot just 3-of-9 off Boston’s bench.

Kendrick Perkins only had four points and two rebounds, plus an awful five turnovers, but also delivered three steals and two blocks.

Marcin Gortat and J.J. Redick provided nice sparks for the Magic off the bench.

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