The AP reports:
Put away the brooms. Hold off on those “Beat L.A!” chants. The Boston Celtics still have some work to do before they can play for their second NBA title in three years.
Dwight Howard had 32 points and 16 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson made back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime to lead the Orlando Magic to a 96-92 victory over Boston on Monday night to avoid a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference finals…
Paul Pierce had 32 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 12 boards for Boston. Ray Allen hit consecutive 3-pointers in overtime, but Pierce missed two tries in the final minute as the Celtics failed to complete the sweep…
Nelson finished with 23 points and nine assists for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who led by 10 in the second quarter and were up 85-78 with 2:24 left in regulation before Boston scored eight of the next nine points to force overtime at 86-all.
The Boston Globe reports:
Doc Rivers: “We didn’t execute it at all, I can tell you that. It was supposed to be Paul at the top with a pick‑and‑roll with Ray [Allen], and then the floor was supposed to be flat and spaced. When you look at it, half our team was standing next to Paul. The execution was so bad ‑‑ I thought we executed poorly throughout the game. We didn’t make the next rotations, we didn’t make the next pass. It was amazing how bad we were execution‑wise and still had a chance to win that game. That was amazing to me.”
Dwight Howard: “We didn’t win this game just to win a game to say we were in this series. You know, we want to make this a series and win this series. We all have to believe that. I told the guys before the game put out all disbelief, anxiety and fear. We just got to keep playing. We can’t think about losing or think about being swept. We have to think about winning and staying together.”
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
Orlando did build a 10-point lead, its largest of the series, midway in the second period. Howard, using his quickness to elude Kendrick Perkins, keyed the run with two baskets, but the Celtics quickly recovered, Pierce answering with two buckets and Garnett with another.
But the Magic didn’t allow the Celtics to gain momentum, and led 51-47 at halftime.