Celtics beat Magic 95-92 to take 2-0 leadPosted by Inside Hoops
Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times reports:
Paul Pierce spent a majority of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals scoring or sprawling on the floor.
Whether the fouls he drew were phantom or flagrant, Pierce collected plenty of them, emptying his bag of tricks in Boston’s 95-92 victory Tuesday over the Orlando Magic, staking the Celtics to a 2-0 lead in the series.
Before the game, the Celtics uniformly chanted, “Let’s be greedy,” as they jogged onto the Amway Arena court. They were. The Celtics can claim their 21st conference title and a ticket to the N.B.A. finals by winning the next two games in Boston.
“These games are meaningful and guys are happy that we’re winning, but we know what our ultimate goal is and we don’t want to get complacent,” Pierce said.
Pierce scored 28 points, toying with Vince Carter and J. J. Redick, and made 9 of 11 foul shots, including two with 34.7 seconds left that stretched Boston’s lead to 95-92. Pierce fouled out on the next possession, and Carter, who promised after his trade to Orlando that he would take the clutch shots, missed both free throws.
The Sports Network reports:
Pierce fouled out with 31.9 seconds left and Boston clinging to a 95-92 lead, then watched from the bench as Vince Carter missed two free throws. After a Kevin Garnett miss, the Magic had one last chance, which ended in Jameer Nelson’s off-balance 30-foot heave that drew air just short of the rim.
Rajon Rondo added 25 points with eight assists and five boards while Garnett and Kendrick Perkins donated 10 points apiece for Boston, which gets to rest until Saturday’s Game 3 with a 2-0 series edge.
Dwight Howard, in a far better effort than his 13-point showing on Sunday, scored a game-best 30 points with eight rebounds, while Carter and JJ Redick added 16 points apiece for Orlando.
Gary Dzen of the Boston Globe reports (via blog):
The Celtics led by eight points at the end of the third quarter, and Rasheed Wallace threatened to put the game out of reach when he started the fourth with a three-pointer to put the Celtics up 81-70. But as they had done all game the Magic answered, cutting the lead to 85-83 at the 6:57 mark in the fourth. Vince Carter put them ahead 90-89 with a jumper with 3:36 remaining. A turnaround jumper by Kevin Garnett was the game’s only scoring until Rajon Rondo’s jumper with 1:33 left put the Celtics up 93-90.
The teams traded a Jameer Nelson layup and Pierce free throws and the Celtics clung to a 95-92 lead with 34.7 seconds left. On the next possession, Vince Carter drew the sixth foul on Pierce, but Carter missed both free throws, giving the Celtics the ball back with a three-point lead. Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy elected not to foul, and despite a miss by Garnett, the Magic got the ball back with only 3.5 seconds remaining after J.J. Redick delayed in calling a timeout.