NBA: Magic top Boston to snap Celtics’ streak
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Brandon Bass scored 21 points and the Orlando Magic ended the Boston Celtics’ 14-game winning streak with an 86-78 victory Saturday.
Hedo Turkoglu added 16 points while Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick each made a jumper in the final minutes to help Orlando rally from 12 points down in the second half for back-to-back wins against the NBA’s best. The Magic also ended San Antonio’s 10-game winning streak earlier this week to win for the first time since orchestrating a pair of blockbuster trades.
Kevin Garnett had 22 points, Paul Pierce scored 18 points but injuries finally caught up with the Celtics against the team they ousted in last season’s Eastern Conference finals. Boston had not lost since Nov. 21 at Toronto.
The Celtics again seemed to frustrate Orlando for most of the game.
They had Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard in foul trouble for the first three quarters. He didn’t even score his first field goal until a minute into the fourth quarter, a hook shot over Glen Davis to trim Boston’s lead to four.
A few plays later, Howard was wrestling with Shaquille O’Neal for position when he drew a sixth foul on O’Neal by easily falling to the ground. The Magic would tie the score at 77 on Bass’ short jumper with 1:56 remaining and runaway from there.
Nelson followed with a 3-pointer, leaving his hand in the air and chest-bumping teammate Jason Richardson in a frantic celebration near the bench. After Garnett made one of two free throws, Redick rolled in a jumper from about 20 feet.
Ray Allen and Nate Robinson each had airballs in the final seconds, and Nelson made four free throws to seal another huge victory for a Magic team that was falling apart only days early. Two trades so far have made all the difference.
The Magic brought Gilbert Arenas from Washington and Richardson, Turkoglu and Earl Clark from Phoenix. They gave up Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat, plus a 2011 first-round draft pick and cash, in the deals.
The moves were good enough to beat a battered Boston that finally ran out of ways to keep winning.
Point guard Rajon Rondo agains was out with a sprained ankle and had missed seven of the 14 wins during the streak. Backup Delonte West has missed the last 13. Shaquille O’Neal sat out four, Jermaine O’Neal played for the first time in 14 games against Orlando and Kendrick Perkins – last season’s starting center – hasn’t even played this season.
NOTES: The game was actually a home contest for several Celtics. Boston C Shaquille O’Neal and coach Doc Rivers have lived in the Orlando area for years and Daniels is from Orlando. … Tiger Woods was sitting courtside. … The Celtics and Magic don’t meet again until Jan. 17 in Boston.