NBA Playoffs: Magic top Celtics 113-92
Associated Press Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. – Not ready to go home just yet, the only place the Orlando Magic are headed is back to Boston.
Halfway to history.
Taking another step toward overcoming an improbable 3-0 series deficit, Dwight Howard had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Magic to a 113-92 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
A series that looked like a sweep a few days ago now has the Celtics taking a slim 3-2 lead into a pressure-packed Game 6 in Boston on Friday night. The Celtics are facing the possibility of playing it without Kendrick Perkins after their starting center picked up his seventh technical foul of the playoffs, a mandatory suspension unless it is overturned.
A potential Game 7 would be in Orlando.
No NBA team has won a series after losing the first three games.
The Magic, seemingly lifeless after a blowout defeat in Game 3, suddenly have hope to be the first. They broke out of their series-long shooting slump, making 13-of-25 3-pointers.
“We just all believe,” guard Jameer Nelson said. “We all believe. We know we can do it, one game at a time.”
Nelson scored 24 points, and J.J. Redick had 14 to help the Magic to a frenetic pace that the Celtics couldn’t sustain. Howard added five blocks as Orlando built an early 14-point lead that was never seriously challenged.
Rasheed Wallace had 21 points, and Ray Allen scored 19 for a Boston team that once seemed on its way to another NBA finals.
Now? The Celtics are stunned and dazed.
Howard’s elbow inadvertently came down on Glen Davis’ face near the basket in the third quarter, giving the Celtics forward a concussion. Davis tried to get up as play continued on the other end, wobbling his way to midcourt, almost falling flat as referee Joey Crawford kept him from tumbling to the hardwood.
Davis did not return, and his status for Game 6 was not immediately announced. The rest of the Celtics continued to crumble, again unable to deliver the knockout blow.
Amid an amped-up Amway Arena, Wallace picked up his third foul during the spurt and taunted Orlando fans all the way to bench. Wallace shouted and screamed to the stands, pointing at his ring finger for the championship he already won with Detroit – a title that has long eluded Orlando.
Things got even worse for the Celtics when Perkins was ejected after he picked up his second technical of the game and seventh of the postseason for arguing with officials. Perkins and Marcin Gortat were whistled for double technicals a few minutes prior after they got tangled up.
That means Perkins, one of the best defenders in the league on Howard, will be suspended for Game 6 unless the NBA rescinds the technical. The league reviews every technical.