NBA: Celtics 90, Magic 80
ORLANDO, Fla. ó For much of the last week, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy insisted the Boston Celtics are playing better defense than anyone in the NBA.
His team won’t disagree.
Paul Pierce had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Glen Davis added a season-high 16 points and Boston disrupted everything Orlando wanted offensively, beating the Magic 90-80 in a matchup of two of the league’s elite this season.
Kevin Garnett scored 16 points to help the Celtics (36-9) extend their winning streak to seven games. Ray Allen added 12.
Dwight Howard, who on Thursday became the first player in league history to receive 3 million votes in a season for the All-Star game, was held to a relatively ordinary 11 points and 11 rebounds. He fouled out with 2:30 left.
The Magic (33-9) entered the night with the league’s best record, but saw their run of consecutive victories end at seven.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 22 points, Rashard Lewis finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson scored 17 points for Orlando, whose previous low scoring total this season was 82.
During their winning streak, the Magic averaged 111 points, shot 49 percent and hit an average of 13 3-pointers. But Thursday, Orlando finished 22.3 points below its season average, shot only 38 percent and was a mere 4-for-15 from beyond the arc through three quarters.
Still, when the Magic hit few shots ó and Nelson scored five straight points ó they were within 82-75 with 3:10 remaining.
But Davis hit an 18-footer from the left wing on Boston’s next possession, Howard fouled out seconds later, and the Celtics held on from there.
Boston improved to 33-1 when scoring at least 90 points this season.
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