Nelson Leads Magic Over Celtics
Posted Nov 14 2006 12:34AM
Orlando 92, Boston 89
BOSTON, Nov. 13 (AP)-- Orlando Magic coach Brian Hill didn't panic when his young team found itself trailing for the first time in the game late in the fourth quarter.
Instead of calling a timeout, he let the Magic play through their struggles.
Hill's confidence was rewarded when Grant Hill scored two of his 18 points on a go-ahead layup with 1:30 remaining to lift the Magic to a 92-89 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
``You just have to keep your composure, stay calm and do what's necessary,'' Grant Hill said. ``Teams are going to make runs, and they did. But we did all those things, we kept our composure and got the win.''
After the Magic blew an 11-point third-quarter lead and an eight-point fourth-quarter lead, Hill's layup made the score 85-84 and gave Orlando the advantage for good. Following a Delonte West miss, Trevor Ariza made one free throw and Nelson scored on a layup to make it a two-possession game.
Nelson then followed Paul Pierce's basket with a 22-footer with 12 seconds remaining to seal the game. Nelson also had seven assists and five rebounds.
``This is one of the games that when you look at the first 10 games, you look at and you say, 'This is a game we should have won,''' Boston coach Doc Rivers said. ``We stopped scoring. We stopped moving the ball. So that hurt us.''
Orlando improved to 3-1 in games decided by five points or less after going 10-14 in those contests last year. The Magic also won their second consecutive road game after going just 10-31 on the road last year.
Simply put, this was the type of game the Magic struggled with last year.
``That's a good experience for us to go behind by one towards the end of the game and have to execute to get back on top,'' Brian Hill said. ``We're coming off a season where we won 10 games on the road, so to fall behind and come back will give our guys a lot of confidence.''
The Celtics, on the other hand, blew a late lead for the second straight game. Boston led by as many as 25 in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth quarter in Saturday's 94-93 loss at Cleveland.
This time, the Celtics trailed the entire time until Kendrick Perkins gave them an 84-83 lead with 2:35 remaining. But that was only time Boston led.
``We showed our inability to get stops down the stretch again,'' Pierce said. ``That's the story of our season.''
Pierce scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and West added 13 off the bench for the Celtics, who have lost three straight and are off to their worst start since the 1978-79 season with a 1-6 record.
Hill scored seven quick points to help the Magic (5-3) take first-quarter leads of 15-4 and 20-9.
The Celtics closed to gap to two points on three occasions in the second quarter, but Hill sparked another surge with back-to-back jumpers to help Orlando extend its lead to 45-37 by halftime.
Pierce was just 1-for-8 in the first half and Boston shot 30 percent as a team.
Notes: Boston center Theo Ratliff missed his fifth game of the season with a sore lower back. ... The Celtics are in the midst of a four-game in six-day stretch. ... Hill returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game in Minnesota to rest. ... Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu played after missing Sunday's practice with an illness. ... Leon Powe had 10 points and seven rebounds in his NBA debut. ... Orlando guard Keyon Dooling was ejected with 3:47 remaining in the fourth quarter after a flagrant foul on Wally Szczerbiak.
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