By John Denton
November 25, 2012
ORLANDO – Reminiscing before Sunday’s game to a time 13 years ago when he was the head coach of the Orlando Magic, Doc Rivers talked of his ``Heart and Hustle’’ squad being difficult to play against because no one in the NBA could replicate just how hard they played.
In the days leading up to Sunday’s showdown between Orlando and Boston, Rivers warned his Celtics that they had better be ready for a Magic team that competes as hard as any in the NBA.
The Magic used that effort and relentless hustle to rally out of a first-half hole, surge into a seven-point fourth-quarter lead and take the veteran-laden Celtics into overtime Sunday night. However, Boston’s execution late overwhelmed the Magic’s hustle, leading to a 116-110 Celtics’ victory in overtime before 17,037 fans at the Amway Center.
``We definitely had our chances, but in overtime we just had some bad possessions offensively,’’ said Magic guard J.J. Redick, who had 21 points and three 3-pointers.
``We’ll learn from that. For the most part those (Celtics) have been together for a while. When you talk about experience and execution, they just executed better than us.’’
The Magic (5-8) made just three of 13 shots in overtime and went almost three minutes without a field goal after taking a 106-104 early in the extra session. The Celtics (8-6) got a 3-pointer from Paul Pierce (23 points) to break a 108-all tie and a layup from Rajon Rondo (15 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds) to break the game open. It was the 37th straight game that Rondo had at least 10 assists.
Trailing by three points in the final minute, Orlando did have a chance to tie the game, but Jameer Nelson’s 3-point shot was wide left. The inbounds play was disjointed from the start with a screen for Redick never coming and Nelson had to hurry his 3-point attempt.
``We kind of messed the play up, but we still got a good look,’’ Nelson said. ``I was a little off balanced and I was kind of surprised that I was that open. I probably jumped too high when I shot it. But overall, we did a good job of playing against that veteran team and there’s a lot that we can learn from this game.’’
Nelson had 20 points, while Josh McRoberts – who spent time guarding Kevin Garnett (24 points and 10 rebounds), Jeff Green (0 of 9 shooting) and Pierce – grabbed a career high 14 rebounds. Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis had 15 points and seven rebounds, but took the loss against his former team hard. He missed nine of his 12 shots and had just one offensive rebound in the game.
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