Magic Classic Wins: Game 7 of 2009 Conference Semifinals Against Celtics

Fox Sports Florida will broadcast this win on Saturday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m.
by John Denton

ORLANDO - Though he at times struggled with consistency throughout his two stints with the Orlando Magic, forward Hedo Turkolgu had arguably some of the highest of highs of any player to ever don the franchise’s blue and black pinstripes.

On May 18, 2009, while starring in Orlando’s Game 7 rout over the Boston Celtics, Turkoglu’s zenith was never higher.

Orlando beat the Celtics in Boston in a Game 7 – only the fourth such occurrence by a road foe in that franchise’s illustrious, 17-championship history – largely because of the do-everything greatness of Turkoglu in that winner-take-all final game of the second-round playoff series. Turkoglu had 25 points, 12 assists and four 3-pointers and keyed a 35-21 fourth quarter as the Magic rolled to a 101-82 whipping of the Celtics that vaulted them into the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.

With the 2019-20 NBA season suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, Fox Sports Florida has used much of April and May to show select classic games from the Magic’s glorious, 31-year history. After showing Orlando 4-2 defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2009 playoffs last week, Fox Sports Florida is re-airing Orlando’s thrilling, back-and-forth, seven-game defeat of the Celtics in the East semifinals this week. Games 3 and 6 – both Magic victories – will be aired at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday. At 8 p.m., the network that is the exclusive home of the Magic will televise the Game 7 that the Magic led all but 35 seconds while earning a spot opposite of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Orlando won Game 1 of the series against the Celtics despite nearly blowing a 28-point lead and it took a promising 2-1 edge after a lopsided win in Game 3. However, the Celtics, the defending NBA champions at the time, rallied to win Games 4 and 5 to surge ahead 3-2. The Magic then gutted out a an eight-point win in Game 6 thanks to some stellar all-around play from center Dwight Howard and a clutch, late 3-pointer by Turkoglu.

In Game 7, Boston led 2-0 and never again. The Magic made 10 of their first 19 shots and five of their first six 3-point shots to build a 10-point lead after one period. The Magic were up by seven at the half and five after three periods before turning the game into a rout in the final period.

Afterward, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy put the victory in historical contest when he wrote ``32-1’’ on the dry-erase board inside his team’s locker room. That message denoted the bit of history that Orlando accomplished with its rally over the final two games of the series.

``I would like to say we played the game exactly the way we wanted. We actually played it better,’’ Van Gundy said that 2009 night. ``When you look at a team that’s 32-0 when leading a series 3-2 and then you win by 19 points, that’s a big win. I can’t say that I’ve ever had one that I’ve ever been happier with.’’

The Magic got big performances from Howard (12 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots), Rashard Lewis (19 points and two 3-pointers), Mickael Pietrus (17 points and three 3-pointers) and Rafer Alston (15 points and three 3-pointers) while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor and drilling a staggering 13 of 21 3-point shots.

Turkoglu’s ball-handling, passing and shooting brilliance was at the root of much of the Magic’s success. He had six points and two assists in the opening quarter and 15 points and seven assists through three periods. In the fourth quarter, he took the game over while repeatedly running Orlando’s high pick-and-roll plays. Turkoglu had a hand in eight of Orlando’s 10 fourth-quarter field goals with his 10 points and five assists over the final 12 minutes.

Turkoglu’s penetration and passing allowed the Magic to make 10 of 15 shots and three of four 3-pointers in the final period to demolish the Celtics. Pietrus, a reserve most of the season, played all 12 minutes of the final period and made all three of his shots while scoring nine points late.

For the seven-game series, Turkoglu averaged 16.3 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 46.1 percent from the floor with 11 made 3-pointers. Lewis poured in 20.4 points a game while playing 40.5 minutes per game, and Howard dominated inside with 16.4 points, 17.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks while making 54.9 percent of his field goal attempts.

That set up an Eastern Conference showdown against James and the Cavaliers, one that the Magic started as prohibitive underdogs, but ultimately winners in six games.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

FOX SPORTS FLORIDA MAGIC CLASSIC WINS SCHEDULE

DAY

DATE

TIME

MATCHUP

REPLAY

Tue

5/19/20

7:30 PM

Magic at Celtics (2009 Game 1)

Sat, May 23 at 12 PM

Thu

5/21/20

6 PM

Magic vs. Celtics (2009 Game 3)

Sat, May 23 at 2:30 PM

Thu

5/21/20

8:30 PM

Magic vs Celtics (2009 Game 6)

Sat, May 23 at 5 PM

Sat

5/23/20

7:30 PM

Magic at Celtics (2009 Game 7)

Sun, May 24 at 9:30 AM

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