Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce scored 28 points with five assists and five rebounds, as Boston took a commanding two-game lead, downing Orlando, 95-92, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amway Arena.
"It was a great game, a game of runs," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. "They brought the fight to us and we withstood the hits."
The storied franchise won two road games to start a playoff series for the first time, won their fifth straight playoff game overall, and handed Orlando its second straight home loss for the first time all season. In fact, Orlando had not lost consecutive home games since Games 4 and 5 of last season's NBA Finals against the Lakers.
Pierce fouled out with 31.9 seconds left and Boston clinging to a 95-92 lead, then watched from the bench as Vince Carter missed two free throws. After a Kevin Garnett miss, the Magic had one last chance, which ended in Jameer Nelson's off-balance 30-foot heave that drew air just short of the rim.
Rajon Rondo added 25 points with eight assists and five boards while Garnett and Kendrick Perkins donated 10 points apiece for Boston, which gets to rest until Saturday's Game 3 with a 2-0 series edge.
Dwight Howard, in a far better effort than his 13-point showing on Sunday, scored a game-best 30 points with eight rebounds, while Carter and JJ Redick added 16 points apiece for Orlando.
"We have to go play the next game and win it," said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy. "We played harder tonight, but we don't sustain it."
Orlando avoided the very early letdown that doomed it in the first game, leading 10-9 on Matt Barnes' slam just under three minutes in. However, Boston's spurt just started a little later on Tuesday, as Pierce orchestrated a 14-2 spurt that the forward punctuated with a deep trey for a 23-12 edge.
The Magic went nearly five minutes with just one field goal, but found their stroke thanks to the energy of Redick, who made three free throws and buried two threes, the last putting Orlando in front, 28-25, and putting a stamp on a 16-2 scoring stretch.
Boston made just two baskets over the final 4 1/2 minutes and trailed 28-27 after 12 minutes of game action.
The two teams traded blows throughout the second stanza, back-and-forth until Garnett's late jumper opened a five-point lead, 53-48. Barnes' trey capped the first-half scoring for a 53-51 game.
Boston again inched in front, 66-59, with nine consecutive points capped by a pair of Glen Davis free throws with 6:13 on the clock in the third. The lead reached 10 points at 70-60 on a Garnett slam just over 1 1/2 minutes later, and the edge stood at 78-70 after three periods.
The Celtics held an 11-point lead, 81-70, in the opening moments of the final period, but the Magic, feeding off the home crowd and timely shooting, fought back to pull within 85-83 on Redick's two free throws.
Ray Allen answered with a layup, but Carter countered with a pull-up jumper at the right below for an 87-85 game. Orlando pulled within one at 89-88 after two Howard free throws with 4:05 left and went in front on Carter's jumper just under 30 seconds later.
A pair of big shots by Boston's two big guns highlighted the next two minutes of game action. Garnett hit a step-back, contested baseline jumper with 2:45 left to put the visitors back in front. Rondo then hit a tough jumper from the left wing to push the edge to 93-90 with 1:33 on the clock.
After shooting a questionable three-pointer, Nelson was solid on the next trip, slashing to the hoop for an easy basket with 55.8 seconds left. Pierce was bailed out when a foul was called on the forward's off-balance jumper and he sank both free throws with 34.7 ticks remaining.
Davis scored eight points with six rebounds...Nelson made only 4-of-12 from the floor and scored just nine points...Orlando made just 39.4 percent of its shots compared to a 45.9 percent effort for the Celtics...Magic sharpshooter Rashard Lewis made just 2-of-6 field goals for five points.