clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Celtics 94, Magic 71: Boston Just One Game Away From NBA Finals

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Rajon Rondo finished with 11 points, 12 assists and four steals, as the Boston Celtics moved to the brink of a return trip to the NBA Finals with a 94-71 rout of the Orlando Magic.

Glen Davis had 17 points off the bench for the Celtics, who lead the Eastern Conference finals 3-0 and can finish off the sweep on Monday at TD Garden. They've won six straight playoff games, and the most recent victory came thanks to a surge in the opening quarter.

The Celtics held a 27-12 lead after the first quarter, holding Orlando to 4-of-17 shooting in the period.

Paul Pierce added 15 points and nine rebounds, while Ray Allen chipped in 14 points for Boston, which is aiming for its second title in three seasons, having beaten the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008. Kevin Garnett scored 10 points.

Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson each had 15 points for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who will try to overcome tremendous odds, as no team in NBA history has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

"It's tough on the squad. We didn't come out with a sense of urgency," Carter said. "We really didn't do that. They did a good job of playing like they were down and needed to win more than we did."

The Celtics remain on a collision-course to face the Lakers again. Los Angeles leads the Suns, 2-0, in the Western Conference finals, with Game 3 slated for Sunday in Phoenix. Late in the game, fans were already looking ahead to the Lakers.

"I understand the fans with the 'beat L.A,'" Davis said. "We have one more game to win and this team is highly capable of winning three in a row. We have been playing great, but at the same time we need to realize it is not finished until we win the next game."

After winning their final three games against Cleveland in the conference semifinals, the Celtics are rolling versus the Magic and have shut down Orlando center Dwight Howard. He was limited to seven points and seven rebounds while going 3-for-10 from the field Saturday night.

"All season long I don't think there's been a game where the other team outplayed us, outhustled us, and just worked harder than us," Howard said. "They did that for the last three games. And that's why they're ahead."

Rondo's floater over Howard gave the hosts a 7-0 lead. Orlando, which never led, scored the next six points, but Boston responded with 14 consecutive points. Pierce drilled a three-pointer, and Garnett's pull-up shot from the left wing made it 21-6 with 2:04 left in the quarter.

The Celtics seemed to win all the hustle plays, as six Magic turnovers converted to eight Boston points in the first quarter. Orlando was also stymied by Boston's defense again, as the Magic went over six minutes without a field goal until a Jason Williams three-ball in the closing minute of the quarter.

Rondo threw his body all over the court, even diving to get a loose ball at the feet of Williams and converting a layup for a 36-17 lead.

"He's giving an amazing effort to the loose ball, to plays like that that he's making," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Never giving up on any possession. When you have that speed and then you have that heart, you become a pretty good player."

Davis' jumper widened the lead to 43-19 with 6:39 left in the half, and the Celtics continued to press the action, leading at halftime by a 51-34 margin. Orlando's front court of Matt Barnes, Rashard Lewis and Howard combined for just nine points.

The Celtics were after every loose ball, one in which Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was no match for Garnett. The Boston forward bowled over Orlando's head coach in the third quarter, forcing Van Gundy into the front row during the third quarter. Barnes was charged with a foul for shoving Garnett with 7:50 left in the quarter.

Boston led 56-38 at the time, and Allen's three-ball in the closing minute had the difference at 75-47 going to the fourth.

The lead reached as high as 32, at 85-53, following a three-pointer from Rasheed Wallace with 8:13 left to play.

Wallace scored 10 points, while Mickael Pietrus had 12 for Orlando...The Magic went 8-of-30 from three-point range, while Boston was 6-of-11...Orlando had 17 turnovers, leading to 19 Boston points.