Ray Allen scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and Kevin Garnett finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in his return as the Boston Celtics bested the Orlando Magic, 109-106, at TD Garden on Monday night.
Garnett, who had missed the last nine games with a knee injury, didn't seem to miss a beat in his first game back, making 7-of-13 shots and 5-of-6 field goals in 31 minutes. Allen was equally hot from the floor, making 8-of-11 field goals, including 3-of-4 three pointers, and made 7-of-7 free throws.
Paul Pierce scored 14 points and had five rebounds and four assists for the Celtics, who had five player reach double digits in scoring. Shaquille O'Neal, who played despite slipping and falling on a patch of ice over the weekend, amassed 12 points and two rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 10 points and 13 assists and Glen Davis added 15 points off the bench for Boston.
Dwight Howard had an outstanding night for the Magic, scoring a game-high 33 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Jason Richardson scored 14 points, Brandon Bass finished with 13 points and Hedo Turkoglu had 11 points and seven assists for Orlando. Jameer Nelson totaled nine points and five assists while Ryan Anderson scored 16 points off the bench for the Magic.
Boston (31-9) took a 27-22 lead after the first quarter, but Orlando (26-15) outscored the Celtics 32-28 in the second quarter to cut Boston's lead to one, 55-54, entering halftime. The Magic owned the third quarter, outscoring Boston 27-26 to tie the game at 81 entering the final period. Both teams scored 21 points through the first 10:55 of the fourth quarter.
Garnett hit a pair of free throws to put Boston up by two, 104-102, with 1:05 remaining in the game. Nelson hit a fading jumper from the free-throw line to tie the game at 104 with 51 seconds remaining.
Pierce had the dagger with 38.7 seconds left, hitting a fade-away jumper after being fouled by Richardson. He made the free throw, putting Boston up 107-104.
Turkoglu missed a fade-away from the left key with nearly 30 seconds left, but Ryan Anderson grabbed the rebound to give Orlando second life. Garnett sealed the game when he stole the ball then threw it ahead to Allen, who was fouled and buried both free throws to give the Celtics a 109-104 edge with 11.5 seconds to go.
Boston made 42-of-70 field goals (60%), 3-of-10 three pointers (30%) and 22-of-26 free throws (84.6%). Orlando connected on 34-of-74 shots (45.9%), 11-of-27 threes (40.7%) and 27-of-36 shots from the charity stride (75%).
The Celtics totaled 30 rebounds, 25 assists, 10 steals and had 11 turnovers. The Magic finished with 34 rebounds, 19 assists, three steals and had 13 turnovers in the loss.
Boston returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Eastern Conference rival Detroit at TD Garden. Orlando will host Philadelphia in its next game on Wednesday at the Amway Center.