Magic Vs. Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Boston Down Cold-Shooting Orlando 91-80

The stifling Boston Celtics defense showed up again, holding Orlando to 34 percent shooting in a 91-80 win.

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Magic Vs. Celtics: Rajon Rondo Stars As Boston Downs Cold-Shooting Orlando 91-80

The Boston Celtics are known for their stifling defense, and they showed that off this afternoon against the Orlando Magic. In an appetizer before Super Bowl XLV, the Celtics held the Magic to 34-percent shooting in a 91-80 win.

Rajon Rondo led the way for the Celtics with 26 points and seven assists, knifing through the Magic's defense on many pick and roll plays. Orlando played him to pass, and he responded by being a scorer. Paul Pierce added 18 points, and Kendrick Perkins grabbed 13 rebounds in his second start after knee surgery. 

The Magic's offense just fell apart in the second half. Dwight Howard scored 22 points in the first half, but did not even have a field goal in the second half until the closing seconds. The Magic shot just 3-24 from three-point range, and their top five perimeter players -- Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick and Gilbert Arenas -- shot a combined 13-50 from the field. 

The game was marred by a scary incident in the second quarter when Boston's Marquis Daniels was taken off on a stretcher and moved to the hospital with a neck injury.


Magic Vs. Celtics: Boston Surges Ahead, Leads 70-61 After Third Quarter

The Boston Celtics came out of the gates hot in the second half, surging ahead with an early run and taking control of this game against the Orlando Magic. The Celtics lead 70-61 after three quarters and have held a double-digit lead for much of the time.

Rajon Rondo continues to lead the way for the Celtics. He had 11 points in the quarter and now has 24 points and six assists in the game. He's hit eight of his 14 field goals, controlling the game as a scorer. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are all in double figures as well.

After starring in the first half, Dwight Howard struggled in the third quarter, scoring just two points in the quarter. The Magic also shot themselves in the foot with a couple key mistakes. Howard committed a poor goaltend on a Rondo floater that had no chance of going in, and Quentin Richardson tipped his teammates' shot out from underneath the basket, drawing a violation. The perimeter quartet of Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu is 6-33 from the field.


Magic Vs. Celtics: Dwight Howard Starring, But Boston Rallies For 46-43 Halftime Lead

We're well on our way to another typical game between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic. Led by Dwight Howard, the Magic surged ahead early, but Boston closed the second quarter on a 10-3 run and leads at halftime 46-43.

Howard has 22 points in the game on 9-14 shooting, scoring 12 points in the first quarter and 10 in the second. Alas, the rest of the team has not shown up. No other player has scored more than seven points, with the perimeter quartet of Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas shooting a combined 3-23.

Rajon Rondo leads the way for the Celtics with 13 points, while Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have nine and eight, respectively. Ray Allen has just six points and just one three-pointer, meaning he is still four away from tying Reggie Miller's all-time record. 

The game got typically chippy in the second quarter. Dwight Howard and Kendrick Perkins picked up double technical fouls after Howard objected to Perkins' physical play, and Nelson and Earl Clark have also picked up technicals for the Magic. 

The second quarter was also marred by a scary incident involving Celtics reserve Marquis Daniels. For more on that situation click here.

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Magic Vs. Celtics: Dwight Howard Dominating As Orlando Leads 22-17 After One Quarter

The Boston Celtics have been able to contain Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard in the past, even if they were covering him with just one person. That hasn't been the case in 2010, and it certainly isn't the case this afternoon. Howard has 12 points already as the Magic jumped ahead 12-2 early and currently lead 22-17 after one quarter.

Howard has one dunk and one wide open layup, but for the most part, he's showed off his improved post moves against Kendrick Perkins. Howard has one running left-handed hook, two lefty jump hooks and this runner over the top of the backboard (via @jose3030).

The Celtics rallied a bit at the end of the quarter. Howard was taken out of the game with 3:32 to go after being poked in the eye by Celtics backup center Semih Erden. The Celtics took advantage with a run to close the quarter. Nate Robinson was fouled on a three-pointer and hit all three free throws, and Paul Pierce made a couple nice plays, including one beautiful pass to Semih Erden for the dunk. Orlando's offense, meanwhile, struggled, as they scored just four points after Howard exited.

Howard is really the only player doing anything offensively for either team. He is shooting 6-9 from the field, while his teammates are just 5-18. The Celtics, on the other hand, are just 4-14 from the field and have five turnovers as a team.


Magic Vs. Celtics: Ray Allen Could Break NBA Record For Career Three-Pointers Made

The Boston Celtics have an important rubber match against the rival Orlando Magic, but it's a particularly important game for Ray Allen. The Celtics star is on the verge of a major milestone, and there's a chance he could reach it in this game.

Allen needs five three-pointers in this game to tie Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller for number one on the all-time three-pointers list. Allen has made 2,555 three-pointers in his career, five behind the 2,560 Miller made in his 18-year career. Five three-pointers is a tall order for most people, but Allen can certainly get it done. He has hit five or more three-pointers in a game 113 times in his career, and has nailed six or more 45 times. 

If Allen cannot break the record this afternoon, his next chance will come on the road against the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. The Celtics will then return home on Thursday to face the Los Angeles Lakers, so if Allen has two poor games, he can still break the record at home. 


Magic Vs. Celtics: Will Dwight Howard Get Any Help Against Boston?

The Orlando Magic venture into New England to face the Boston Celtics for the final time this regular season (2:30 PM ET, ABC), with the rivals having split the first two matches of the season in a pair of thrilling finishes. On Christmas Day, the Magic stormed back from a late deficit to win 86-78 in a defensive struggle. A few weeks later, the Celtics leaned on Ray Allen, who scored 26, en route to a 109-106 win.

Dwight Howard had 33 points in that game, as he continues to erase the perception that he can't handle the excellent Celtics defense. Howard was limited in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, relatively speaking, as Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett and the gang kept the All-NBA center from breaking out. Boston won that series before submitting to the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Magic had overcome the Celtics the season prior.

The Magic enter this game shorthanded up front. An already shallow frontcourt rotation thanks to the December trades for Gilbert Arenas, Jason RIchardson and Hedo Turkoglu was depleted even further with the injury to starting power forward Brandon Bass a week ago. Ryan Anderson will start in his place, which further weakens Orlando's bench. Little-used Earl Clark has been the team's top frontcourt reserve over the past week.

Boston, meanwhile, will be without Shaquille O'Neal once again. Kendrick Perkins will make his second start in the middle this season after missing the first 43 games of the season after knee surgery.


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