Magic End Celtics' 8 Game Winning Streak

Monday, November 19th 2007, 7:59 am
By: News On 6

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The Boston Celtics knew they couldn't win all 82 games. They would've liked to get a little closer, though. The Orlando Magic derailed the Celtics' perfect November with a 104-102 win Sunday night, holding Boston's All-Star scorers in check and improving to 9-2.

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen entered the game averaging at least 20 points. Only Pierce topped the mark Sunday, scoring 28 and keying several quick runs that brought Boston back from a 20-point deficit. Allen finished with 19, but had just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting before the fourth quarter, and Garnett had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Orlando was the first team to shoot better than 50 percent against the Celtics, and the first to lead Boston at the half and entering the fourth quarter.

So did the upstart Magic send the league a message?

``I don't know and I don't care,'' Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``I think the key thing for us is just to stay on an even keel and understand some of the things we need to work on out of that game, even though we ended up winning.''

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 24 points and Rashard Lewis scored 22. Jameer Nelson had 18 points and six assists, Hedo Turkoglu scored 16 and Keith Bogans had 10.

In other NBA games on Sunday, it was: Golden State 106, Toronto 100; Sacramento 105, Detroit 95; and the Los Angeles Lakers 106, Chicago 78.

Orlando was up 20 at one point, but the Celtics chipped away in the third and fourth quarters. Mounting several small runs, Boston finally claimed its first lead _ 88-87 _ halfway through the fourth on consecutive 3's by Eddie House and James Posey.

Two nights after beating Miami by one, the Celtics lost despite shooting 53.3 percent compared with Orlando's 50.8 percent.

``We're not perfect,'' Garnett said. ``We didn't think we were going to go 82-0. But we are a team of character. We do play hard. We do play together - just not perfect.''

The Magic went cold early in the fourth, missing five of their first seven shots and going four minutes without a field goal. Howard, swarmed reliably by two or three Celtics defenders on each touch, missed several free throws during the scoring drought.

But the Celtics missed easy buckets too, and Jameer Nelson hit two free throws to put Orlando ahead 101-97 with 1:28 left. Lewis appeared to ice it 1:13 later with two more foul shots, but Ray Allen, who struggled from the field all night, drained a 3 with 7.7 seconds left to make it 103-102.

Lewis made a free throw, Pierce's shot bounced off the rim and Howard grabbed the rebound to seal the win.

``The biggest thing for our team was that last year when a team made a run we would kind of fold,'' Howard said. ``This year, we're trying to stick to our game plan, and when teams make their run, just calm down, don't point fingers and stay focused.''

Rajon Rondo scored 18 for Boston on 8-of-9 shooting - including 14 in the second quarter.

The Celtics, off to their best start since a 10-0 beginning to the 1972-73 season, weren't just winning, they were dominating. Except the Miami game and a three-point overtime win over Toronto, Boston had won each time by at least 11. The Celtics' 15-point average margin of victory was a staggering six points better than the second-place Nuggets and Hornets.

``I thought we matched up pretty good with them, but the main thing is we played good defense against them,'' Lewis said.

Kings 105, Pistons 95

In Sacramento, Calif., Beno Udrih had 23 points and six assists to help Sacramento beat Detroit.

Udrih made 9 of 13 shots and all five of his free throws attempts and fueling a strong second half by the Kings.

Kevin Martin had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Kings, who won their second straight. Ron Artest scored 16, Brad Miller had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Mikki Moore added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Tayshaun Prince scored 19 points for the Pistons, who have lost two straight. Rasheed Wallace had 17 points and 12 rebounds, Rip Hamilton scored 17 and Chauncey Billups contributed 14 points and nine assists.

Lakers 106, Bulls 78

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter, five Los Angeles reserves finished in double figures and the Lakers beat Chicago for their third straight victory.

Andrew Bynum had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers; Jordan Farmar added 14 points and a career-high eight assists; Chris Mihm and Vladimir Radmanovic scored 11 points each and Luke Walton added 10.

Ben Gordon scored 20 points and Andres Nocioni had 14 points and six rebounds for the Bulls.

Warriors 106, Raptors 100

In Toronto, Stephen Jackson scored 17 points, Andris Biedrins had 15 points and 14 rebounds and Golden State won its second straight after opening the season with six consecutive losses.

Baron Davis had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Kelenna Azubuike scored 16 points and Al Harrington added 10 for Golden State, which saw all five starters reach double figures scoring.

T.J. Ford scored 29 points for the Raptors (5-5), who have won just twice in six tries at home this season. Ford added eight assists and six rebounds.