Celtics 92 Magic 88
BOSTON — He’s technically a member of the defending champions, but Stephon Marbury doesn’t have the ring, doesn’t have the memories of the Celtics’ 17th NBA title.
So he’s doing what he can to help them win an 18th.
“I’m playing basketball this year. For me, that was enough,” Marbury said Tuesday night after scoring all of his 12 points in the final quarter to help Boston rally from a 14-point deficit and beat the Orlando Magic 92-88.
“From where I was, just being able to get back on the court after not playing the whole year, I know I’m blessed. I’m just happy that I had the opportunity to come out and help the Celtics win another championship.”
Ray Allen’s three-pointer with 1:20 left gave Boston its first lead since midway through the first quarter, and the Celtics took a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a chance to close it out in Game 6 in Orlando on Thursday night.
Dwight Howard had 12 points and 17 rebounds for the Magic, who didn’t hit a basket after opening a 10-point lead with 5:39 to play.
It didn’t help that, on one of the only times the Orlando defence played well, the officials ruled that Rajon Rondo’s apparent air ball hit the rim and gave Boston a fresh 24-second clock with 37 seconds to play.
“You can watch it, you can write whether it hit the rim or not,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But you want us coaches to say it, so that I can donate money to the league and I can be called a whiner and everything.
“You’re playing Boston. They’re the defending champions. That’s the way it is. … They all watch boxing. You’re in the 12th round against the champ. You can’t be thinking, ’I’m going to put it in the hands of the judges.’ You can’t do that.
“You got to knock them out.”
Paul Pierce had 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and Game 4 hero Glen (Big Baby) Davis scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Davis also grabbed the rebound and hit a pair of free throws after Howard intentionally missed a free throw with 5.9 seconds left.
“Stephon Marbury led the charge in the second half, and made some things happen, and that energy fed me,” said Davis, who hit the buzzer-beater to win Game 4 on Sunday.
“Things weren’t going right, and we’re looking for an answer. … You help others, and motivate others, and that’s what Stephon Marbury did and that’s what we all did.”
Marbury joined the Celtics at the end of February after a season-long feud with New York Knicks management earned him his long-awaited release.
He saw limited playing time as the backup point guard in Boston, never making as many as five baskets in a game until a six-minute span at the start of the fourth quarter on Tuesday night.
Then he went back to the bench.
“He’s been great for us. He just hangs in there, keeps working every day. He’s been very patient,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “This is tough for him. He’s never been taken out to put starters in.
“That’s always been him going in, and he’s been able to handle it well and be a great teammate. So, I’m just happy for him.”
Rashard Lewis scored 19 and Hedo Turkoglu had 18 for the Magic, who almost blew a 28-point lead in Game 1, then lost Game 4 on Davis’ 21-footer.
A backup until Kevin Garnett was injured and lost for the playoffs — so far — Davis has replaced him in the starting lineup and kept the defending champions hanging around.
“We’re not the team that we were last year. We’re a different team. We’re not going to just show up and beat teams,” Rivers said. “We’re really grinding here.
“I don’t know if people appreciate what people are doing here, with the minutes and the legs. But we know we’ve got to get wins. There’s only so long you can go.”
Mickael Pietrus dunked on an alley-oop to make it 77-63 with 8:49 left, Orlando’s biggest lead of the game, and Rivers disgustedly called a timeout. The Magic led 85-75 with 5:39 to play before Boston scored the next 13 points to open an 88-85 lead.
“We were up all night, but the last two minutes we just stopped,” Turkoglu said. “We shouldn’t even be in that situation because we could have won this game easily.”
Marbury hit a three-pointer, then another jumper, and after Davis sank a pair of hook shots, Marbury converted a three-point play to make it 83-75.
Turkoglu made a jumper to extend the lead to 10 points before Rivers put Pierce, Perkins and Rondo back in the game with 4:55 left.
Two jumpers by Davis, a layup by Pierce and a reverse from Perkins made it 85-83.
Davis missed a potential game-tying shot with 1:55 left — his only miss in the quarter — but Allen made up for it by putting Boston ahead with a three-pointer — just his third basket of the game.
Orlando still trailed 86-85 when Rondo’s three-point attempt as the 24-second clock expired seemed to skim only the net as it came down, and the shot clock buzzer went off.
But Perkins, who had grabbed the rebound, argued vociferously that the ball tipped the rim, and the referees overruled the call, giving the ball back to Boston with just 37 seconds left and allowing them to run the clock down to the final seconds.
Notes: Brian Scalabrine played 19 minutes after missing the morning shootaround with symptoms of the flu. … Coming off their best-shooting game of the playoffs — .528 in Game 4 — the Celtics shot just 36 per cent through three quarters.