January 27, 2008
1:00 PM EST (ABC)
Amway Arena (Orlando, FL)
Announcers: Mike Tirico-Suave and Hubie "The Love Bug" Brown ; Stuart Scott to Trot, Michael Wilbon-fire of the Vanities and Bill CTRL-Walton-DEL (in-studio) ; Lisa Salters n Peppa (sideline reporter)
Celtics Starting Lineup: Rayden, I've Got a Rajon Rondo, Perk'd Off, Scalitosis, Da Troof
Magic Starting Lineup: Maurice "The Pants Man" Evans, Carlos "El Loco" Arroyo, Dwight Howard Fine and Howard, Ahmad Rashard Lewis, Hedo "Nism" Turkoglu
Having played .500-basketball over the last few weeks, the Celtics needed an emotional victory like the one they had against the Minnesota T-Wolves the other night, something that could light a fire under them ... Unfortunately, it looks like that win is proving to be more costly than originally thought.
During said game, Kevvy G suffered an abdominal strain and - while in obvious pain - gutted it out (no pun intended) and provided a key defensive play in the waning moments to preserve the win.
Now, that injury is going to keep him out of action for this afternoon's contest in Orlando (and perhaps into the forseeable future) ... His replacement in the starting lineup? The zombified remains of Brian Scalabrine (parquetwishesandleprechaundream.blogspot.com). Oh my.
Perkins (who stands to be the biggest loser in Kevin's absence as he was the recipient of many a pass from Number Five for the easy dunk) rebounds a missed shot and is fouled by Howard while scoring the layup; that earns him a trip to the line, where he makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (3-0 10:48).
Dwight then misses the jumpshot, and Pierce collects the rebound; he brings the ball upcourt himself, then takes it right at Arroyo and scores on the layup (5-0 10:21).
At the other end, Lewis is fouled by Perk while making the strong move to the basket, so he steps up to the charity strip and makes both free throws for the first Orlando points of the game (5-2 10:11).
. Scals then misses the three-point attempt, and Howard pulls down the rebound; he gives the ball to Evans, who takes it up the floor, then passes back to the trailer Howard and he goes right down the lane for the easy layup (5-4 9:44).
Another basket by Pierce puts Boston back up by three, while Lewis throws up an outside shot that catches nothing but air (cue the Nelson Muntz "ha HA!" WAV file) ... The Celts regain possession, as Rajon takes it strong to the hoop but misses the layup attempt, and ends up fouling Arroyo going for the loose ball.
That gives the Magic another chance to get closer, as Lewis uses the pumpfake to fool Perk and he barrels right into him for the foul (his second).
Leon Powe Powe Power Wheels is quickly up off the bench to replace him, while Turkoglu is left wide open and buries the three-pointer (7-all 8:42).
Allen tries to answer, but his three-point shot is wide of the mark, and Howard pulls down the carom. He passes to Arroyo, who brings the ball upcourt, then finds Hedo who finsihes with the turnaround "jay" over Ray (7-9 8:01).
Glenn Rivers M.D. decides that his team needs a quick 20-second timeout, and when play resumes Pierce tries to make the bounce pass inside to Powe, but the ball goes right past him and sails out of bounds (d'oh!) ... That gives Orlando back possession, but they quickly give it right back, as Arroyo dribbles off his foot and Allen picks up the loose ball. He passes up ahead to Pierce, who tries to make his way around Turkoglu, but instead gives the ball back to Ray; he tries to drive to the basket with Arroyo in front of him, but Carlos falls backwards (he was halfway down before Allen even got near him) and the refs call the offensive foul!
Terrible call, as Orlando regains possession and Howard tries the hook shot over Powe ... Surprisingly, Rondo goes up high and goaltends the shot (7-11 7:10); I'd definitely call that a role reversal right there!
At the other end, Pierce misses the shot (Boston is now just 3-for-9 from the floor to start the game) but Powe grabs the offensive board and scores on the putback to get his club within a basket. Lewis then misses the outside jumper, however it's Howard who comes up with the offensive rebound (outjumping Scalabrine to the ball) and Leon ends up pushing him in the back; that puts Dwight at the line - always a shaky proposition - but he's able to make both foul shots (9-13 6:23).
Pierce then misses the fallaway jumpshot over Rashard, and Howard finds himself with another rebound (his sixth); he passes to Arroyo, who brings the ball up the floor and - failing to make his way past Rondo - he passes back inside to Dwight. Luckily, he runs right into Powe and just knocks him flat on his ass, and is called for the offensive foul!
Wow, I'm surprised they called that against him on his home floor, as now Stan Van Gundy Bloody Gundy needs a timeout ... When play resumes, Adonal Foyled Again comes into the game for Howard, but Powe just abuses him and scores with the layup (11-13 5:40).
Lewis answers with the pullup jumper over Scals, then Allen tries to shoot over Evans and winds up with another airball (!) ... However, Scals comes away with the offensive board, and gets the ball to Rondo, who slices down the lane and scores with the little teardrop (13-15 4:53).
Turkoglu then backrims the shot, and Powe secures the rebound. He passes up to Rondo, who finds Ray spotting up behind the three-point line; his shot misses (Allen's now 0-for-3 shooting, hmmm) and Hedo pulls down the 'bound ... We head back the other way, as Hedo passes inside to Evans, but he misses the easy basket and Powe comes up with another rebound.
He passes to Rondo, who shoots up the floor like a bullet ... Arroyo has trouble keeping up with him, so Rajon takes it right to the basket with just Turkoglu to beat; he fakes the shot to get Hedo up in the air, then hits the shot jumper to tie the score (15-all 4:03).
As Arroyo then tries to bring the ball up the floor, Pierce reaches in and strips him (nice) before taking it all the way in against Turkoglu for the layup (17-15 3:37); that's six points now for the captain.
Foyle then misses another shot, and Powe cleans up on the glass. He hands the ball off to Allen, who takes it upcourt, then puts his foot on the gas and goes right down the lane past Evans (like he was standing still) and finishes with the one-hand jam over Lewis (19-15 3:08)!
Turkoglu hits a jumper to break Orlando's scoring drought, then Rondo has his layup attempt blocked by Foyle ... Never fear, as Powe collects the loose ball and scores with the layup (21-17 2:27).
At the other end, Scals ties up Lewis and forces him to cough up the ball. Arroyo is able to pick it up, but he's being harassed by Rondo and that causes him to shuffle his feet for the travelling violation (yes!) ... Nice bit of defense there, as the Celts call for time. When play resumes, Posey O'Donnell comes into the game (he's gonna give it a go with that sprained index finger) replacing Scals, while Powe misses the shot but Pierce grabs the offensive rebound and lays it in (23-17 1:50).
So far so good without KG, I reckon (not that I want to get used to such a scenario) ... A basket by Foyle with 16.7 seconds left makes it a four-point game, as Boston has a chance to hold for the final shot. Pierce dribbles some time off the clock before making his move, as Arroyo is able to knock the ball away, but Paul recovers and tries for the fallaway jumpshot over Turkoglu at the buzzer; unfortunately, it's no good, and the Celtics' lead remains at four (23-19) at the end of one.
Again, this was a nice "Garnett-less" performance from the C's, as they shot 48 percent from the floor (11-23 FG), while limiting the Magic to just seven field goals (7-18 FG). They also outrebounded Orlando 13 to 8 (not bad when your starting power forward is Brian Scalabrine, ZING).
Reconstructive Tony Surgery hits the 18-foot jumper to open the quarter, while at the other end Lewis scores on the layup (25-21 11:22).
Tony then tries to score again, but his layup attempt rims out; fortunately, Powe is able to muscle his way in for the offensive board, and is fouled from behind by Lewis trying to score on the putback. That puts Leon at the line, and he makes one-of-two free throws (26-21 11:06).
A bucket from Lewis gets the Magic within three with nine minutes left in the half, then Hugh Laurie backrims the jumpshot and Keyon Dooling-Banjos collects the rebound; he tries to bring it up the floor, but Powe slaps the ball away and it finds itself right into Ray's hands, who takes it in for the easy dunk (30-25 8:44)! That's two dunks already for Mister Allen (it's a great way to improve his field-goal percentage, that's for sure) ...
Evans drains a jumper, then Ray tries to score with the floater in the lane, but Howard is up high for the monster rejection (wow); the ball goes out of bounds, meaning that Boston retains poss with ten seconds on the shot clock. House winds up having to heave up an off-balance shot to beat the buzzer, which is wide of the mark and Howard comes away with the rebound.
He passes to Turkoglu, who takes it coast to coast and all the way in for the layup attempt; that rims out, but Keith "Muggsy" Bogans collects the loose rebound and kicks it back out to Hedo. He dribbles around Perkins and (as if he's auditioning for a spot alongside Howard in the Slam Dunk Contest) goes up for the attempted one-hand slammer over Posey ... It's actually quite comical to watch, as he's about two feet short of the basket and knocks down James in the ensuing collision. However, what isn't funny is that the refs call Posey for the blocking foul (yeah right), putting Turkoglu at the line where he makes one-of-two free throws (30-28 7:38).
Posey (perhaps with a bruised ego) tries for the three-point shot right in Hedo's face, but that bounces off the back of the rim ... The ball actually comes back James' way, as he tries to grab the loose rebound, but Turkoglu ends up slapping him right across the face (ouch).
Somehow, the officials interpret this as another foul on Posey (double-u-tee-eff?), so his ego and his face are now bruised ... It's Posey's second foul (Scals comes back in to replace him), as the Magic regain possession; Turkoglu misses the three-point attempt, but Evans is able to tip in the basket to tie the score once again (30-all 6:58).
The home crowd is starting to come alive, as Perk misses the hook shot over Howard, and Dwight rips away the rebound; he passes to Evans, who makes his way upcourt, then gets the ball back to Howard at the top of the key. He takes it down the lane against Scalabrine, where he misses the shot, but Lewis grabs the offensive rebound and kicks it out to Dooling. He slices down the lane and goes right around Scals before finishing with the layup (30-32 6:11).
Rivers calls for a timeout, and when play resumes Pierce is able to score to tie the game with six minutes on the clock. However, Howard quickly answers with another layup over Perkins (32-34 5:36). Paul follows that up with the fallaway "jay" over Lewis (he now has 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting), then Bogans has his layup attempt blocked from behind by Tony (nice). Pierce grabs the loose ball and takes it back the other way, where he drives to the basket and scores yet again (36-34 4:41) ... Good good, we need him to heat up.
Lewis then misses the shot over Scals, and Perkins comes down with the rebound. He passes to Rondo, who takes it upcourt, then gives it up to Pierce (covered by Turkoglu). Perk steps in and sets the pick to give Paul a little wiggle room; he makes his move and pulls up for the shot (as Hedo gets back into the play) but instead draws contact for the foul call ... That puts Pierce at the line, and he makes both free throws to give the Celts a four-point lead (38-34 3:28); he's scored the last eight points for Boston (I'd certainly call that "heating up", wouldn't you?).
At the other end, Turkoglu misses the outside shot, but Howard goes up over Perk and slams in the miss (38-36 3:10) for his tenth points of the night (4-7 FG). Evans then proceeds to knock the ball away from Scalabrine (way to earn that starting role, Brian); Hedo picks it up and sends the pass up to a hustling Evans, who finishes with the two-handed dunk (38-all 2:43).
Not ready to give up the spotlight just yet, Pierce slices down the lane between Orlando's two big men (Lewis and Howard) as Evans reaches in for the steal ... It's all for naught, as the refs whistle him for the foul while Paul scores the layup (yeah!); that sends Pierce to the line, and he makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (41-38 2:28). All hail the Truth!
Before you think he's all about hogging the ball, Pierce makes a nice bounce pass inside to Perk for the thunderous two-hand slam, giving the Celts a five-point lead with 1:21 left in the quarter ... However, at the other end, Dooling drives down the lane and pulls up over Tony for the jumper; not only that, but the refs whistle Allen for the foul as well, and Keyon is able to make the free throw (43-41 1:01).
Perk then misses the shot, and Howard collects the rebound (giving him the first-half double-double with ten points and ten boards); he passes upcourt to Dooling, and he in turn gets the ball to Bogans, who blows by Scals and takes it in for the layup (43-all :19.2).
Now, the Celts again have a chance to take the final shot, as Rondo dribbles around for a bit before driving to the basket against Dooling ... He takes the contact while scoring the basket (yes!), and makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (46-43 :01.9).
Bogans misses the halfcourt shot at the buzzer, and the Celts enjoy the three-point advantage (46-43), thanks in large part to the efforts of one Paul Pierce (19 PTS, 8-11 FG, 6 REB). Let's hope he can keep it up!
At the start of the second half, Pierce tries to keep his hot streak going, but misses the layup attempt (dammit!); Rondo is able to rip the rebound right out of Evans' hands, though, and goes in for the reverse layup (48-43 11:41) ... Oh shit, wait a minute. Rondo is on the ground and he's not getting up (he's literally crawling along the floor in pain).
Ray gives the foul to stop the clock, as the Celtics' trainers come out to check on Rajon ... Replays seem to indicate that Rondo got tangled up with Evans on the way down and Maurice ended up stepping on his right ankle (oh no).
Boston takes a timeout, as Rondo has to be helped up off the floor, but he is able to walk back to the locker room under his own power (that's certainly a good sign) ... When play resumes, House is back on the court at the point-guard position, as word from the back is that it's just a slight ankle sprain and (once he gets the foot re-taped) Rondo should be able to return to the game. All I can say to that is "Whew!"
Meanwhile, back to the game ... Pierce winds up fouling Howard to prevent the easy basket, putting the big man at the line where he's able to make both free throws (48-45 10:55).
Allen then misses the jumpshot (he has just four points on 2-for-9 shooting) and Turkoglu grabs the rebound; he passes to Arroyo, who takes it up the floor, then dishes inside to Howard. He tries for the hook shot over Perkins, but winds up with the airball instead (ha HA!).
Kendrick comes away with the rebound, and gets the ball up the floor to Ray; he passes inside to Pierce, who tries the fallaway jumper over Hedo but comes up short (is he cooling down?). Arroyo grabs the rebound, as he heads back the other way, then passes to Turkoglu; he makes his way down the lane, where he tied up by Allen. That sends him to the line, and he makes both free throws to get his club within one (48-47 10:07).
Scals is fouled by Lewis with 9:59 on the clock, but can only make one-of-two at the line, giving Boston just a two-point lead ... At the other end, Arroyo misses the three-point attempt, but Howard grabs the offensive board and lays it in (49-all 9:30).
Things are not looking good, as Ray misses another jumpshot (sheesh) and Turkoglu comes away with the rebound. He takes it upcourt himself, then finds Evans open in the corner and he knocks down the trey (49-52 9:02)!
House tries to answer, but misses the shot and Hedo grabs another rebound (as Rondo is at the scorers' table ready to come back into the game, thank goodness) ... Meanwhile, Turkoglu gives the ball to Arroyo, who makes his way up the floor and just blows right by House and finishes with the one-handed layup (49-54 8:34).
Geez, the Celts need a timeout after that ... When play resumes, Rondo is back leading the troops (yay); however, it's Pierce who's trying to set up the offense, as he attempt to pass inside to Perkins and Brian "Kiss the" Cook comes away with the steal (shit). He gives it to Arroyo, who motors his way up the floor before passing back to the trailer Cook, and he pulls up for the three-point shot and buries it (49-57 8:08).
Rajon then makes the move around Arroyo and scores with the floater over the outstretched hand of Howard (okay, ankle seems fine) to break Orlando's scoring run. At the other end, Pierce and Rondo double team Arroyo, and Rajon comes up with the steal, as Arroyo reaches out and grabs him in frustration ... It's Celtics' ball, and Rondo again drives down the lane, where he runs right into Howard and tries to fake him up before going for the layup attempt.
Unfortunately, that doesn't work, as Dwight swats it away and Hedo comes up with the loose ball; he heads back the other way and finds Cook for another three-point attempt. That's wide of the mark, and Perk grabs the rebound; he gives it to Rondo, who heads back up the floor and passes to Ray for the short pullup jumper (53-57 6:53); that's six points now for Allen (3-11 FG).
However, at the other end he hits Evans across the arm and is whistled for the foul ... That's Ray's fourth, so the other Allen has to come back in to replace him. Meanwhile, Cook drives to the basket and misses the shot, but Howard tips the loose rebound back out to him and he finishes with the layup (53-59 6:16).
Pierce then tries the turnaround jumper over Turkoglu, but he frontrims the shot and Arroyo grabs the rebound. He quickly brings it up the floor, where he finds Cook once again behind the three-point line, and he buries it to the delight of the crowd (53-62 5:47).
Man, can't let htis game get out of hand now ... However, it's looking like that will be the case, as Rondo has his layup attempt swatted away by Howard (his fourth block). Luckily, Tony grabs the loose ball and passes to Pierce, who tries to drive to the basket against Turkoglu; he goes in for the shot, but Dwight is right there looming before him, causing Paul to alter his shot and misses quite badly as a result.
Dwight rebounds the miss and passes to Evans, who makes his way upcourt before getting the ball to Arroyo at the top of the key. He swings it around to Cook (once again spotting up behind the arc), and he knocks down another one (53-65 4:59)!
The crowd is going bananas right now, as Rondo misses the pullup jumper and Turkoglu grabs the rebound. He takes it upcourt himself, then dribbles around Pierce on his way to the hoop; he's met by Perkins, who's whistled for the foul, and that sends Hedo to the line where he makes both free throws (53-67 4:28).
Rondo follows that up by missing the three-point shot (Boston is just 3-for-15 from the floor in the quarter) and Arroyo secures the loose board. He quickly maks his way up the floor, and gets the ball to Turkoglu; he tries to make the alleyoop pass to Howard, but Powe uses his body to keep Dwight away from the ball ... That's a foul, of course, so Howard steps to the line (as the crowd works up an "MVP!" chant) and makes both free throws (53-69 3:59); maybe Dwight should receive the MVP award, if he keeps making his free throws like this (16 PTS, 6-6 FT)!
Posey knocks down the trey to try and give Boston's offense a jumpstart (the Celts are now 1-for-11 from three-point land, yikes), while at the other end Arroyo drives down the lane and knocks down Powe for the offensive foul. That gives the C's back possession, but Pierce ends up doing a lot of dribbling while the shot clock is winding down ... He finally tries to put up the jumpshot, but Hedo is able to block it from behind as the buzzer sounds!
Oh man, the Celts are just falling apart right now, as Orlando regains possession with 2:59 remaining in the quarter ... Turkoglu takes it in between two defenders and banks in the shot as the refs whistle Powe for the foul; that puts Hedo at the line, and he makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (56-72 2:40). The Magic are now shooting 62 percent from the floor (8-13 FG) in the quarter!
Posey answers with a trey (he has all of Boston's three-pointers, all two of them), then Turkoglu uses his forearm to try and clear some room against Pierce ... That's a no-no, as the refs charge him with the offensive foul; Boston regains possession, and Posey throws in the floater over Howard (61-72 1:57).
At the other end, Cook misses the outside shot, and Pierce grabs the rebound. He takes it upcourt himself, then passes to Rondo, who gives it right back to Pierce in the paint; he's hacked by Howard (his third foul), and steps to the line for two free throws (63-72 1:22).
Turkoglu drains a deep three-pointer to throw some cold water on Boston's little mini-run, while at the other end Rondo misses the layup (!); Powe grabs the offensive board, but can't score on the putback. Foyle comes away with the rebound and passes to Arroyo; he makes his way up the floor, then passes to Evans, who tries to drive to the basket against Posey but steps out of bounds for the turnover!
That gives the Celts back possession with 30.7 seconds left in the quarter, as Rondo drives down the lane (drawing in the defense) before dishing off to Powe for the strong two-hand slammer (65-75 :13.5)!
Cook is then called for the backcourt violation with 1.4 ticks left, so Boston will (once again) get the opportunity to take the final shot, and gets this deficit down to single digits (which would be pretty big considering how things have been going) ... Unfortunately, Rondo has his shot bounce off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounds, leaving the score 65 to 75 heading into the final stanza.
If the Celts hope to make a game out of this, they'll have to improve their offensive output (7-for-23 shooting in the third quarter), while preventing the Magic from shooting in the 60-percent range (9-for-15 shooting in the quarter) ... That'll be a tall order for this club without the services of Garnett, but it would also go a long way toward proving that the Celts have the depth necessary to succeed in the postseason.
Posey knocks down the trey to open the quarter (cutting the deficit down to seven) ... However, at the other end, Dooling is left open and buries his own three-pointer to negate that effect (68-78 11:09).
After a Posey miss, Evans finds himself behind the three-point line being guarded by Tony Allen; he swings the ball up and ends up catching Tony right in the face with his elbow. No foul is called, though (please) and - with Allen on the floor writhing in pain - Maurice pulls up but misses the three-point shot (that's justice right there) ... That also gives Boston a chance to get closer, as Rondo is fouled by Bogans while making a strong move to the basket, putting him at the line for two free throws (70-78 9:51).
Turkoglu then misses from behind the arc (good, let the Magic get trey-happy as long as they keep missing!) and Posey grabs the rebound; he passes to Ray, who brings it up the floor, then Pierce sets a screen to get Bogans off his back. Turkoglu switches over to try and cover him, but he's too late as Allen pulls up and buries the three-pointer (73-78 9:22)!
Orlando calls for time to try and get some of their mojo back; when play resumes, Howard goes for the turnaround jumper over Powe, but Rondo reaches in and slaps the ball away! Leon picks it up and passes to Rondo, who makes his way upcourt before giving it back inside to Powe ... Unfortunately, it looks to be a wasted effort, as Howard comes right back and slaps the ball out of his hands while he goes for the shot (dawww).
Dwight grabs the loose ball and tries to get it upcourt to Bogans, but it's not a good pass and the ball goes out of bounds! That gives the Celts another opportunity to inch their way closer, as Pierce drives to the basket against Turkoglu and draws the foul while scoring the layup (yes!); he steps to the line and makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (76-78 8:24).
You can feel the momentum shifting now, as Lewis tries to make his way to the hoop, but Powe steps in and Rashard just bowls over him for the offensive foul! Boston regains possession, as Leon sets the screen on Bogans to get Ray open, and he obliges by knocking down the three-pointer (79-78 7:58)! Oh yeah!
Bogans tries to answer with his own three-point basket, but is wide of the mark ... Unfortunately, Lewis comes away with the offensive board, and winds up being fouled from behind by Posey; that's his fourth, as Rashard steps to the line and makes both free throws (79-80 7:23).
Ray then misses the outside shot, and Powe fouls Howard going for the rebound. That gives the Magic back possession, and Hedo drives down the lane (knocking Pierce flat on his ass but no foul is called) before passing to Arroyo wide open behind the three-point line ... Thankfully, that shot misses, and Pierce comes away with the rebound.
He passes to Rondo, who makes his way up the floor, then passes back to Paul; he tries to pull up over Turkoglu, but misses the shot and Bogans takes down the rebound ... Now Orlando has another chance to rebuild their lead; Lewis tries for the three-point attempt and comes up short, but Dwight grabs the offensive board over Powe (that's his fifteenth rebound!) and kicks it out to Hedo, who pulls up from the free-throw line and buries it (79-82 6:13).
At the other end, Posey misses the finger roll, but the refs call the foul on Lewis; Orlando's over the limit, so James earns a trip to the line and makes both free throws to get the C's back within one (81-82 5:49).
Lewis answers with the baseline jumper over Posey (as the crowd starts another "De-fense!" chant), then Rondo tries to make the pass inside to Powe, but Bogans knocks it away and then dives out of bounds to save the ball to Arroyo (nice hustle play, I must admit). Carlos sends the outlet pass to Turkoglu, who airballs the three-point shot ... but now it's Howard's turn to dive out of bounds, as he sends the ball back to Hedo at halfcourt (he actually took the pass away from Bogans or else it would've been a backcourt violation).
That means that the Magic still have possession with 14 seconds left on the shot clock, as Turkoglu winds up being covered by Rondo ... Trying to take advantage of the mismatch, he pulls up for the jumper, but it's wide of the mark. Powe collects the rebound and gives it to Pierce, who brings it upcourt, then passes inside to Leon; he's hit by Howard (no call) but gets the loose ball and goes up again, where he's hit by Turkoglu (still no call) and Lewis comes away with the rebound.
Dammit, even Hubie Brown says that "he was hit about five times"; nonetheless, Orlando takes back possession as the clock is starting to become the Celtics' enemy ... Lewis gets the ball to Arroyo, who passes inside to Howard and Ray is forced to cover him (Powe was knocked to the floor during the previous play and was slow to get up); Dwight simply forces his way past the smaller man and finishes with the one-hand dunk (81-86 4:18).
Boston calls for time, and when play resumes Ray tries to throw up a quick three-point shot ... It winds up being an airball, and Howard lets the ball bounce harmlessly out of bounds (shit); Orlando has a chance to build their lead further, as Arroyo finds Lewis open behind the line and he buries the trey (81-89 3:34)!
That's gonna be tough to come back from ... Ray follows up his previous attempt to score by blowing the layup (!), but the loose rebound is tipped out to Rondo; he hands off to Posey (while sticking his butt out to keep Bogans at bay) and James pulls up for the three-pointer of his own (84-89 3:03)!
Arroyo then brings the ball slowly up the floor, while Turkoglu tries to get away from Pierce and winds up using his forearm right in Paul's face that - of course - the refs don't call a foul on (Hubie: "Wow, this had to be something, what's that?") ... With the Truth sufficiently dazed, Carlos gives the ball to Hedo and he pulls up and buries the deep jumper (84-91 2:39).
Posey then misses the three-point attempt, and Lewis comes away with the rebound; he passes to Turkoglu, who again tries to take some time off the clock ... then decides to just pull up for the three-point attempt with Pierce right in his face (wow, that sure is stupid). The shot misses and Rondo collects the loose board; he quickly brings it up the floor, and takes it right to the hoop for the layup attempt.
That rims out (aargh!) and Posey can't tip it in, as Howard pulls down the rebound; Rajon tries to reach in for the steal and is whistled for the foul, but after the play is already dead Howard decides to "shoo" him away by swinging his elbow out!
Now that is just ridiculous, as he was just inches away from Rondo's face and could have done some serious damage if he had made contact ... Howard should be thrown out of the damn game right now, but instead the officials just pretend like nothing happened and give Orlando back possession (bleh).
Arroyo tries to take advantage of the situation by driving down the lane, but he ends up dribbling the ball off his foot and out of bounds ... That gives us some hope, as Doc calls for time with 1:49 left on the clock; when play resumes, Pierce makes a nice pass inside to Perkins, where he's fouled by Arroyo and proceeds to make both free throws (86-91 1:43).
Arroyo tries to answer, but misses the pullup jumpshot, and Posey grabs the rebound. He passes to Ray, who takes it the length of the court and just blows by Bogans; he takes it right at Howard (risky) but the gamble pays off and he scores on the layup (88-91 1:13)! That's 14 points now for Allen (6-17 FG)!
Turkoglu is fouled by Perkins and makes both free throws with 58.9 seconds left, giving the Magic back their five-point lead ... At the other end, Rondo pulls off that great move of his (you know, that one where he fakes making the pass but then brings it back and scores on the scoop shot?); yeah, that's the one, as he throws off Howard and puts up the shot that rolls around the rim before finally dropping through the net (90-93 :43.9)!
The crowd sounds a little nervous now, as Arroyo tries to make the pass inside to Lewis, but Rajon just reaches out and snatches the ball away (his sixth steal!); he motors his way up the floor, then passes the ball to Pierce. He drives to the basket against Turkoglu, but instead kicks it out to Ray in the corner ... Bogans is too late getting to him, as Allen gets the shot off and buries the three-pointer (93-all :14.1)!
Oh man, Orlando needs a timeout now, and when play resumes Hedo inbounds the ball to Arroyo. He gives it back to Turkoglu, who's guarded by Pierce; he dribbles around before finally taking the fallaway three-point shot at the buzzer ... and damned if it doesn't go in (93-96).
That was a horrible horrible shot ... but it went in. What more can you say?