Magic-Celtics: Orlando Steals Game One From Boston, 95-90

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IMay 5, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 24:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic looks up during a free throw during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Wachovia Center on April 24, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers won 96-94.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

J.J. Redick sank four out of four free throws in the final minutes, as the Orlando Magic hung on for the win in Boston.

I bet you never thought you'd hear that.

Redick chipped in another solid effort in his second straight start, but the man of the night was Dwight Howard, you dusted off some early rust to lead the Magic to victory.

Howard, who sat out of Orlando's game six with Philadelphia, was back in action, but only took 12 shots, en-route to a modest 16-point effort. At least, it's modest for him.

However, that's where he stopped being timid.

As Howard allowed the rest of his team to do the scoring (9-27 on threes), he made his presence known on defense, grabbing 22 rebounds, while also rejecting three shots.

In a game where Orlando once had a 28-point lead while displaying their usual "lights out" shooting, the Celtics stuck around to make game one interesting.

After taking an 18-point lead into half-time, the Magic were shut down by the Celtics stingy defense and efficient offense, as Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo led the Celtics on an impressive 54-41 half-time run.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The story of the second half was less about their offense and defense, though, but more about their time at the charity stripe.

Boston did an excellent job of ball movement, penetrating, and simply executed in the exact moments where error was not an option.

They played nearly flawless basketball for the entire third quarter, and much of the fourth, as they sank 22-26 free throws in the second half, while pulling to within three with just under seven seconds remaining.

Ironically, free throws, their best friend in the second half, were what ended their comeback. Former Duke star J.J. Redick connected on all four of his free throws, and the Celtics were left to heave a three-pointer up with five seconds left, effectively ending the game.

After barely getting through a grueling and hard-fought series with Chicago, it was clear the Celtics were battle-tested, and giving up was never an option.

Oddly enough, it was obvious that Orlando, too, had some fight.

Despite allowing the Celtics to crawl back within one three pointer, they held on, openly admitting that they need to play better against a "a team like Boston."

Dwight Howard was not hiding his feelings in a post-game interview, as he was clearly upset that his team played so complacently in the final quarter.

This leaves one thing for certain. While the Celtics are sure to be hungry for their first win on their home floor, the Orlando Magic won't sit back and give it to them.

No, not even if they try.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!