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The Celtics revenged their Christmas Day loss tonight, by edging the Orlando Magic 109-106 in Kevin Garnett's return from a right calf injury.

Ray Allen scored a team-high 26 and shot the way only he can. Hitting 8-11 shots from the field, 3-4 from downtown, and 7-7 from the foul line, he shot over 50% from the field for the 12th straight game. Garnett dropped 19 points and eight rebounds in his return, looking sharp from the opening tip.

Rajon Rondo added his daily double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, Shaquille O'Neal added 12 points, and Paul Pierce netted 14 points on 5-7 shooting. The Truth also recorded five rebounds and four assists, while frustrating Orlando's shooters with stalwart defense.

Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson converted on a combined 9-25 shots due to Pierce's pressure. Dwight Howard scored a game-high 33 points and grabbed 13 boards. He earned a ridiculous 18 free throw attempts, and converted on 13 of them. Brandon Bass and Jameer Nelson added 13 and 9 respectively, while Ryan Anderson drained 4-6 shots from deep and tallied 16 points.

The Celtics jumped out to an early 22-12 advantage after Allen drained a jumper. The Magic were able to chip away at that lead and trailed by just five after the opening quarter. With the win, Boston is now 15-0 when leading after the 1st quarter at home this year.

Boston held that lead within a minute of halftime, but Orlando cut it to just a point at the break, closing the half on a 4-0 run. The Celtics netted 61.1% of their 1st half shots, while the Magic connected on just 41.7%.

The 3rd quarter was literally 12 minutes of basket for basket action. Neither team led by more than three the entire frame. Boston and Orlando entered the 4th quarter knotted at 81-81.

The heated action continued through the final frame. After Nelson drained a midrange jumper with 51.1 seconds left in regulation, the two teams were tied again--this time at 104-104.

Paul Pierce baited Richardson with a pump fake, took the contact, and swished the jumper--a trademark play for #34. He converted on the free throw and gave Boston a three point edge. After a Turkoglu miss, KG picked off a Nelson pass to seal the game for Boston.

He lobbed the ball ahead to Allen, who ran off some clock before being fouled with 11.1 seconds left. He nailed both shots from the charity stripe and finished off Boston's scoring. After Howard knocked down a couple of pointless free throws, the buzzer rang, and the C's prevailed 109-106.

The Celtics improve to 31-9 with the win, and Orlando drops to 26-15. Boston returns to the hardcourt Wednesday night, when the Pistons come to Beantown. Tipoff is at 7:30 PM ET.

Stephen Bailey 1/17/2011 11:16:00 PM Edit
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13 Responses so far.

  1. Banner 18 says:

    LOVING that top pic! KG is the backbone..leader..irreplaceable player!
    Now we only have two players waiting to come back..its only a matter of time until we are 100%!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    i smell banner #18 Go celtics. we can do this

  3. tb727 says:

    What a terrific win. Dwight Howard is such a buffoon, trying to bait KG into stuff. He should've gotten a technical for his 2 shoves.

  4. shelbyl says:

    I'm still waiting for our beloved Magic fan who after the last game was really keen on proving that our team was much worse than the team last year. Maybe, now that they lost, she'll accept that Rondo is key to this team and that Perkins's and West's addition will provide a much needed depth at C and PG.

  5. Bohemian says:

    We beat the best possible Orlando performance last night. They scored every single outside shot, got away with murder in the paint and they once again got the refs on their side (trying to eliminate Shaq as fast as possible)...and we still won. We are just better than them, plain and simple. And wait til we have a decent backup for Rondo (who can also shoot) in Delonte West...and our big man Perk in the paint.

    Awesome win and great to see KG back!!!!! Go C's!!

    (I watch the game live on National TV last night here in Poland and I barely slept 3 hours...it was worth it! Should have seen me screaming at the refs from my sofa at 4 am!!) lol

  6. Bohemian says:

    By the way, somebody start making a statue of Ray Allen outside of the Garden. The guy is just a dead eye shooter. Yesterday he had a Jordanesque move at one point, he was just unstoppable!

  7. Bohemian says:

    One final thing: Is Rondo human??? I've never seen such a playmaker in 20 years. The guy is "insultingly" good...he is just better. He said he was the best PG a couple seasons ago and some didn't believe it. He is proving it. AMAZING

  8. Karl says:

    Great win. Agreed, Magic shot lights out and we still won. Ray Allen might be having his best season as a Celtics this year. Sure glad we didn't trade him. Not many guys that can shoot like that in the league

  9. Nate Robinson says:

    Will I make another jump shot this season?

  10. Luke Harangody says:

    I just had a nightmare that Ryan Anderson went wild on me, hitting 3 pointers left and right, getting and-one's off offensive rebounds and just dominating me. In my dream he made me look like I was 6'4 and he was 7'0. I've never been so scared in my life! Thank God it was just a dream....or was it?!

  11. I don't think Rondo's as good as Derrick Rose

  12. Karl says:

    Rondo probably isn't as good as Rose in general but he's the best possible point guard for the Celtics. I wouldn't trade him for any PG in the league.

  13. Agreed, great win.

    Nate: Ask Antoine Walker. I'm sure he can relate. (Go Stampede!)

    Luke: I still think you're the greatest player in the league.

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