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Final: Celtics 96, Magic 84

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  May 28, 2010 11:22 PM

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Final: Celtics 96, Magic 84: Book your trip west. The Celtics are Eastern Conference champs.

3:19 4th quarter, Celtics 92-76: There was a moment there where Vince Carter looked like he was going to take a wide-open three and cut the Celtics' lead to 11, but Carter passed up the shot, giving teammate Jameer Nelson a look that was no better. Nelson missed, and Rajon Rondo took the ball the other way for a floater. You can bet Doc Rivers is talking about two things in the huddle right now: Stops and execution.

5:56 4th quarter, Celtics 88-71: It's not scary yet, but the Magic are close enough to prevent this from being a laugher. It's still very tense in the building despite the lead.

8:40 4th quarter, Celtics 85-65: No signs of a letup. Orlando's still down at 41-percent shooting.

End 3d quarter, Celtics 82-61: The Celtics turned 13-point halftime lead into a 21-point lead entering the fourth quarter. The Magic made 8 of 22 shots in the third quarter while the Celtics got 16 combined points from Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

Celtics fans taunted Dwight Howard in the middle of that quarter, and Howard responded by mockingly clapping them. It just doesn't seem in Howard's personality to go at it with fans.

4:35 3d quarter, Celtics 74-52: Another hard foul by Howard on Pierce, Howard's fourth of the night.

5:33 3d quarter, Celtics 70-52: J.J. Redick fouls Ray Allen as he tries to fight Allen coming off screens. The Magic are already over the foul limit.

9:56 3d quarter, Celtics 63-44: Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett -- who took only nine shots combined in the first half, started the second half with three consecutive made shots respectively, Allen hitting two straight three-pointers to put the Celtics up 63-44.

Halftime, Celtics 55-42: Down by as many as 21 points, the Magic made a stand at the end of the second quarter. This game isn't going to come easily. The Nate Robinson show (13 points) was nice, but the Celtics still have to win another 24 minutes of basketball. Orlando has to feel pretty good about only being down 13 despite 8 turnovers and 44-percent shooting.

Note: Rajon Rondo rode the stationary bike just before the start of the second half.

4:22 2d quarter, Celtics 48-29: Robinson already knows he can dunk over Dwight Howard, so why not try it again? Nate draws the third foul on Howard, who heads to the bench.

4:22 2d quarter, Celtics 48-29: Robinson already knows he can dunk over Dwight Howard, so why not try it again? Nate draws the third foul on Howard, who heads to the bench.

5:41 2d quarter, Celtics 48-29: Robinson's not done. He's got four more points in this Celtics run as the C's are opening this thing up.

7:35 2d quarter, Celtics 42-25: There's Nate Robinson again, hitting another three and then getting all kinds of crazy while guarding Jameer Nelson. The Celtics have to like Robinson's energy right now with Rondo getting a rest. Rondo appears to be OK but is laying down next to the Celtics bench while he is out of the game.

9:43 2d quarter, Celtics 35-23: Nate Robinson spells Rondo and gives the Celtics their largest lead with a three-pointer.

END 1st quarter, Celtics 30-19: Scary moment at the end of the quarter as Rajon Rondo takes a hard foul, crashes to the floor, and remains down for about a minute. For as many hits as Rondo takes you never see him stay down. He would get up and nail both free throws.

Great first quarter by the Celtics, holding Orlando to 19 points on 38-percent shooting. Dwight Howard (9 points) is getting his, but the Celtics don't care about that so long as no one else is beating them. Howard's points have come in bailing out his teammates who have no shots or bad shots.

By the way, on that Nelson shot that bounced on the top of the backboard -- it was legal:

Five sides of the backboard (front, two sides, bottom and top) are considered in play when contacted by the basketball. The back of the backboard and the area directly behind it are out-of-bounds.

3:31 1st quarter, Celtics 19-16: Glen Davis takes it into the chest of Dwight Howard to draw Howard's first foul. Howard (8 points, 4 rebounds) is doing a good job crashing the glass or flashing to the rim when his teammates put up bad shots, but the Celtics also seem to be doing a better job tracking Howard off picks. Watch the screen-and-rolls with Nelson and look for a) How well Rondo stays with Nelson and b) How well Perkins/Davis stay with Howard. It's the game within the game tonight.

5:48 1st quarter, Celtics 17-14: Both coaches talked about the importance of the first quarter before the game, and both teams are playing well so far in the first half of the first. Too early to make any broad conclusions based on the first six minutes. It does seem like Rajon Rondo (8 points, 1 assist) has more energy than he's had the last two games.

8:44 1st quarter, Celtics 10-4: When the Magic miss, the Celtics can run. A miss by Jameer Nelson has Rajon Rondo pushing the ball the other way for a bucket plus a foul. That's something that barely happened in Game 5 with Orlando draining all those threes.

11:01 1st quarter, Celtics 2-1: Kendrick Perkins picks up the foul. He appeared to push Dwight Howard into teammate Matt Barnes. It's been said for two days, but the officiating on Howard-Perkins-Wallace-Davis will be something to watch tonight.

Pregame: Spontaneous "Let's go Celtics" chant drowns out Orlando's introductions.

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