Celtics come from 27 down, beat Magic, 91-83


Celtics come from 27 down, beat Magic, 91-83

ORLANDO, Fla. Where's Dr. Henry Heimlich when you need him?

The Orlando Magic, who led the Boston Celtics by as many as 27 points on Thursday, pulled the choke-job of all choke-jobs - at home no less - as the C's pulled off an improbable 91-83 win.

Boston was led by Paul Pierce's 24 points, 19 of which came in the second half. Boston also got a much-needed lift off the bench from rookie E'Twaun Moore who had a career-high 16 points which included four, 3-pointers - one of which put the C's ahead for good in the fourth.

"The other night, we won because of Avery's (Bradley) defense," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "Tonight we won because of E'Twaun's defense and E'Twaun's offense. I thought that for a rookie in this atmosphere, I thought that was sensational."

Orlando was led by Dwight Howard's 16 points and 16 rebounds, but most of his best work came well before the Celtics takeover.

The loss comes just three days after the Celtics crushed the Magic by 31 points at the Garden.

And like that game, the C's were undermanned on Thursday.

Rajon Rondo (wrist) and Jermaine O'Neal (knee) were unable to play, and Ray Allen (ankle) was back in Boston. Keyon Dooling returned from a knee injury, but he left in the second quarter with a hip pointer injury.

Healthy or not, the C's (8-9) managed to do all the things it needed to do in order to get a tough, hard-earned win when it seemed the game was all but over by halftime.

Meanwhile, the Magic (12-6) once again looked dazed, confused and befuddled for long stretches - especially in the second half.

"We thought it was going to be easy after the first two quarters," Howard said. "We can't allow that. We have to change."

Former Celtic Glen Davis placed much of the blame for the loss on his play. There's no question that Davis, much like the rest of the Magic, played significantly better in the first half than the second.

"I didn't do what I needed to do," Davis said. "In the first half, I had a lot of energy and made some good things happen. And in the second half, I was nowhere to be found. At the end of the day, you can say whatever and you can blame whoever you want to blame, but I'm looking at myself instead of those around me. I didn't come to play in the second half."

And the C's came in waves, beginning with Pierce's scoring and ending with a suffocating defense fueled by Kevin Garnett who had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots - comparable numbers to Howard.

The win certainly will go down as one of the C's more impressive ones this season.

But there was more than just adding to the victory total going on with this one.

"That was a character builder for our team, it really was," Rivers said. "It's all that we talked about at halftime. You know what I love about this team? Everybody responded. This is a team win. This is about as good as a team win that you can have."

Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play

BRIGHTON, Mass. – One area where the Bruins are looking for more after a mostly positive first four regular-season games: the power play.

The B’s are a downright gross 1-for-14 on the man-advantage to start the season and were 0-for-4 on Thursday night while squeaking out a last-minute win over the New Jersey Devils. The early-season 7.1 percent success rate doesn’t have them last in the NHL, but only the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames have performed at a lower PP clip.

It’s a subject that Claude Julien knew was coming from the B’s media, and so he was ready to answer for it ahead of Saturday night’s rivalry renewal with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before that question came. It is what it is. I think we had some opportunities, but we haven’t finished,” said Julien. “At the end of the day our power play is judged by whether you score or not, and I thought our second period [vs. the Devils] wasn’t great. But our third period had some really good power plays, but we didn’t manage to score.

“Where we need to get to right now [on the power play], is to find a way to finish. There’s no doubt the absence of Patrice Bergeron there brings somebody else in, and maybe there’s not as much chemistry as we’re used to. But I think with him back now we can even be better, and get a little more movement…not be so stagnant. When we struggle a bit it’s because we’re a little stagnant, and we need to get a little better there.”

Quite a bit of the struggles go back to Bergeron missing the first three games of the season and the top power-play unit missing No. 37 from his trademark bumper role at the center of the PP action. The power play remained scoreless as the unit adjusted to Bergeron's return on Thursday night, but it seemed that things started to click a little bit as that game went on.

“It’s not moving right now. We’ll just work through it. There were times last year where it let us down, and there were times last year where it helped us through some tough moments,” said Torey Krug of the PP. “Right now we’re able to play through it, but at some point this team is going to need this PP to step up and score some goals. We rely on that, and the guys on the power play take a lot of pride in it.

“[Bergeron] does a lot of things for us. Instead of me having to go all the way to the other end to break the puck out where I’m losing 20 seconds and frankly it’s tiring to break the puck out, now we have him winning face-offs and we’re starting with the puck in the zone. That’s a big thing, and he collects puck like nobody else in the league. With him back on the power play it brings another important player to the forefront, but it’s a five man unit and when everything’s working out there [on the PP] we have a good unit.”

Now with Ryan Spooner expected to rejoin the B’s lineup, after being healthy scratch vs. New Jersey, that adds another dangerous power-play weapon that practiced with that unit on Saturday morning ahead of the traditional morning skate. The hope is that installing Bergeron and Spooner will help kick-start a special teams unit that’s been less than explosive, and not quite cohesive, in the first four games of the season.