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

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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."

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?