Ray Allen scored a game-high 25 points and Paul Pierce added 22 as the Celtics built a 20-point second-half lead before holding on for a 92-88 win over the Orlando Magic Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at Amway Arena.
The Celtics went on a 24-7 run early in the third quarter to take a 67-47 advantage before the Magic took over down the stretch. Allen's 3-pointer put Boston up 88-75 with 5:34 left, but Orlando went on a 10-0 run before Pierce hit two free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining to help seal the win. Allen also hit two free throws with 6.1 seconds remaining to put the Celtics up four.
Vince Carter scored 23 points and Jameer Nelson chipped in with 20 for the Magic, who lost for the first time in nine game games this postseason. Game 2 is Tuesday night in Orlando before the series shifts to Boston for Game 3 Saturday night.
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who sat out of his team's series finale against the Tigers with a sore knee, said that he expects to return to the lineup against the Yankees on Monday.
"I'll get in there tomorrow," Pedroia told reporters after sitting out his first game of the season.
The injury occurred when Pedroia tried to elude the tag of Tigers catcher Gerald Laird on a play at the plate in Saturday's game. He stayed in the game but could feel the discomfort as the game progressed.
"I played a few innings. I wasn't moving around very well," Pedroia said. "The throw was kind of up the line. I tried to cut at the last second. But I'll be all right."
The Red Sox managed just six hits and one run in their series finale against the Tigers, resulting in a 5-1 loss. A once-promising series instead ended up with Boston dropping two of three in Detroit and getting outscored by an 11-1 count over the final 16 innings of the three-game set.
Sox starter John Lackey absorbed the loss on a day when his early command issues proved his undoing. The right-hander walked four in the first two innings, including a bases-loaded free pass to former Sox outfielder Johnny Damon in the second inning. He later hung a curve that Tigers shortstop Ramon Santiago hammered for a two-run homer.
Lackey (4-2) managed to last seven innings while throwing a season-high 123 pitches. Still, the right-hander has been inconsistent thus far in 2010, as his 4.86 ERA, .284 opponents' batting average, 3.8 walks per nine innings and 5.6 strikeouts per nine innings would all be career-worst marks for a...
ORLANDO — Stan Van Gundy started the chess match early when he suggested that he would have Matt Barnes guard Ray Allen instead of Paul Pierce, who would then become Vince Carter’s assignment. This opens up a number of interesting questions such as: Does Van Gundy think Allen is a bigger threat than Pierce? Would the Celtics switch up their coverages? Then there’s the issue of Barnes’ health. He has been struggling with back spasms. On the latter, Van Gundy said that Barnes is feeling better and will be ready to play. As for the other? “We’ll see,” Van Gundy said before Game 1. The Celtics are unconcerned. They’re not going to change up their assignments. Read the rest of this entry on Green Street.
ORLANDO — There’s been a lot of talk about respect lately. The Magic feel like they don’t get any, and the Celtics could claim a gripe in that their win over the Cavaliers has been overshadowed by LeBron-mania. Ray Allen, like the rest of the Celtics veterans, isn’t worried about it. "That’s the bottom line, it’s like, who cares?” Allen said before Game 1 of the Conference Finals. ”At the end of the day, you win that fourth game in the Finals and you’re in the back of the building until 4 a.m. that’s when all the talk is in your direction. Again, we have one goal. It’s not for people to talk about us, it’s to be the last team standing.” Read the rest of this entry on Green Street.
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