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Magic coughs up 27-point cushion

ORLANDO — The Magic didn't set any embarrassing franchise lows against the Celtics on Thursday night, but what occurred inside Amway Center arguably was worse than what transpired in New England three days earlier.

The Magic led by as many as 27 points late in the second quarter but allowed the undermanned Celtics to rally to a 91-83 victory. Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24, and E'Twaun Moore's 3-pointer with 7:40 left gave Boston a lead, at 79-76, it never relinquished.

Monday, the Magic lost 87-56 to the Celtics. In that defeat, the Magic set game franchise lows for points and field-goal percentage. Thursday, the Magic had an 11-point lead entering the fourth but shot 2-for-17 and scored just eight points. It was Orlando's worst fourth-quarter point total in the past 15 seasons.

Dwight Howard led Orlando with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Howard, who has asked to be traded but can opt out of his contract to become a free agent this summer, said he would consider hearing an offer from the Celtics. Howard's list of desirable trade destinations remains the Mavericks, Lakers and Nets. But Boston will have money to spend this summer if Howard is available.

"I'd always listen to a team like that," Howard told the Boston Herald. "I want to win a championship, and it takes a certain type of team to win a championship."

Motivated Rose: Bulls guard and reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose didn't like how the Pacers celebrated Wednesday after their 95-90 victory ended Chicago's eight-game winning streak at home. "I'll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game," Rose was quoted as saying by ESPNChicago.com. "I can't wait to play them again."

Around the league: In another setback for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, Bucks center Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely after breaking his left ankle Wednesday when he came down on a Houston player's foot. … Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has missed three games in order to strengthen his sore right knee, could return Sunday against the Spurs. … Guard Eric Gordon turned down a four-year contract extension offer from the Hornets, the Associated Press reported, meaning he will become a restricted free agent after the season.

Celtics 91, Magic 83

BOSTON (91): Pierce 7-18 8-11 24, Bass 4-12 2-4 10, Garnett 6-14 0-0 12, Bradley 3-7 0-0 6, Pietrus 4-9 1-2 12, Stiemsma 0-0 0-0 0, Daniels 2-2 0-0 4, Dooling 1-2 0-0 3, Wilcox 2-2 0-0 4, Pavlovic 0-1 0-0 0, Moore 5-6 2-2 16. Totals 34-73 13-19 91.

ORLANDO (83): Turkoglu 3-10 2-4 10, Anderson 5-12 1-1 12, Howard 6-12 4-8 16, Nelson 3-8 4-6 11, J.Richardson 5-12 2-4 13, Davis 3-11 1-3 7, Q.Richardson 0-3 0-0 0, Duhon 1-2 0-0 2, Clark 2-3 1-2 5, Redick 2-6 3-3 7. Totals 30-79 18-31 83.

Boston 16 21 27 27— 91

Orlando 32 26 17 8— 83

3-Point GoalsBoston 10-21 (Moore 4-4, Pietrus 3-8, Pierce 2-6, Dooling 1-2, Bradley 0-1), Orlando 5-17 (Turkoglu 2-5, Anderson 1-2, J.Richardson 1-4, Nelson 1-4, Q.Richardson 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoston 47 (Garnett 10), Orlando 60 (Howard 16). AssistsBoston 23 (Pierce 10), Orlando 16 (Turkoglu 7). Total FoulsBoston 27, Orlando 23. TechnicalsBoston Coach Rivers, Anderson, Howard, Redick. A18,952.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Magic coughs up 27-point cushion 01/26/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:27am]
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