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Howard Gets the Ball in Magic Victory

May 14, 2009 – 10:30 PM
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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

Dwight HowardORLANDO -- Dwight Howard just took matters into his own hands Thursday night.

He complained about not getting the ball enough in a Game 5 loss in Boston – even threw his coach under the bus in the process – so he went and got the ball himself in Game 6.

Howard got the shots he wanted – scored 23 points -- but it still was his 22 rebounds that made the difference. He had an incredible 10 offensive rebounds, dominating around the basket at both ends in a 83-75 victory to even this best-of-seven series.
Magic 83, Celtics 75: Recap | Box Score
Series Tied 3-3 | Next Game: Sunday @ Boston, 8 PM ET


As poorly as the Magic shot – they made only 37 percent from the field and hit only 17 of 31 free throws – there were plenty of loose balls to chase. It seemed like got every one he needed.

"I can't worry about touches anymore,'' Howard said. "I just got myself open. I went and got the rebounds. That's how you win games. That's how you get the ball.''

After trailing through most of the first three period, the Magic took control in the fourth when both teams saw their offense bogged down. It was a hard-fought game, but it was far from pretty.

When the Celtics played the Bulls in the first round, it was a series that no one wanted to end because it was so well played. At times Thursday, both teams played this one like they didn't want to continue.

Neither team played well. The Magic shot poorly, shot free throws even worse, and were out-rebounded by six, but they still won going away. The Celtics looked like they ran out of gas, scoring only 29 points after halftime.

Rafer Alston, who had been blamed for some of the Magic's post-game struggles, hit two big shots late in the game, including a 3-pointer that gave the Magic a 75-73 lead they never lost.

Hedo Turkoglu, who made only three of 13 shots, hit a 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining for the 81-75 lead that followed a pair of missed free throws by Paul Pierce.

"Dwight was incredible,'' said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "We didn't let him get the ball. He went and got it. He was terrific on the glass. He's a monster down there. We tried to hold him off, but we couldn't.''

Howard's game plan was clear early. He scored the Magic's first eight points, getting two dunks, a layup and a pair of free throws. No one else on the Magic scored until Alston hit a 3-pointer more than six minutes into the game.

Howard had as many shots in the first half (10) as he had in the entire Game 5.

The Magic got nothing early from the perimeter. Turkoglu and J.J. Redick combined to hit just one of 10 shots in the first half. Redick mercifully was yanked for good in the third quarter after missing all seven of his shots.

For much of the night, the Celtics relied on their less-heralded players, getting good games from Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and even Brian Scalabrine. Down the stretch, though, the Celtics had nothing left when the Magic pulled away.

Latest NBA Playoff Photos

    NBA commissioner David Stern speaks to the media before the Houston Rockets play the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference playoffs basketball game Thursday, May 14, 2009 in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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    ORLANDO - MAY 14: Eddie House #50 of the Boston Celtics shoots against Courtney Lee #11 of the Orlando Magic in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Eddie House;Courtney Lee

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    ORLANDO - MAY 14: Stephon Marbury #8 of the Boston Celtics drives against the Orlando Magic in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Stephon Marbury

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    ORLANDO - MAY 14: Courtney Lee #11 of the Orlando Magic rebounds against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Courtney Lee

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    ORLANDO - MAY 14: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics shoots against Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Paul Pierce;Rashard Lewis

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    Orlando Magic's Anthony Johnson (R) shoots as Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce looks on in the third quarter of Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in Orlando, Florida May 14, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Orlando Magic's defender Mickael Pietrus (R) reaches in on Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce in the third quarter of Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in Orlando, Florida May 14, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (L) shoots as Boston Celtics' Kendrick Perkins defends in the third quarter of Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in Orlando, Florida May 14, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (R) shoots as Boston Celtics' Kendrick Perkins defends in the third quarter of Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in Orlando, Florida May 14, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (R) shoots as Boston Celtics' Kendrick Perkins defends in the third quarter of Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series in Orlando, Florida May 14, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

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