Celtics rout Magic, 94-71, for 3-0 lead Lakers riding momentum into Game 3
By JIMMY GOLEN
BOSTON — There were still 20 seconds left in last night's game when Paul Pierce decided he didn't need to see any more and headed to the locker room.
In the hallway, he repeated aloud: "One more. One more."
Pierce helped the Celtics open a 16-point, first-quarter lead, then watched as Rajon Rondo and Glen "Big Baby" Davis helped Boston coast to a 94-71 victory over the Orlando Magic and take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
The most-decorated team in NBA history, the Celtics are one win away from their second trip to the finals in three years — and their 21st in all. No NBA team has ever lost a playoff series after winning the first three games.
"We're motivated for what's at stake. We see the big picture," said Pierce, who was the finals MVP when Boston won its record 17th NBA title in 2008. "We were coming home for two games on our home court. We're motivated. We can feel it. Guys know what it's like to win a championship and play for a championship."
The Magic have to win Game 4 tomorrow night to avoid a sweep and force the series back to Orlando. They'll need a better effort than in Game 3, when they fell behind early for the third straight game. This time, they didn't even mount a late charge to make it close.
"The most disappointing to me was that I didn't have our team better ready to play," said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who was himself knocked over late in the game when Kevin Garnett was pushed into the Orlando bench going after a loose ball. "It starts with me. It's my job. I'm the coach of this team. It starts with me and I'm not happy with where we had our team tonight or anything I did."
Pierce had 15 points and nine rebounds, Ray Allen scored 14 and Garnett added 10 points in just 24 minutes. But this time it wasn't the Celtics' aging all-stars who did the damage — it was the two youngest players on the roster, Davis and Rondo, who were born in 1986, the year that Larry Bird and the original Big Three won the last of their three NBA titles.
Davis scored 17 points, and Rondo added 11 points and 12 assists, and they also gave the team energy and defense that the Magic couldn't match, diving to the floor for loose balls and getting the crowd going with spectacular plays.
Davis celebrated one play underneath the basket with an ecstatic but odd session of running in place; the crowd went wild. Rondo outhustled Jason Williams down the court for a loose ball in the second quarter, diving to take it away and then getting up to beat him again for the layup.
"What he's doing is, he's leading the team," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "He's playing with great focus. He has a great sense of what to call offensively. And now he's giving an amazing effort, never giving up on any possession. When you have that speed and then you have that heart, you become a pretty good player."
One game after scoring 30 points, Dwight Howard had just seven points and seven rebounds. Rashard Lewis was also disappointing, scoring four points on 2-for-8 shooting. Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson had 15 points apiece.
"This is a tough one to swallow," Carter said. "To come out with a sense of urgency — I don't feel like we really did that. They did a great job of really playing like they were down and they needed to win more than we did. And after about midway in that first, they started pulling away from us and we never recovered."