x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Celtics hold off Magic to win first game of finals

The Boston Celtics resist a late rally from the Orlando Magic to win the first game of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Boston Celtics held off a late rally from the Orlando Magic to win the first game of the Eastern Conference finals last night. The Celtics managed just four points in the last five and a half minutes, but that was good enough after the home side had scored only 14 points in the first 16 minutes. Paul Pierce scored 22 points and Ray Allen 25 as the Celtics claimed their fourth straight play-off win. It was the Magic's first loss in the play-offs, their first loss at home since March 14 and their first loss of any kind of since April 2. They did manage to cut Boston's nine-point half-time lead to three points at one stage, but Pierce kick-started a 17-2 run and the Celtics led 67-47 before the end of the third period. Vince Carter top scored for the Magic with 25 points but they were never able to get back on terms despite outscoring their opponents 30-18 in the final period. * PA