NBA: Magic clinch playoff berth with win at Boston

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Apr 08 2019 10:25 AM

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) controls the ball against Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) during the second half at TD Garden. Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Orlando Magic clinched their first postseason berth in seven years with a 116-108 road win against the Boston Celtics Sunday night.

Terrence Ross scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, and Nikola Vucevic had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic. Evan Fournier added 24 points, including the go-ahead dunk with 2:01 left in the game.

With the win, Orlando ended the longest playoff drought in franchise history. The Magic (41-40) are tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with one game left in the regular season.

Orlando finishes up Wednesday at Charlotte, but Brooklyn, which hosts Miami, owns the tiebreaker.

Orlando hasn't been to the playoffs since the 2011-12 season, when it lost to the Indiana Pacers 4-1 in the first round and traded Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers after the season. 

The Magic were 11 games under .500 on January 29th but have since gone 21-9 and are over .500 for the first time since November 18th.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics (48-33) with 23 points, and Al Horford added 18. Boston locked up the fourth seed in the East earlier in the day when the Indiana Pacers lost 108-96 to the Nets.

After trailing by four at halftime, Orlando began a roller-coaster fourth quarter with a 83-78 lead. Ross caught fire to start the quarter, single-handedly going on an 11-0 run to give the Magic a 94-80 lead with 9:53 remaining.

The Celtics countered with a 13-0 run capped off by an Irving 3-pointer, cutting the lead to 99-98 with 4:50 left in the game. Two minutes later, Irving tied the game at 106 with another 3-pointer.

But the Magic scored the next six points and made all six free throws in the last minute. Orlando went 22-for-22 at the free-throw line in the game.

After a close opening quarter, Boston looked like it was starting to take control of the game in the second. But a strong finish by the Magic trimmed a double-digit deficit to 52-48 at halftime.

Irving gave the Celtics a 13-point lead with 4:30 left in the second quarter, but Orlando closed out the half on an 11-2 run.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.