Magic rally past Celtics, earn first playoff berth in seven years

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BOSTON (AP) Terrence Ross had 26 points, Nikola Vucevic added 25 points and 12 rebounds and the Orlando Magic rallied past the Boston Celtics 116-108 on Sunday night to clinch their first playoff berth in seven years.

Evan Fournier added 24 points for Orlando (41-40), which last made the postseason during the 2011-12 season. Sunday’s victory also gave the Magic their first regular-season sweep over Boston since 1996-97.

Even with the loss, the Celtics (48-33) clinched at least the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs just before tip-off. That came courtesy of Brooklyn’s win over Indiana.

Kyrie Irving had 23 points for Boston. Al Horford finished with 18 points and Gordon Hayward added 16 off the bench.

The Magic erased a 13-point first-half deficit and took an 83-78 lead into the fourth quarter. They kept it going, starting the final period on an 11-2 run, which included nine points by Ross.

Boston responded with run of its own and tied the game at 106 on a 3-pointer by Irving with 2:50 remaining.

The Magic kept attacking.

Fournier got free in the lane and dunked over Terry Rozier to put the Magic back in front. The Celtics turned it over on their next possession. That was followed by an Aaron Gordon layup on the other end that made it 110-106.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before the game that the Indiana outcomes wouldn’t affect how much he played his starters against Orlando.

But there clearly was interest in Boston’s locker room beforehand, as evidenced in the television tuned to the Pacers-Nets matchup.

As for his rotations, Stevens was true to his word and played his starters their normal minutes.

It proved costly.

Jayson Tatum limped off the court at the six-minute mark of the first quarter with a left shin contusion and did not return.

Marcus Smart left with 6:15 remaining in the third, helped off by trainers and holding his left side after banging hips with Vucevic. He was diagnosed with a left hip contusion.

Stevens will almost certainly rest both during Tuesday’s regular-season finale at Washington.


Magic: Vucevic had his 60th double-double of the season.

Celtics: Hayward has now scored in double-figures in eight consecutive games.


Magic: Regular-season finale at Charlotte Tuesday.

Celtics: Regular-season finale at Washington Wednesday.

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