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News » Returns in for Celtics

Returns in for Celtics

Returns in for CelticsThere was a new wrinkle to the Celtics' look that coach Doc Rivers had to introduce to Orlando last night at the Garden.

Kevin Garnett, a mere phantom when the Celts were eliminated by the Magic during the Eastern Conference semifinals last May, was back on the floor.

Rivers made sure, however, that no one mistook this KG model for what is expected to be the finished product in April.

``He's 100 percent healthy, but his game is coming,'' Rivers said. ``His jump shot is back for sure, his timing isn't.

``One day his quickness is there, the next day it's not. But that's typical with injuries. It takes a while. We're not in a hurry with it. We've kept his minutes down, so it's good. He's shown his value on the floor.''

Based on Garnett's reintroduction to the Magic last night, much of that value will come down the road.

Garnett missed his first five shots - four of them jumpers - and Orlando took the cue to continue what worked so well against the Celtics last May.

The Magic jumped out to leads of 17-6 and 22-8, shooting 4-of-5 from 3-point range during that stretch, including two bombs from Mickael Pietrus. Pietrus then came back with his third trey for a 27-13 lead with 2:20 to go.

Pietrus finished with an 11-point quarter, and the Magic followed suit with a 29-13 lead that included 64.7 percent shooting from the field.

All the Celtics had to offer was a 13-point, 20.4-percent quarter that was among their worst of the season.

The C's made the most of their break between quarters, however.

Paul Pierce came out on the attack with a pair of hoops that ignited a 7-0 run spanning the first three minutes of the second.

That cut the Orlando lead to 29-20. Then, Vince Carter started to heat up, pushing the Magic back out to an 11-point advantage (33-22) with 7:54 remaining in the half.

Garnett returned to the floor with 5:43 left but had little to do with the surge that followed.

Ray Allen dunked off the break after stealing the ball, and after Ryan Anderson drained a 3-pointer, the Celtics came back with hoops from Marquis Daniels and Rajon Rondo - the latter with a scoop after rebounding a rare Allen air ball.

The result was an Orlando lead that dropped to 38-32 with 4:29 left in the half.

The next push came a minute later with an Allen trey and Perkins free throw cut the Celtics' deficit to 39-36.

Pierce and Carter swapped free throws before Allen cut the margin to a point (41-40) with two from the line.

Orlando, with Jason Williams and Dwight Howard each hitting a free throw in the last 1:34, took a 43-40 halftime lead.

But the Celtics , who trailed by 16 points in the first quarter, had melted the deficit.

- mrmurphy@bostonherald.com

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 22, 2009


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