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Magic keep hopes alive

Thu., May 27, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. – Not ready to go home just yet, the only place the Orlando Magic are headed is back to Boston.

Halfway to history.

Taking another step toward overcoming a 3-0 series deficit, Dwight Howard had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Magic to a 113-92 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“We just all believe,” guard Jameer Nelson said. “We all believe. We know we can do it, one game at a time.”

A series that looked like a sweep a few days ago now has the Celtics taking a 3-2 lead into Game 6 in Boston on Friday night. The Celtics are facing the possibility of playing it without Kendrick Perkins after their starting center picked up his seventh technical foul of the playoffs, a mandatory suspension unless it is overturned.

A potential Game 7 would be in Orlando. No NBA team has won a series after losing the first three games.

The Magic, seemingly lifeless after a blowout defeat in Game 3, suddenly have hope to be the first. They broke out of their series-long shooting slump, making 13 of 25 3-pointers.

“They are a great team when they get a lead, because then those 3s are easy,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought we never applied any real pressure.”

Nelson scored 24 points, and J.J. Redick had 14 to help the Magic to a frenetic pace.

Rasheed Wallace had 21 points and Ray Allen scored 19 for Boston.

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