The Orlando Magic played with heart and hustle Sunday night.
For four quarters, they even outshot the Boston Celtics.
But, in overtime, the Celtics had Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo — and that was the difference.
Garnett, Pierce and Rondo scored 10 of the Celtics' 14 points in the extra period and led their team to a 116-110 comeback win over the Magic at Amway Center.
"Definitely a frustrating way to lose," Magic guard J.J. Redick said. "There's certainly games that are more frustrating than others. Getting blown out is never fun. Losing a game like that's never fun, either. That was a game that was right there for us."
The game seesawed throughout the second half.
Orlando trailed by 11 points early in the third quarter, but closed out the period on a 27-14 run.
The Magic even held a seven-point lead with eight minutes left in regulation.
Then it slipped away.
Garnett scored 12 points in the fourth, and he, Pierce and Rondo combined in overtime to make four of their six shot attempts.
"We let them back in the game, so we had to find a way to win," Pierce said. "That was what it was all about: finding a way to win."
The Magic (5-8), with their roster laced with newcomers and inexperienced players, have struggled to close out games this season.
It happened again Sunday.
With the score tied 100-100, Josh McRoberts, who collected a career-high 14 rebounds, missed two tip-in attempts.
About a minute later, with the score tied 102-102, one of Redick's passes was stolen by Jason Terry.
With 32.9 seconds remaining in regulation and the score still 102-102, Jameer Nelson missed a long 3-pointer with 11 seconds left on the shotclock.
Finally, in overtime, with Orlando trailing 113-110, Nelson ran around a screen set by Glen Davis and misfired on a 3-pointer with 15.9 seconds left. After the Celtics corralled the rebound, Garnett hit one of two foul shots to give Boston some breathing room.
"I was a little off-balance," Nelson said. "I was a little surprised that I was that open. I probably jumped too high when I shot it. But, overall, I think we did a good job of playing against that veteran team with such a young team. There's a lot we can learn from this game."
In all, Orlando made just three of its 13 shot attempts in overtime.
"A pretty good game to watch, huh?" Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said afterward.
"We got some good looks down the stretch. If there was one thing that I wanted maybe to be better, it was a little bit of screening at the end. But, overall, I was pretty encouraged and happy about our guys' effort."
Redick scored a team-high 21 points, while Nelson finished with 20 points.
Davis, playing against his former team, scored 15 points on 3-of-12 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
"At that time, a leader is supposed to step up," Davis said.
"Jameer and everybody else did a good job. I was nowhere to be found tonight. I did some things, and you're not going to make every shot. But at crunchtime, you've got to do something. I didn't do anything."
The Celtics (8-6) extended their regular-season winning streak over the Magic to six games.
Garnett scored a game-high 24 points and collected 10 rebounds. Pierce added 23 points.
Rondo finished with 15 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds.
"They're going to stick with what they do," Redick said, referring to the Celtics.
"I think it just comes back to execution, and their will to just impose their plays. They run everything very hard. They screen. They obviously have good players. That helps, but they do things very hard and very precise, and that's really what it came down to."
The Magic are trying to emulate that aspect of the Celtics' model.
"We'll get there," Vaughn said.
On Sunday night, they almost did. And that's why it felt so frustrating to them.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times