Game 4. Quarter 4. Option 3. Down by 1 point with 11.3 seconds left in the game, Boston Celtics acting leader Paul Pierce inbounded the ball to Rajon Rondo, who had racked up 14 rebounds to go with his 21 points. Rondo had nowhere to go, he sent the ball back to Pierce. The Orlando Magic trapped Pierce near the top of the key and with the seconds quickly waning, Pierce swung the ball to Glenn “Big Baby” Davis who threw up an off balance jumper from 20 feet.
The entire game had been tightly contested. Although the Celtics were able to pull away in the third quarter, the Magic had come chasing back. In a reversal of Friday night’s match-up, Orlando had shot 40% and Boston 52% – the Magic were even out rebounded 44-38. The game, and in many ways, the series, would come down to the final Celtic
The Celtics had run the play in practice. Inbound to Rondo, look for Ray Allen; if he could get a good look with one defender, the shot was his. If Allen was off the table, Pierce would take the pivotal shot. When the Magic trapped Pierce, he went to option three: Big Baby.
To get to Big Baby’s big shot, Boston had to watch Magic players blow chances. Throughout the fourth quarter, Orlando had chances to make big shots on offense and big stops on defense. It seemed as though every time they needed a play to pull ahead, the Magic allowed it to slip through their fingers.
With just over three minutes to play, on the heels of a comeback, Magic guard Courtney Lee watched through his protective mask as his 15-footer swooshed to bring his team within 1; 91-90, Boston leading.
The next play, Dwight Howard blocked a Pierce driving layup. The crowd was electric – standing and screaming as they sensed an opportunity to pull ahead. Ten seconds later Lee missed a jump shot that would have given Orlando the lead for the first time in the second half.
During a Boston timeout with 2:37 to play, still down by one, the Magic fans began to chant, “Let’s Go Ma-gic.” Again, with the crowd on its feet and the game in their hands, Orlando faltered as Howard
missed a hook shot.
With 57 seconds to play, still trailing 90-91, Hedo Turkoglu misfired from three-point-land. Following a pair of Howard free throws to bring his team into the lead 92-91, Glenn Davis made a critical basket with
32 seconds remaining. A pair of Rashard Lewis free throws gave Orlando the lead again with 11.3 seconds remaining. Boston Coach Doc Rivers called a timeout.
During the timeout, Rivers designated Davis as the third option. 11.3 seconds later, as the red square behind the backboard illuminated in bright red, Boston’s third option sank the game-winning field goal.
With the basket, Davis evened the series at two games apiece, and reclaimed the Celtic home court advantage. If Orlando wants to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, they will need to win at least one game in Boston. They will get their first opportunity Tuesday night. Unless they can capitalize on opportunities in the clutch moments, they will be resigned to finishes like Sunday night.