Boston He’s technically a member of the defending champions, but Stephon Marbury doesn’t have the ring, doesn’t have the memories of the Celtics’ 17th NBA title.
So he’s doing what he can to help them win an 18th.
“I’m playing basketball this year. For me, that was enough,” Marbury said Tuesday night after scoring all of his 12 points in the final quarter to help Boston rally from a 14-point deficit and beat the Orlando Magic 92-88.
“From where I was, just being able to get back on the court after not playing the whole year, I know I’m blessed. I’m just happy that I had the opportunity to come out and help the Celtics win another championship.”
Ray Allen’s three-pointer with 1:20 left gave Boston its first lead since midway through the first quarter, and the Celtics took a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a chance to close it out in Game 6 in Orlando on Thursday night.
Dwight Howard had 12 points and 17 rebounds for the Magic, who did not hit a basket after opening a 10-point lead with 5:39 to play. It didn’t help that, on one of the only times the Orlando defense played well, the officials ruled that Rajon Rondo’s apparent airball hit the rim and gave Boston a fresh 24-second clock with 37 seconds to play.
“You can watch it, you can write whether it hit the rim or not,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But you want us coaches to say it, so that I can donate money to the league and I can be called a whiner and everything.
“You’re playing Boston. They’re the defending champions. That’s the way it is. ... They all watch boxing. You’re in the 12th round against the champ. You can’t be thinking, ‘I’m going to put it in the hands of the judges.’ You can’t do that. You got to knock them out.”
Paul Pierce had 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and Game 4 hero Glen “Big Baby” Davis scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Davis also grabbed the rebound and hit a pair of free throws after Howard intentionally missed a free throw with 5.9 seconds left.
“Stephon Marbury led the charge in the second half, and made some things happen, and that energy fed me,” said Davis, who hit the buzzer-beater to win Game 4 on Sunday. “Things weren’t going right, and we’re looking for an answer. ... You help others, and motivate others, and that’s what Stephon Marbury did and that’s what we all did.”
Marbury joined the Celtics at the end of February after a season-long feud with New York Knicks management earned him his long-awaited release. He saw limited playing time as the backup point guard in Boston, never making as many as five baskets in a game until a six-minute span at the start of the fourth quarter on Tuesday night.
Then he went back to the bench.
“He’s been great for us. He just hangs in there, keeps working every day. He’s been very patient,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.