JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer 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 3-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. "This is tough for him. He's never been taken out to put starters in. That's always been him going in, and he's been able to handle it well and be a great teammate. So, I'm just happy for him." Rashard Lewis scored 19 and Hedo Turkoglu had 18 for the Magic, who almost blew a 28-point lead in Game 1, then lost Game 4 on Davis' 21-footer. A backup until Kevin Garnett was injured and lost for the playoffs so far Davis has replaced him in the starting lineup and kept the defending champions hanging around. "We're not the team that we were last year. We're a different team. We're not going to just show up and beat teams," Rivers said. "We're really grinding here. I don't know if people appreciate what people are doing here, with the minutes and the legs. But we know we've got to get wins. There's only so long you can go." Mickael Pietrus dunked on an alleyoop to make it 77-63 with 8:49 left, Orlando's biggest lead of the game, and Rivers disgustedly called a timeout. The Magic led 85-75 with 5:39 to play before Boston scored the next 13 points to open an 88-85 lead. "We were up all night, but the last two minutes we just stopped," Turkoglu said. "We shouldn't even be in that situation because we could have won this game easily." Marbury hit a 3-pointer, then another jumper, and after Davis sank a pair of hook shots, Marbury converted a three-point play to make it 83-75. Turkoglu made a jumper to extend the lead to 10 points before Rivers put Pierce, Perkins and Rondo back in the game with 4:55 left. Two jumpers by Davis, a layup by Pierce and a reverse from Perkins made it 85-83. Davis missed a potential game-tying shot with 1:55 left his only miss in the quarter but Allen made up for it by putting Boston ahead with a 3-pointer just his third basket of the game. Orlando still trailed 86-85 when Rondo's 3-point attempt as the 24-second clock expired seemed to skim only the net as it came down, and the shot clock buzzer went off. But Perkins, who had grabbed the rebound, argued vociferously that the ball tipped the rim, and the referees overruled the call, giving the ball back to Boston with just 37 seconds left and allowing them to run the clock down to the final seconds. Lakers 118, Rockets 78 LOS ANGELES Two days after being blindsided in Texas, the Los Angeles Lakers returned the favor. Kobe Bryant needed only three quarters to score 26 points and the Lakers bounced back from their Game 4 flop, routing the Houston Rockets 118-78 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. The top-seeded Lakers did everything they didn't do in Sunday's 99-87 loss at Houston hustled, rebounded and played tight defense on Houston's smaller lineup, keeping Aaron Brooks in check and limiting wide-open shots. On Sunday the Lakers trailed by 29 points. On Tuesday night, they had a 29-point lead by late in the second quarter, on a 3-pointer by Bryant, who led seven Lakers in double figures. The 40-point margin tied the Rockets' worst playoff loss ever. They lost to the Dallas Mavericks 116-76 on May 7, 2005. The Lakers can wrap up the series Thursday night in Houston. Then again, they've been prone to lapses in these playoffs, which is probably why Bryant warned that it's not going to be easy to finish off the Rockets. "We've got to stay focused and understand that the effort we gave tonight is not going to be enough on Thursday. It's just not," Bryant said. "We're not playing some chump team. I don't care how many people they have out. This is a tough team, it's a tough team full of competitors." The Rockets played their second game without Yao Ming, who sustained a season-ending stress fracture in his left foot in Game 3. Bryant looked more like himself after being held to 15 points on Sunday. With the Lakers far ahead after holding the Rockets to only 15 points in each of the second and third quarters, he sat out the fourth period. "We played just the opposite we did the last game," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "We turned it over in the first half, shot it poorly. We said if we turn it over against this team we're going to be in big trouble. That's exactly what we did. "It just kind of fed their energy level. The second and third quarters are about as bad as we've played in a long time." Pau Gasol had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Andrew Bynum 14 points, Trevor Ariza 13 and Jordan Farmar 12. Lamar Odom and Josh Powell had 10 apiece. Brooks was held to 14 points after scoring a career-high 34 on Sunday. Ron Artest had a horrible night shooting, 4-of-15 for nine points. The Rockets shot only 32 percent. "There are seven games. That is the great thing about the playoffs," Artest said. "It is not like football where there is one game, so you can only stay positive." Houston had an early lead, but Chuck Hayes, who replaced Yao, picked up his second foul by midway through the first quarter. The Lakers gained control by outscoring Houston 23-6 during the final six minutes of the first quarter. Bryant had eight points, making three straight shots at one point. Odom sank a 3-pointer and Farmar another 3 at the buzzer for a 35-24 lead. "We just made our adjustments, really," Bryant said. "The last game they played a different style, a little bit more uptempo, spread the floor out a little bit. They got off to a great start and we never recovered. "Tonight we did a good job covering for our defensive assignments. We didn't blow too many of those; made plays." The Rockets had nine turnovers in the first half. "We had a good first couple of minutes and then we started to turn the ball over," Artest said. "But we are going to adjust. That is the thing with the Houston Rockets." With Bryant sitting out at the start of the second quarter, the Lakers didn't lose any of their intensity, going on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 43-24. Gasol made a hook shot and two free throws, Odom made two free throws and Sasha Vujacic blocked a shot by Von Wafer, raced down the court and took a pass from Gasol for a slam dunk. With Houston going cold, the Lakers piled it on, taking a 64-35 lead on Bryant's 3-pointer with 1:31 before halftime. It was 64-39 at the break.