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Howard gives Magic lifeline

BOSTON, May 25- Dwight Howard had 32 points and 16 rebounds and Jameer Nelson finished with 23 as the Orlando Magic stayed alive with a 96-92 overtime win over Boston in game four of their NBA semi-final series.Nelson nailed back-to-back three-pointers in overtime on Monday for Orlando who avoided a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference series.

The series now shifts back to Orlando for game five on Wednesday. But the Magic are constantly being reminded that no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit.

"We got into the fight even when they came back and took the lead," said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "The hardest thing is when you go behind in a game like this and you are down 3-0 in the series is to fight against human nature to let it go.

"Our guys didn’t do that. We did what we had to do to get a tough win."

Paul Pierce had 32 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Garnett finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics.

Ray Allen hit consecutive three-pointers in overtime, but Pierce missed two tries in the final minute as the Celtics failed to sweep the series.

"We executed poorly throughout the game," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "It was amazing how bad we were and we still had a chance to win that game.

"We didn’t play with great energy. They had far more energy to start the game. They got all the loose balls and made all the extra plays. I liked our second half energy but I didn’t like anything about the first half."

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Heading into this series, Orlando had won 14 straight. The Magic rebounded from an one-sided 94-71 loss on Saturday that put them in a big hole.

Howard said the Celtics are giving him time and space and he has to capitalize.

"I got to continue to be aggressive and run the floor," Howard said. "They are playing me one on one so I just got to take my shots."

Boston shot just two-of-10 from the field in the final five minutes.

Allen scored all six of Boston’s overtime points and finished with 22. Paul Pierce ended with 32 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

Van Gundy kept telling his players throughout the game that they need to outwork and out muscle the Celtics.

"We didn’t play desperate, but we fought," Van Gundy said. "In overtime we kept fighting, and fighting and fighting and that is what it took to get an overtime win."

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