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Magic stun East-leading Celtics in Boston

Elfrid Payton of the Orlando Magic, pictured on January 12, 2018, scored 22 points against the Boston Celtics
AFP

Washington (AFP) – The Orlando Magic parlayed a big third quarter into a 103-95 upset of the Boston Celtics on Sunday, their third win in 20 games coming against the NBA’s Eastern Conference leaders.

Elfrid Payton scored 22 points for the Magic, who had lost their last 14 games in Boston in a skid stretching back to February 2010.

Orlando spoiled the return from injury of Boston point guard Kyrie Irving, whose 40 points couldn’t prevent the Celtics from dropping a third straight game for the first time this season.

Kyrie had missed Thursday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers with a nagging shoulder injury.

Evan Fournier scored 19 points and Aaron Gordon produced a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who started the day in a three-way tie for the worst record in the league.

Orlando trailed 59-58 at halftime, but out-scored the Celtics 32-12 in the third quarter to take a 90-71 lead into the final frame.

The Magic’s upset bid appeared to be coming unstuck as they made just one of their first 16 shot attempts of the fourth quarter.

The Celtics trimmed the deficit to seven points on Al Horford’s hook shot with 1:13 remaining.

A free-throw from Payton and Fournier’s floater in the final minute stretched Orlando’s lead back to 10.

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