Boston downed Eastern Conference rivals Orlando 91-80 on Sunday as the Celtics’ Ray Allen continued to close in on the NBA record for three-point shots.
Allen made two of his four three-point attempts to move within three of equaling the league record of 2,560 held by Reggie Miller.
Allen next gets a chance to add to his total of 2,557 when the Celtics visit Charlotte.
Allen had said on Friday he was conscious of the record, but more concerned with keeping the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics going in the right direction.
“There’s a sense of me getting sidetracked if you worry about it, because you feel like you’ve got to shoot it from beyond the arc,” Allen said. “I don’t want to press. I don’t want to step outside of what we’re trying to do here.”
The Celtics certainly didn’t get sidetracked on Sunday against an Orlando team they have met in the playoffs in the past two seasons.
Orlando knocked Boston out of the post-season in 2009 and the Celtics turned the tables last year.
The teams arrived at Sunday’s contest after splitting their first two meetings of the season and Rajon Rondo scored 11 of his 26 points in the third period as the Celtics edged ahead in this season’s head-to-head.
The Celtics led 46-43 at halftime and stretched that to 70-55 with 3 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the third.
The Magic scored the last six points of the third quarter to trim the deficit to 70-61, but the Celtics responded with a 7-2 scoring run and never let the gap dwindle to less than eight points the rest of the way.
Paul Pierce added 18 points and Kevin Garnett had 16 for Boston.
Dwight Howard had 28 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando, who lost for the fifth time in eight games.
Rondo said he was able to capitalize on Orlando’s close defense on Pierce and Allen.
“They didn’t leave Ray or Paul’s body. I tried to be aggressive,” Rondo said. “The lane just opened up a lot more, even though Dwight [Howard] was down there.”
A scary first-half moment saw Celtics reserve guard Marquis Daniels stretchered off the court after apparently hurting his neck in a collision with Gilbert Arenas.
Daniels was driving to the basket with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter when he hit his head on Arenas’ left shoulder. Daniels fell and lay motionless for several minutes as coaches and teammates surrounded him.
Medical personnel put a neck brace on the player, who gave a thumbs-up to fans as he was taken from the court. Boston said he was taken to hospital for evaluation.
Celtics team doctor Brian McKeon said Daniels bruised his spinal cord.
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said Daniels had full function of his limbs and would likely miss at least one to two months.
Sunday’s other NBA results:
‧ Heat 97, Clippers 79
‧ Knicks 117, 76ers 103
‧ Pacers 105, Nets 86