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"There's no need to panic," Celtics guard Ray Allen said. "We like the position we're in. It's just always a lesson in humility. As a team, as individuals, you never get too big for the situation. We're in a great position, like I said.
"So we have to take care of the small things, and they'll add up to what we ultimately want."
The Celtics still have three more chances to win the series and advance to the NBA finals for a shot at their second championship in three years. They've never gone more than five games in a series in which they won the first three.
After swarming the Magic defensively in the first three games, the Celtics finally let them get loose. The Magic shot a series-best 44.6 percent from the field behind Howard's 32 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
Nelson hit back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime, and the Magic rode their sharp-shooting to a season-saving victory.
"At the end of the day, even though we struggled offensively to get some momentum going, we still didn't get any defense when we had to," Pierce said.
The Magic were able to extend their season even with their biggest acquisition busting.
Vince Carter had only 3 points on 1-for-9 shooting. He struggled so much he was replaced by J.J. Redick with 3:57 remaining in regulation.
Carter returned about 2 minutes later to play alongside Redick, who has been far more effective than Carter in the series. But Carter maintains that he's not giving up on himself.
Or his team.
"Just believe," Carter said. "We feel like we're a championship team, we've built this base from day one and we've played outstanding basketball the second part of the season.
"We've had a lot of success the first two rounds of the playoffs, shoot. Why go lay down now? Fight the fight and see what happens."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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