Celtics top Magic, claim Atlantic Division crown

Paul Pierce had 29 points and 14 assists and the Boston Celtics clinched the Atlantic Division with a 102-98 win over the Magic on Wednesday.

Avery Bradley had 23 points and Brandon Bass added 21 for Boston, which is seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference -- 3 1/2 games behind the Pacers.

Rajon Rondo did not play in the win due to a sore lower back. He had handed out 10-plus assists in 23 straight games, but Pierce played the distributor, setting a career-high in assists.

Glen Davis had 27 points against his former team and Jameer Nelson finished with 21. The Magic continue to play without Dwight Howard and sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference -- one game behind the Hawks, who defeated the Pistons on Wednesday.

The Celtics took a 91-78 lead on E'Twaun Moore's three near the midway point of the fourth quarter -- matching their largest lead of the game. But Orlando responded with a 12-1 run, capped by Nelson's transition layup, to pull within two, 92-90.

The Magic were still down two after Davis stole a dribble handoff from Bradley and dunked on the other end with 31.6 seconds left. Pierce responded in vintage fashion, dribbling from right to left before pulling up at the foul line and sinking a jumper for a 100-96 lead.

Nelson made a floater with 3.8 seconds remaining but Pierce sank a pair of free throws to seal the win.

The Celtics were up 33-22 after one and 55-51 at the half. They closed the third with a 10-0 run after Orlando had battled back to take a 70-69 lead.

Game Notes

The Celtics clinched their 30th division title in franchise history...Rondo's 23-game streak is the longest such streak since John Stockton posted 29 straight games from Jan. 25-March 30, 1992...Howard is out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his back.