– The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Philadelphia Flyers cap that Boston Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace has been wearing to support his hometown team might not be something Boston fans want to see.

Especially now.

More than a week after the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers, the Celtics are getting an unwanted trip back to Orlando. They’ll try to close out the Magic again tonight.

“(The comeback) can be done,” said Magic guard Jameer Nelson, who grew up outside Philadelphia.

Only four times in North American major pro sports leagues has a team won a playoff series after losing the first three games.

It’s happened three times in the NHL, most recently by the Flyers, and once in baseball, when the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees in the 2004 AL Championship Series.

It’s just never been done in the NBA.

“At some point,” Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said, “somebody is going to come from 3-0 down and win a series.”

Here’s Orlando’s chance to take another step to history.

The Magic have Game 5 and a Game 7 on their home floor, meaning if they can win tonight, a series that seemingly was over would have new life.

Orlando’s overtime win in Game 4 finally showed the grit of a team that played all year wanting to redeem its NBA finals loss to the Lakers.

Dwight Howard of the Magic expects the gritty team to show up tonight, but really it’s anybody’s guess.

“We didn’t win (Game 4) just to win a game to say we were in this series,” Howard said. “We want to make this a series and win this series. We all have to believe that. I told the guys before the game, ‘Put out all disbelief, anxiety and fear. We’ve just got to keep playing.’ “

The Celtics, meanwhile, aren’t exactly about to implode.

Even with the Magic playing the best they have all series, Boston still had chances. The Celtics never trailed by more than 10 and overcame a night when Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett were far from stellar.

They also had the ball for the final possession of regulation, but Paul Pierce lost his dribble as his teammates crowded him near the top of the key. Time expired amid a scramble, then they lost in overtime.

The Bruins? Well, they also lost Game 4 in overtime.

“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.

“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 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 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 three points on 1-of-9 shooting. He struggled so much he was replaced by J.J. Redick with 3:57 remaining in regulation.

Carter returned about two 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.”GAME 5

WHO: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic

WHEN: 8:30 tonight

SERIES: Celtics lead, 3-1


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