BOSTON – Rajon Rondo hit the deck hard, grimacing after being fouled. Glen Davis played through dizziness from a concussion. Rasheed Wallace put up with a painful back.

The Boston Celtics sure could use some time off.

Now they’re getting it with a five-day break between games before starting the final drive toward their goal — a second NBA championship in three years and an 18th in club history, more than any other team.

Coach Doc Rivers gave his players two days off after their dominating performance Friday night with the wounded and woozy Rondo, Davis and Wallace helping in a 96-84 victory against the Orlando Magic.

Boston led by at least 12 points throughout the second half and clinched the Eastern Conference title in six games. The NBA finals begin Thursday night at the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns. Los Angeles led the West finals 3-2 heading into Saturday night’s game in Phoenix.

Paul Pierce could use a respite from the battering he took on drives in the physical series with the Magic.

“I know I need it,” said Pierce, the star of the clincher with 31 points and 13 rebounds.

“I’ve got a couple injuries that I kind of want to cure. Just minor stuff like foot, back, stuff like that. But nothing major for me, you know. Running into Dwight Howard really doesn’t help your body.”

Late in the third quarter of Game 5, Davis was leveled by an inadvertent elbow to the face from Orlando’s muscular center under Boston’s basket. Dazed, he struggled to his feet slowly then zigzagged upcourt on rubbery legs before falling into the arms of referee Joey Crawford near midcourt.

Two days later, Davis contributed six points, seven rebounds and a block in 17 minutes.

“I was kind of dizzy a little bit because of the loud noise and just the adrenaline,” he said. “Then I kind of slowed down. I just thought, ‘just go out there and play.’ “

Rondo was floored by Jason Williams while driving to the basket.

Boston’s point guard landed awkwardly on his back and stayed down, then got up slowly and sank two free throws for the last points of the first quarter and a 30-19 Celtics lead.

“He’s going to be OK,” Rivers said. “I’m more concerned with Rasheed, honestly. Rasheed got tight. You could see it. I will say this about Rasheed and (Davis). Neither one of them was in great shape.”

Wallace played only 12 scoreless minutes but had three rebounds. The backup forward, who has emerged as a major contributor in the playoffs, had left the previous game with back spasms and tweaked his back again Friday.

“Rasheed could not move,” Rivers said, “but we have time. So I think by Thursday we’ll be good.”

There also are some minor injuries — Kendrick Perkins’ right wrist and Tony Allen’s right ankle. And Marquis Daniels missed Friday’s game after sustaining a concussion Wednesday.

“I’m glad we’re going to get done and get some rest,” Rivers said. “That may be the most important thing going into the next series.”

Rivers made it a priority to have his team healthy for the playoffs, even if it meant losing regular-season games.


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