The Washington Wizards took the first pick in last night’s NBA draft lottery.

 

But the Boston Celtics were the league’s true winners.

 

The C’s took a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference final series against Orlando, handing the Magic a 95-92 defeat at Amway Arena.

 

All but written off for the second series in a row, Boston is firmly ahead — and has just two wins to go to ice a berth in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns. L.A. leads their Western Conference final series 1-0 going into tonight’s Game 2.

 

The C’s and Magic played a nip-and-tuck first half last night, with Boston carrying a slim lead into the locker room. But Orlando’s shooters went cold in the third quarter, and the visitors took advantage, going into the fourth up, 78-70.


The game was far more physical than Boston’s series-opening victory. Dwight Howard “highlighted” that front with a hard, seemingly deliberate foul on Paul Pierce in the first half.


But Pierce got his in the end, scoring 28 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing for five assists. Rajon Rondo, once more, did it all from the point guard position, totaling 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds.


Howard led all scorers with 30 points, but didn’t get as much from his supporting cast as Pierce did. J.J. Redick (16 points) and Vince Carter (16 points) were the best of the rest.