BOSTON (AP) -- The NBA's most-decorated team avoided the biggest playoff collapse in league history and earned a chance to hang an unprecedented 18th championship banner from the rafters.
Paul Pierce had 31 points and 13 rebounds, and little-used backup Nate Robinson gave the Celtics a boost with 13 second-quarter points as Boston beat the Orlando Magic 96-84 on Friday night, earning a chance to play for a second NBA title in three years.
The finals will begin Thursday in either Los Angeles or Phoenix.
The Lakers lead the Western Conference finals 3-2, and a victory over the Suns in Game 6 on Saturday would set up the cross-coast rivals for a rematch of the 2008 finals -- and 10 other championship series from 1959-87.
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