Second Look: Boston Celtics 92, Orlando Magic 88 | Magic Basketball

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May 17

Second Look: Boston Celtics 92, Orlando Magic 88

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The worst thing that was required from the last playoff perfect team on Sunday was that they were forced to play perfect. The Orlando Magic were so far behind that a late comeback needed to be error-free, every shot had to fall and every stop defended. Even the beer vendor couldn’t spill a drop. You can perhaps pull off that against lesser teams, but not against the Boston Celtics, who wrote the handbook on how to win titles. The fact is, the Magic had to mount a furious, fourth-quarter rally just to make their 92-88 loss seem respectable in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amway Arena.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Now we get to see. Now we get to find out. Now we finally learn if the Orlando Magic really and truly are championship material. We know what the high-flying, free-wheeling Magic can do when opponents lay down and play the role of frustrated foot wipes in the playoffs. Now let’s see what the knocked-down, beaten-up Magic can do when they get punched in the teeth during the playoffs.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Boston coach Doc Rivers threw one big man after another at [Dwight] Howard. With so much depth on the side, Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace and Glen “Big Baby” Davis never hesitated to batter the Orlando center. The trio’s defense helped the Celtics open the series with a 92-88 win over the Magic. [...] They limited Howard to 3-of-10 shooting from the field, a statistic that doesn’t include the times Howard missed a close-range shot as he was fouled. Indeed, the Celtics’ big men made certain to hammer Howard when he received the ball in position for an easy dunk or a layup. Howard didn’t record a single dunk Sunday. Heading into the game, Howard said he wanted to use his quickness to force Perkins to move his feet. That rarely occurred in Game 1. Celtics players barely gave Howard any room to maneuver.”
  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Celtics’ shooting guard Ray Allen and small forward Paul Pierce combined for 47 of Boston’s 92 points in a 92-88 win over the Orlando Magic. Heading into the series, the Magic made a defensive adjustment on Pierce and Allen. During the regular season forward Matt Barnes guarded Pierce while guard Vince Carter guarded Allen. Just the opposite was true during Game 1. But Barnes struggled through spasms in his lower left back, a remnant of an injury he suffered in Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks, which made his task that much more difficult.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “James Naismith’s grand old game can be broken down into simple components: The teams with favorable matchups usually wins. The Celtics aren’t a good matchup for the Magic because they don’t have to double-team Dwight. Simple deal. There’s plenty more bounces left in this series. It hardly means the Magic are toast. But it does mean they will need to take more purposeful steps to win four games. The Magic will have to adjust to the Celtics because they Celtics aren’t going to switch anything up, and those old legs have no intention of cramping. They are now full of life, having drop-kicked the Cleveland Cavaliers into a summer of turmoil, and looking lively in Game 1 against Orlando.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “A Magic squad that had rolled through runaway sweeps of Charlotte and Atlanta in the first two rounds of the playoffs and hadn’t lost a game of any kind in 44 days got slapped and shoved around by the Celtics. When Boston smothered Dwight Howard inside, shut off Orlando’s 3-point shooting outside and made everything else in between difficult, the Celtics were able to beat the Magic 92-88 and steal away homecourt advantage. Off the past five days after dominating Atlanta in the most lopsided four-game series in playoff history, the Magic looked to be shocked at times on Sunday with the white-hot intensity with which the Celtics defended. The Magic trailed by as many as 20 points and failed to lead in the game at any point for just the second time all season. And when a furious fourth-quarter rally fell short, the Magic were left to search for answers as to the impetus of their sluggish start.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Credit the Celtics for executing a great game plan throughout. I do think we have to call the Magic’s strategy into question here. Over the last 3 seasons, the Celtics have very well established that they can shut Howard down one-on-one; posting him up isn’t a sound idea, yet Orlando kept pounding the ball inside to him. Going forward, the Magic have to get Howard involved as a pick-and-roll finisher, and he can help himself by creating opportunities on the offensive glass. Expecting him to score consistently and efficiently against Boston’s bigs isn’t realistic. It simply baffled me to watch the Magic consistently clear out for Howard.”
  • Gary Dzen of The Boston Globe: “The NBA’s second most prolific 3-point shooter of all time, Allen took what the defense gave him in the first quarter, pacing all scorers with 8 points without attempting a three. His two field goals and four free throws in the quarter came on a variety of drives and pull-up jumpers, and for most of Game 1 Allen torched the Magic on something other than his bread-and-butter outside shooting. [...] Allen kept driving, finishing with 12 points in the first half. When the Magic were making a run in the second half, the old Ray Allen surfaced. Two clutch jumpers — one with 6:35 remaining in the fourth quarter and the other with 5:34 remaining — ended Orlando runs and silenced the “defense’’ chant from the crowd. The second shot — a 3-pointer — put the Celtics ahead by 13 just as the Magic were threatening to cut the deficit to fewer than 10.”
  • Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe: “Leads come and go in the NBA, where great shooters reside and where the 24-second clock eliminates the idea of holding the ball. Funky stuff happens at the end of games. Who makes or misses free throws usually seals the deal. But what people so often dismiss when a team such as the Celtics gets ahead of a team as powerful as the Magic by 20 points in the third quarter, and then hangs on to win by a 92-88 score, is how tremendously efficient and dedicated to the task they were in order to acquire that 20-point lead. Sure the Magic made a run. But it wasn’t good enough. The hill was too big to climb.”
  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: “There were two Bud Lights waiting on the top of Rasheed Wallace’s locker following the Celtics’ 92-88 win over the Magic in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. It’s Wallace’s postgame beverage of choice and someone in the Celtics organization added an additional frosty bottle as a reward for his contributions yesterday. Wallace’s preference for the occasional adult beverage following games raised eyebrows in the Celtics locker room. That ritual was one of several that caused his teammates to challenge his focus and dedication this season. And Wallace’s answer was to continue to function as he had the previous 14 years — headstrong and defiant.
  • Michael Vega of The Boston Globe: “By the end of Boston’s 92-88 victory over the Magic in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, Howard, a pretty imposing specimen himself, couldn’t help but feel inundated, out of synch, and clearly frustrated with having to tangle with Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, and Rasheed Wallace in the low post. Howard came prepared to box, to stick and move, to land his punches, and to score his points. But Orlando’s 6-foot-11-inch, 265-pound center wound up getting dragged into a melee.”
  • Frank Dell’Apa of The Boston Globe: “The Celtics entered the fourth quarter with a 16-point advantage. Then, they seemed to start trying to play out the clock and start preparing for tomorrow night’s Game 2. In the fourth quarter, only three players did not have a shot attempt — Pierce, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, and the Magic’s Marcin Gortat. There are few better indications of how overly dependent the Celtics used to be on Pierce’s offense and how much more varied their attack has become in the last three years.”
  • Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “The Celtics took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals with yesterday’s 92-88 win against the previously flawless Magic, and in one sense not much had changed from their previous series against Cleveland. Just as they closed down the paint well enough to demoralize LeBron James, they came in with every available foul yesterday and left Dwight Howard looking at the referees in quizzical dismay. The Magic center made only 3-of-10 shots on the way to a hollow 13-point, 12-rebound double-double.”
  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: “Yesterday the three-man tag team of Perkins, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis drew first blood against Dwight Howard, making him work for every inch of his 13 points. After shooting 84.4 percent in a four-game sweep of Atlanta, Howard struggled to hit three of his 10 attempts from the floor against the Celtics, who attacked his sculpted frame as if they were pigeons. Big, strong pigeons.”
  • Ron Borges of the Boston Herald: “In professional sports, business is business, but it might not be as good business as some think to just let Allen walk out the door when this interminable NBA season ends. Allen reminded both the Celtics and the rest of the NBA of that by showing again what he brings to the arena on so many nights – reliability, adjustments to the night’s problems and coolness in the face of mounting hysteria around him. Allen responded to Orlando’s early efforts to take his shot away by driving to the basket for all 12 of his first-half points, not hitting his first jumper – fittingly a 26-foot 3-pointer – until 6:12 of the third quarter. But when the Celtics needed him to put down shots from long range he did in two of the game’s most critical moments of the fourth quarter – at a time when his teammates were unable to make a shot.”
  • Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com: “You can almost picture the scene: The Celtics bunkered down for film study at their practice facility, coming off an intense six-game series with the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers, and watching tape of the Orlando Magic essentially waltz through the first two rounds of the 2010 NBA playoffs. But what stands out most is how the opposition offers little in the way of resistance against Dwight Howard, allowing Orlando’s uberathletic center to get to the rim uncontested and convert an array of dunks and layups. The Celtics are half appalled, half salivating. It won’t come that easy against them, they promise each other.”
4 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@derekk

Well, at the time, it made sense ... the Celtics were struggling and Allen has a massive expiring contract, which would have been used in a trade. Of course, Boston looks smart now for not moving Allen at the trade deadline.

derekk
derekk

It's amazing how they could even think of trading Allen.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@MagicBasketballOnline

Yeah, there were a lot of outliers in Game 1 for the Magic that should be remedied in Game 2. At least, that's the hope.

MagicBasketballOnline
MagicBasketballOnline

The point that Ben makes about the constant post-ups of Dwight is spot on. I watched the game with about 5 other die-hard Magic fans and we were screaming about it the entire game. If he is making shots, then I get it... but SVG should know that when Dwight is off, he rarely gets it back together in the 4th. Those post-ups should have been run through Vince or Rashard. Even with that being said, a lot of those shots Dwight missed he CAN make and normally will make at least half of them. I'm looking forward to game 2 and a much better shooting performance from the Magic.