Second Look: Boston Celtics 94, Orlando Magic 71 | Magic Basketball



May 23

Second Look: Boston Celtics 94, Orlando Magic 71

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  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Boston Celtics 94, Magic 71 holds a place in club infamy because of all that was riding on Saturday night. Desperately needing a victory to essentially keep a title-or-bust dream alive, the [Orlando] Magic caved in early and never recovered. The Sentinel asked small forward Matt Barnes just who that team was wearing the blue uniforms. […] The frustration boiled over in the Magic lockeroom when point guard Jason Williams screamed at least one reporter, upset he didn’t have room to undress. Williams also was beaten to a loose ball by a diving Rajon Rondo, a symbolic play of the game, a play that drew a line between the teams.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Saturday was supposed to be the night the Magic defense solidified. It wasn’t. In an attempt to slow down Pierce, Orlando opened the game with small forward Matt Barnes — one of the team’s top two defenders on the wings — guarding Pierce one-on-one instead of Vince Carter. Little changed. Pierce scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half. […] The Celtics’ offense displayed the ball movement the Magic want from themselves. Boston finished Saturday with 23 assists to eclipse their previous high total in this series of 21, set in Game 1. On one Boston possession in the second quarter, Celtics assistant coach Kevin Eastman counted his players make eight passes without taking a dribble.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Forget about those “Blue and White Ignite” T-shirts the Magic have been giving away before home playoff games. With the Magic trailing this series by an historically insurmountable 3-0, the only thing left to say now is this: Blue and White, good night. Sweep dreams, Magic.”
  • John Denton of “Equal parts disappointed and shocked, an Orlando Magic team that went 44 days and 14 games without losing in April and early-May suddenly can’t win. And because the surging Boston Celtics once again flexed their muscles, the Magic’s championship dreams could now frustratingly be on the verge of extinction. A Celtics team that is starting to resemble the unit that won the NBA title in 2008 once again smothered Orlando defensively and systematically picked the Magic apart in a 94-71 Boston rout at TD Garden. When Boston’s run to a 3-0 edge in the Eastern Conference Finals was complete Saturday night, the Magic were left to search for answers as to how things have so suddenly soured on them. An Orlando team that has dreamed for 11 months about making another run back to the NBA Finals to capture the title that eluded it last June is now in a position of merely trying to save face.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “For Orlando, there is no bright side here. Boston outclassed it in every aspect of the game. Jameer Nelson appeared to be the only player who really competed, at times, and he didn’t even play all that well, scoring 15 points on 15 shooting possessions with 1 assist and 4 turnovers. Rashard Lewis continued to struggle, with 4 points on 2-of-8 shooting, 4 rebounds, 5 fouls, and 4 turnovers. And the defense, which had to this point been decent, completely fell apart. The Celtics’ interior passing exposed the Magic and led to scores of easy buckets. Nothing went right.”
  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: “Before the Orlando Magic had the opportunity to gain a sliver of the confidence they’ve never had in this series, the Celtics showed how much they respect the authority of coach Doc Rivers. His influence on this team was questioned several times during the regular season, so much so that he considered walking away following the season. But the Celtics players are now digesting every word from their commander and because of that, they are one win away from a return trip to the NBA Finals. The Celtics scored 21 of the first 27 points in their 94-71 Game 3 Eastern Conference final victory over the Magic. They led by double digits nearly the entire game, using that game-opening run to suffocate the life out of a Magic team whose desire was sputtering from the opening tip.”
  • Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe: “The Celtics had already piled up a 17-point lead after Rajon Rondo turned a sneaky little layup into a 3-point play. Then a hustle play became not just a highlight, but the highlight. Tony Allen got into a passing lane and tapped a pass that rolled into the Magic’s backcourt. Orlando backup point guard Jason Williams jogged after it, but Rondo was sprinting behind him. As Williams bent to grab the loose ball, Rondo dived headfirst at Williams’s ankles, tapping the ball to himself, getting up, shaking Williams with a quick crossover and sinking a layup that made it 36-17.”
  • Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “All anyone is going to remember from this one is the energy gap. Orlando, needing its best start of the series, folded almost from the opening jump. The Celtics, with the memory of their Game 3 stinker against the Cavaliers still fresh, opened with a Mike Tyson-style haymaker that shook Dwight Howard to the soles of his adidas. The energy launched Rajon Rondo onto the floor – after poking the ball from Jason Williams into the backcourt during the second quarter – for a sliding steal between the Orlando guard’s legs. The Celtics’ point guard got to his feet, drove to convert a short hook over Williams to convert a play that few had ever witnessed.”
  • Ron Borges of the Boston Herald: “One hopes the Orlando Magic brought their golf clubs with them on this trip because they didn’t bring their pride. Facing a must-win, do-or-die situation last night the Magic opted for the latter. Not the do, the die. There were cadavers showing more life Saturday night in Boston than the Magic did. The Magic were so bad in the first half of an eventual 94-71 loss to the Celtics that left them down 0-3 in the Eastern Conference finals that head Magician Stan Van Gundy’s fondest hope was if he reached into his top hat they would all disappear … which they already had.”