Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics, Game 4 | Magic Basketball



May 24

Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics, Game 4

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Historical evidence indicates the Orlando Magic are vacation-bound, unable to change the course of the series against the Boston Celtics. But maybe tonight they can change — or erase — an unflattering image that could dog them into the summer and beyond after Saturday night’s Boston Massacre.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Dwight] Howard‘s pursuit of outside interests will only slow down his development as an NBA superstar. Dwight is sensitive to criticism — I’ve seen this personally on several columns I’ve written — and does take things to heart. This isn’t a rip job, just an honest assessment: He’s got to get better and develop a versatile offensive game plan. He’s got to start making more free throws. He’s got to earn that superstar status, because right now he’s losing a lot of street cred in the NBA.”
  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Fairly or unfairly, the personal stake in this series is huge for [Vince] Carter. Down 0-3 to the Boston Celtics after a 94-71 loss on Saturday, the Magic face the possibility of failing to match last season’s NBA Finals appearance or, worse, getting swept out of the Eastern Conference finals. If either or both happens it will be looked upon as a failure of Orlando’s offseason moves — the most significant of which featured Carter’s arrival and Hedo Turkoglu’s departure.”
  • Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe: “Indeed, the Celtics have had the Magic boxed in for the majority of the Eastern Conference finals, taking a three-games-to-none-lead with a 94-71 win Saturday night. The Celtics, who can close out the series tonight at the Garden, have given up 100 points just three times in these playoffs — their only three losses. In their 11 playoff wins, the Celtics have held opponents to 84.9 points a game. The defense that struggled to keep teams from hanging 100 at the end of the regular season is now playing as well as it has all season.”
  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: “The Magic are taking more of a plunge than they would at Splash Mountain at Disney World in Orlando, and are figuratively being doused at the conclusion of the drop. They are soaking wet, embarrassed, and stunned as they enter Game 4 tonight at TD Garden. No NBA team has come back from a three-games-to-none deficit, and if the Magic are swept, this season will be considered an abject failure. Even if the Magic steal Game 4 and send the series back to Orlando, they will be tabbed disappointments considering how they finished the regular season and swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs. But the Magic have at least one more game to display that their pride has not been expunged.”
  • Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “[Rashard] Lewis averaged 16 points during the Magic’s first eight playoff games – all wins – but has averaged just five during these three games against the Celtics. He’s made only two baskets in each and has attempted only two free throws – both in Game 1. Lewis is also 1-of-13 from his preferred 3-point range. […] But Garnett isn’t simply playing straight-up defense. As in 2008, when his help defense was the lifeblood of an NBA title, Garnett is again covering the hardwood like a free safety. He’s back to defending against the pick-and-roll and recovering on time to deny Lewis a good shot. Any thoughts that the Lewis of the regular season – the player who successfully drove out of the corner on an immobilized Garnett for the game-winner with 1.3 seconds left in a Jan. 28 game in Orlando – would be a factor now are gone.”
  • Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald: “For not only are the Celtics “back,” they have conquered whatever problems they brought out to the parquet during the regular season. When they take the court tonight for Game 4 against the deflated, sad Magic, the Garden will be primed and ready to be the launching pad to the team’s second trip to the NBA Finals in three years. It wasn’t long ago – just weeks, really – that people were asking which of Boston’s four pro sports franchises was the closest to winning a championship. Few had the Celtics on the list, even after they dismissed the Miami Heat in just five games in the first round. The Celtics made believers of everyone when they humiliated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round, but there was one home clunker in the mix: a 124-95 loss to the Cavs. But think big picture: The Celtics are 6-1 at home in the postseason.”
  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: “Stan Van Gundy has been trying to get in front of every bullet he can, but what the Celtics are doing to his team is hardly on the coach – and it’s amazing that some will try to pin it there. He has put his players in a position to succeed all year, and they have responded in this series by rarely working hard enough and by tightening up and missing open shots when they do. On a club with this much talent, the sight of the Magic failing to play for each other is a clear sign that no magnetic force in sneakers has yet emerged.”

I know no other team has come back from the 0-3 grave, but the Magic needs to die fighting...and fight for respect.