Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics | Magic Basketball

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Jan 17

Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Eight months later, the memory still stings. The Orlando Magic finally have returned to the place where their title dreams ended last postseason. They recall how they walked off of TD Garden’s parquet floor as the Boston Celtics celebrated winning the Eastern Conference championship. […] Fair enough. Only six players remain from the Magic squad that fell to the Celtics last May in six games. But when Orlando faces Boston on Monday night in a nationally televised, primetime game at TD Garden, the Magic will find themselves in an all-too-familiar position: looking up at their rivals from Massachusetts. The Celtics own the conference’s best record and lead the fourth-place Magic by 4½ games.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “What worries the Magic about Dwight Howard’s future plans is the trend of stars aligning to form super teams. […] A member of Howard’s camp told me weeks ago, however, that Dwight also is monitoring the Magic’s progress and will keep an open mind. A week ago, a New York Daily News NBA columnist speculated, citing unnamed sources, that the Los Angeles Lakers are in Howard’s crystal ball. Might be true, might be fantasy. All I know is that Anthony’s pending free agency not only has undermined Denver’s season, but derailed the Nuggets’ plans. The Magic might be caught in the same crosshairs with Howard next season.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “A return to Boston’s TD Garden for Monday’s nationally televised showdown between Orlando and Boston is sure to stir emotions considering it is the site of some of the best and worst memories in Magic franchise history. For Hedo Turkoglu, being back in Boston in a Magic uniform is sure to conjure up imagines of his performance for the ages in a Game 7 in the 2009 playoffs. For other Magic players such as Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick, their memories of Boston are fresher and still very raw considering that’s where Orlando was shockingly stopped in the Eastern Conference Finals last spring. “
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “[Stan] Van Gundy‘s biggest problem here is that the new starters simply don’t play well together. As of BasketballValue.com’s last update, on January 11th, the current starting group had logged 108.5 minutes together, with a -7 scoring differential. On balance, that’s not terrible–it’s not as though that crew’s getting killed–but a team with championship aspirations certainly needs a better five-man combination to get things rolling immediately after tipoff. It’s possible the new crew simply needs time to jell, and soon enough it’ll start rolling teams. But that may not ever happen, which is why Van Gundy should strongly consider shuffling his rotation. The most obvious fix, since [Brandon] Bass has slumped and [Ryan] Anderson‘s caught fire, would be to swap those two at power forward. In his last three games, Bass is 10-of-34 from the floor for 24 points, adding 18 rebounds in 77 minutes. Anderson’s 15-of-30 from the floor, and 10-of-20 from three-point range, in the same span, pouring in 44 points and 24 boards in 73 minutes.”
  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: “Despite a 14-game winning streak and the Eastern Conference’s best record, Celtics coach Doc Rivers did not like his team’s direction heading into its Christmas Day showdown with Orlando. The Celtics eased those concerns with three impressive quarters against the Magic, and Rivers felt his team would win in spite of its deficiencies. But the new-look Magic rallied in the fourth quarter and the Celtics broke down in the final minutes of an 86-78 loss. The past three weeks have served as a challenge and learning experience for the Celtics. Garnett has learned patience. Glen Davis has learned about shot selection. Jermaine O’Neal learned that his 32-year-old body may not have as much left as he or the organization believed. And the Celtics have learned that their roster will have to be more interchangeable than expected because of injuries.”
  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: “There was some medical give-and-take yesterday as the Celtics warmed up for Patriots watching with a hard practice. Kevin Garnett looked good in a full session, but Shaquille O’Neal spent his time in the trainer’s room after slipping on snow and ice yesterday morning. (Shaq was treated for an adductor injury in his upper leg; no word on the condition of the earth.) The Celts are hoping Garnett, who suffered a strained right calf Dec. 29, will be able to play tonight, and they certainly need him against the Magic.”
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