- 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.”
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Boston Celtics were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 92-88 in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals and as a result of the victory, gain home-court advantage in the series. The loss was the Magic’s first since April 2nd, when they were defeated on the road by the San Antonio Spurs, and snapped a 14-game winning streak dating back to the regular season. The Celtics were led by Ray Allen, who had 25 points and seven rebounds, and Paul Pierce, who had 22 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. The Magic were led by their starting backcourt, as Vince Carter finished with 23 points, five rebounds, and two steals, and Jameer Nelson ended up with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Via ESPN Stats and Information:
Boston’s starting five of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins destroyed opponents this season, posting the highest +/- of any 5-player combination in the regular season (+298). Against [the Orlando Magic], however, this lineup was far from dominant.
Vs. Orlando Vs. All Others Points per 100 poss. 101.2 114.2 Opp. Points per 100 poss. 113.2 100.0 Net Points per 100 poss. -12.0 +14.2 Net Points -27 +22
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “If their chance to construct a championship era was any grander, it would be lit up in blinking neon and announced by blaring horns. Surely, the Orlando Magic have taken a look around the shifting league landscape below them and admired the view. [...] If the Magic can’t see an opening here to run through, they are wasting 24-year-old Dwight Howard‘s muscles and 33-year-old Vince Carter‘s motivation to come home. They are old enough now to know better, seasoned with veterans who are in their primes or clinging to them, hardened by last season’s failed trip in the NBA Finals. The time is right and the field is ripe for the taking, or so it seems.”
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Today, the championship march truly begins against the Boston Celtics — the most renowned, revered franchise the NBA has ever known. This time it won’t be so easy. “It’s a war from here on out,” Magic forward Matt Barnes says. “There are not going to be any sweeps or blowouts. The hard hats are on, and we’re going into battle.” Nothing like an overstated military analogy to get pumped up for the Eastern Conference finals, huh? I’m just wondering: Did the Celtics come to Orlando by airplane or did they drive their M60 infantry tank? Make no mistake about it, the Celtics mean business. They’ve already knocked the top-seeded Cavaliers out of the playoffs and probably ran LeBron out of Cleveland in the process. And now they are coming into Amway Arena today in their quest for yet another championship banner to hang with all the others.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic have an injury concern heading into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals this afternoon against the Boston Celtics. Matt Barnes has been bothered by muscle spasms in his lower left back since the latter stages of Game 3 versus the Atlanta Hawks. The starting small forward said the pain has intensified in recent days, and team medical personnel held him out of practice Saturday to prevent the injury from worsening. Barnes said he plans to play in Game 1, but at times, he didn’t sound quite so sure. [...] He expected to receive treatment after he left the Magic’s practice facility on Saturday and pledged he would arrive at Amway Arena early today to stretch and get a pregame massage to loosen up his back muscles.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Point guards Jameer Nelson and Rajon Rondo have been two of the biggest stars of this postseason – Nelson leading the Magic to consecutive sweeps with his dynamic play running the controls and Rondo threatening to post triple-double type of numbers every game with his scoring, rebounding and passing. Nelson, the Magic’s little man playing with the proverbial chip on his shoulder, welcomes the challenge that Rondo brings. He has put to rest his uninspiring play in The NBA Finals last spring by being the Magic’s most consistently dynamic player this postseason, averaging teams highs in points (20.5 ppg.) and assists (5.3 apg.). Like the block-lettered tattoo across his shoulder blades that reads, “ALL EYES ON ME,” Nelson relishes a role where his play could ultimately decide the fate of the Magic.”
- Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe: “Kendrick Perkins’s battle with Shaquille O’Neal could just as easily have been in a steel cage. [...] He took an elbow to the neck in Game 5 that frustrated him to the point that he and O’Neal drew technicals, and Kevin Garnett had to calm him down. In Game 6, O’Neal lost his footing and tumbled to the parquet, with Perkins breaking the fall. His reward for surviving the six-game Texas death match? A paint battle with the well-rested Dwight Howard, the pseudo 7-footer known to devour rebounds, swat away layups and floaters, and crush opposing big men like a movie monster does to small cities. The Magic haven’t played since finishing a sweep against Atlanta last Monday.”
- Jarrod N. Rudolph of The Boston Globe: “Point guard play has been big for the Celtics and the Magic. Their All-Star point guards elevated their games en route to an Eastern Conference finals rematch. Jameer Nelson has silenced his critics and created a fan base, and Rajon Rondo has taken over the floor for the Celtics. With a return trip to the NBA Finals on the line, Nelson will try his best to put out Rondo’s fire and stop the budding star from leading his team to the championship.”
- Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “Rondo looked like Wes Welker in Game 4 against Cleveland, with his ability to catch long rebounds on a sprint and get the ball behind the scrambling Cavs. Orlando has even more of a penchant for deep shots, which can lead to long rebounds when the misses start to mount. This may be Rondo’s best chance to reach the paint without fear of Howard.”
- Ron Borges of the Boston Herald: “Orlando has more than the Cavs. It is not just about Dwight Howard. Although he is critical, he does not stand alone. He comes armed with a legitimately dangerous power forward in Rashard Lewis, a dangerous point guard who is playing well in Jameer Nelson, plus a solid and productive bench (all Cleveland had on its bench were towels) and a very good, if often whiny, coach in Stan Van Gundy. A year ago, the Magic had most of the same elements and were pushed to the brink by a Celtic team playing without Kevin Garnett. So, is there some reason to believe the C’s won’t be better this spring with a healthy Garnett playing near his optimum? No, there is not. Might Orlando, which is the betting favorite for the series, find a way to beat the Celtics? It might, but understand this: The team it’s facing is not the one that limped through the winter and early spring. The team it’s facing now is the best of the Celtics.”
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: “Stan Van Gundy keeps looking at video from the Magic matchups with the Celtics this season, but by now the performances must seem to the Orlando coach like old Hollywood “B” movies. Considering how the Celts are acting these days, the four games are more like a remake of 1943’s “I Walked with a Zombie.” The Green nights with the living dead have been replaced by three straight convincing wins against the team with the best record in the game and advancement to these Eastern Conference finals.”
- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Matt Barnes missed practice on Saturday with spasms in his lower left back, but expects to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. Barnes will arrive at Amway Arena early on Sunday to get treatment on the injury. The rest of Orlando’s active roster practiced. The [Orlando] Magic will play the Celtics at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, their first game since Monday’s Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks. [...] Barnes said he will have two or three more treatments today.”
- Dwight Howard thinks the Orlando Magic should win the series against the Boston Celtics. Sign of overconfidence? Not if you ask Howard.
- Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com picks the Celtics to beat the Magic in 7 games.
- Sean Deveney of The Baseline has the C’s in 6.
- Kendrick Perkins sat out practice today with a sore knee but will play in Game 1.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “On Friday, the Magic worked primarily on swinging the ball from side to side to keep Boston’s defense on the move. The Magic also want to try and get all-star center Dwight Howard more looks than just traditional post-ups because Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett have traditionally guarded him well. Howard averaged just 12.2 points on 46.9 percent shooting – numbers well below his season averages – this season against the Celtics. His low point of the season came on Christmas Day when Howard was held to just five points and afterward both he and [Stan] Van Gundy agreed that he didn’t see the ball nearly enough. Howard got better against the Celtics as the season progressed by using his smarts and speed against Perkins. ‘He does play me tough. The big thing playing against him is that in past years I’ve tried to get in a big wrestling match with him,’ Howard said of his battles with Perkins. ‘But I think if I want to play to my advantage I have to use my quickness and my finesse to get around him instead of trying to overpower him.‘ ”
- I’ve long held the opinion, and I re-affirmed my position on this topic with Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post in my Q/A with him yesterday, that Howard needs to beat Perkins with his athleticism and speed, not his strength. For Magic fans, it should be encouraging to see that Howard realizes that.
- Benjamin Hoffman of Off the Dribble lists a few surprising players that have a chance at winning their first championship.
- Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk comments on head coach Stan Van Gundy: “Ours is not a very positive society, in terms of the media, in case you haven’t noticed. So when the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics, the turn from all over, including from this blog, revolved around the failure of LeBron James and the Cavaliers, and James’ legacy. As a side note, oh, yeah, the Boston Celtics managed to dismantle the team with the best record in the league, get all of their weapons going and win in convincing fashion. But Stan Van Gundy thinks that to gloss over what the Celtics did to crucify James and the Cavs is a flawed design. [...] Van Gundy’s point is a strong one.”
- We’re talking about legacy?
- Happy fifth birthday to TrueHoop!
- John Schuhmann of NBA.com provides 10 statistical nuggets regarding Orlando and Boston.
- UPDATE: A look at the matchup between Jameer Nelson and Rajon Rondo.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Via Peter D. Newmann of ESPN Statistics and Information Research:
Dwight Howard will be a huge factor in this series. Can Boston get into the paint and score against the [Orlando] Magic while Howard is in the game?
2009-2010 regular season vs. Boston Celtics:
Howard On Court Howard Off Court FG Pct. 39.7 45.8 FG Pct. in Paint 49.5 52.3 Points in the Paint 102 46 Net Points -27 +22
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Garnett, who turns 34 next week, is back at full strength and in full throat. He led a 50-win Celtics team to a surprising 4-2 elimination of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who finished the season with the best record in the league. Now it’s the [Orlando] Magic who have inherited best-record status and home-court advantage through the NBA Finals, should they make a return trip. While Garnett’s return has reunited the Celtics’ 2007-08 championship team, the Magic have three different starters from last season’s lineup against Boston: [Jameer] Nelson (trade-deadline acquisition Rafer Alston filled in), shooting guard Vince Carter (J.J. Redick was the starter) and small forward Matt Barnes (playing Hedo Turkoglu’s old position). Next to Nelson’s assignment of corralling triple-double threat Rajon Rondo, Lewis, 6-feet-10, 230 pounds, has likely the next-toughest task of defending a rejuvenated Garnett, 7-feet, 254 pounds.”
- Tickets for the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Amway Arena sold out in nine minutes.
- Head coach Stan Van Gundy has respect for the Boston Celtics.
- Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com reminisces to the time when the Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Orlando defeated Boston three times in four meetings during the regular season. The Magic twice won in Boston, beating the Celtics 83-78 in November and 96-89 in February. The Magic won 96-94 in Orlando on a last-second layup by Rashard Lewis, but lost 86-77 at Amway Arena on Christmas Day to the Celtics. It had been assumed for months that the Cavs and the Magic would meet once again in the Eastern Conference Finals as they did last spring when Orlando won the series, 4-2. But instead it will be the Magic and Celtics to decide who goes to the NBA Finals. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he wasn’t one bit surprised that the Celtics are back in the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Cavaliers in three consecutive games.”
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post previews the Magic’s series against the Celtics and takes a look at the numbers, courtesy of Synergy Sports Technology, to see if Matt Barnes and Vince Carter will succeed cross-matching defensively against Ray Allen and Pierce: “Pierce gets most of his offense initiating the pick-and-roll, which happens to be Barnes’ biggest weakness defensively. He’s also not much of an isolation defender. His biggest strength, covering players coming off screens, also happens to align with how Allen gets most of his offense. So Barnes on Allen–or, if you prefer to word it differently, Barnes off Pierce–makes sense, though the low frequency with which he’s had to cover shooters coming off screens might be cause for concern. But what of Carter? Can he hope to cover Pierce? The answer appears to be “yes.” Here’s how Carter covered the pick-and-roll and isolation plays this year. [...] So although Barnes is a better defender overall, Carter’s skill set better equips him to cover Pierce. And Barnes’ tools counter Allen’s quite nicely.”
- Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference likes Orlando to beat Boston in 6 games.
- Shaun Powell of NBA.com: “The Magic took three of four from the Celtics during the season when Vince Carter had three big games and Dwight Howard averaged 14 rebounds. But for the most part, those contests were close, which means we might be spared another Orlando sweep this series. Also, the Celtics will be motivated to squeeze out a second championship in what is very likely the last run for K.G.-Ray Allen-Paul Pierce. The most interesting plot doesn’t involve those three players, or Howard, but Rajon Rondo and Jameer Nelson. This has the makings of being a very intense and entertaining matchup. Rondo had a breakout season (All-Star) and was terrific against the Cavaliers. Jameer, injured through much of last year’s postseason, is leading Orlando in scoring, assists and steals. And just think: They’ll actually see a quality point guard across the floor, for the first time in these playoffs.”
- Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “Howard is just 24, yet already a three-time All-NBA first-team center, winning Defensive Player of the Year the past two seasons. He became the first player in league history to twice lead the league in both blocked shots and rebounding the same season. Russell might have turned that double for all 13 years he played — except for two things: Wilt Chamberlain was a more prodigious rebounder, and the NBA didn’t keep track of blocked shots back then. Russell was the first NBA player who literally controlled a game by his defensive prowess, blocking and changing shots with his athleticism, instincts and desire. Howard has more than just scratched that same surface.
Via the Orlando Magic:
It’s time for Magic fans and the community to jump into the excitement as Blue & White Ignite for the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. The Magic encourage their fans to show their spirit and wear Blue and White to ignite the team in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Some highlights of the fan activities surrounding the 2010 Orlando Magic Playoffs, presented by Bright House Networks, will include:
- For Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 9,000 blue and 9,000 white “Blue & White Ignite” T-shirts presented by Bright House Networks will be given away, along with 10,000 rally rackets.
- For Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 10,000 drawstring bags and 1,000 autographed STUFF photos presented by T-Mobile will be given away, along with 10,000 rally rackets.
- Fan Fest will take place on the north side of Amway Arena for all home playoff games. The Fan Fest will feature the Legend’s Lounge presented by Bright House Networks, where fans can meet and get autographs from Community Ambassadors Bo Outlaw and Nick Anderson. The Fan Fest will open two hours prior to tip-off and will have an official playoff merchandise trailer, while food and beverage will also be available for purchase. This will be a huge fan zone with a tailgate atmosphere that will give fans a reason to arrive early for the festivities.
- Fans will also have the opportunity to win tickets to each Eastern Conference Finals game at Fan Fest. Follow the Magic on Twitter, Facebook and Magic Text to receive updates on how to win. Fans who were unable to secure tickets to the Eastern Conference Finals can also enjoy the game on the 10’x13’ LED screen at Fan Fest.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
As seen on ABC’s Sunday Dime.
I gathered writers, the best of the best in the blogosphere, to participate in a roundtable discussion and answer some of the most pertinent questions concerning the Orlando Magic as the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals are set to begin.
So, without further ado, here are the participants:
Each individual provided a quick breakdown of the series between the Magic and the Boston Celtics, his opinion on the player that has been the most impressive for Orlando in the postseason (up to this point), and more.
With the Orlando Magic having already put the finishing touches on back-to-back sweeps against the Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the question that is invariably being asked is whether or not they are falling in the same trap that tripped up the Cleveland Cavaliers last year? Does that logic apply to the Magic? Why or why not?
Kevin Arnovitz: This logic does not apply to Orlando because the premise defies logic. The notion that a team somehow hurts itself by dominating opponents with brutal efficiency is silly. If Orlando loses in the Eastern Conference Finals, it assuredly won’t be because they were too successful in previous rounds. It will be because they failed to execute their stuff.
Kurt Helin: I don’t think so, because these Magic understand about winning in a way that Cavs team did not. I’m a believer you have to learn to win in the NBA. Orlando went to the Finals last year. This is a team that learned what it took to get there and a painful lesson from the loss in the Final last year about what it takes to be a champion. That there is another level of commitment (plus having a health Jameer Nelson doesn’t hurt). These Magic have come out and taken care of business in a professional way, not letting up.
That Cavaliers team did not lose because of the sweeps in the first two rounds. They lost because they were not the best team, they did not execute as well, they could not get the matchups they liked. These Magic are the best team.
Matt Moore: I think it does. I think that complacency is the worst thing that can happen to a ballclub in the playoffs is complacency. And Orlando’s going to have more of it than any Conference Finalist. Swept through the first and second rounds, never challenged. Drew easy opponents who didn’t match up well. Lots of time off. This is recipe for disaster against a Boston team that’s rolling. The fact that the first games are in Orlando, meaning they have to immediately switch back to high gear because they MUST win their first two games is adding to that. Every team thinks that their dominance is real and valid until it gets blindsided. Then they can’t understand why they ever thought that to begin with.