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Will Not Go Down Easy: C’s 94, Magic 96

This one was tough for the C’s.  From the opening tip it looked as if the Celtics were going to run away with this one before the Magic could even muster a lick of offense.  Vince Carter looked silly, Dwight Howard looked like he hadn’t learned any post moves since the last time the C’s saw him, and Rashard Lewis could not hit any thing.  Then, of course, there was the second half.

Just rough, rough stuff from the C’s.  The Magic really picked up their interior defense, not letting any player other than Rondo get near the bucket.  Big Baby got embarrassed a few times trying to drive on Gortat and KG could not muster a single quick step on his patented turn around base line jumper.

What makes this especially hard to swallow is that despite the offense being nonexistent aside from Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace, the Celtics were a J.J. Redick missed three away from winning this game.  Ughhh.   Never in a million years do I want J.J. Redick to beat my team.  Not because he gels his hair before playing basketball, or because he wishes he were a rapper, or because I went to Boston College and had to suffer through his “holier than thou act ’cause I went to Duke” air- it’s because he is just not a good player.  His supposed strength coming out of college was his already deadly NBA three point range and up until that shot, he couldn’t hit anything.  He can’t guard Yi’s chair and he can’t dribble the ball with his head up.  Oh and did I mention he gels his hair before playing basketball?

Okay so I’m bitter.  The Celtics just lost a very winnable game.  That and this game was the first big one out of a trio of games that would supposedly test their mettle.  Consider their mettle tested.  They couldn’t hold a fourth quarter lead, Kevin Garnett hobbled away the game winner, and they got beat by J.J. Redick.  Enough said…

..and since that really isn’t “enough said,”  here are some bullets for all you masochists out there:

  • It’s hard to believe Dwight Howard only scored 19 points and 10 rebounds when Perkins only played 15 minutes.  It’s even harder to believe that Perk picked up 5 fouls in 15 minutes and only two of those fouls came while guarding Howard one on one.  What’s even even harder harder to believe is that for a stretch in the fourth quarter, Dwight Howard dominated offensively without a single thunderous dunk.  Howard connected on three hook shots 7 feet and beyond that we had all grown accustomed to seeing roll off the rim.  I’m not ready to crown Dwight Howard as an effective and versatile low-post scorer, but I am impressed and will be monitoring to see if this gains any consistency.
  • The starters played a lot tonight.  Both Pierce and Allen played over 40 minutes and KG played 33- the last 10 of which were painstakingly hobbled through.  This does not bode well for tomorrow night’s game against Atlanta.  I do not want the C’s to get swept by Atlanta.  I could have dealt with it should the C’s have held on and won tonight, but they didn’t and I don’t see how they’re going to win tomorrow unless the Hawks come out and lay the biggest egg of the season.
  • In the beginning, the pick and roll was working really well for the C’s.  For some reason (bad communication? bad strategy? bad play?) the Magic doubled the guy with the ball only to have no one rotate over when the ball was swung to the screener.   Ray Allen hit ‘Sheed a couple of times with wide open mid-range jumpers off of these little screen and rolls.  Ray Ray also found himself open a lot from the perimeter and was able to really establish a rhythm early on.
  • Pierce laid an egg tonight.  Three for twelve just will not get it done- even with a big go ahead three with a minute left.  Clearly, it wasn’t enough.  The C’s needed Pierce to stop going to the basket and start shooting elbow jumpers as soon as he got two of his layups blocked and didn’t get two body calls.  Instead they got Pierce staying the course and complaining to the officials about getting fouled on layups he either should have finished or shouldn’t have taken.  I’m frustrated, and I love Pierce, but this type of play makes him look far worse than the player he is and it is the last impression Magic fans of him.  While I don’t give a hoot what Magic fans think of Paul Pierce, I just I know I’ll have to listen to them talk about how Paul Pierce isn’t an elite player. With this assertion,  the best defense I can rebut is that the Magic traded in their “Rondo” for an “Allen Iverson”  (Hedo Turkoglu for Vince Carter for those not in the know).
  • The C’s got beasted on the boards tonight, but what else is new? Oh, I know.  The fact that they won the turnover battle 14 to 16.  Yippeee!  Small consolation prize for losing the offensive rebounds category 6 to 17.  With that many second chance points, it’s a shame that the Magic didn’t blow the C’s out.  Is this team that bad?  No, they are not.  And that, my friends, is scary.

That’s it for now.  I need to cry myself to sleep.  I will have more tomorrow on some positives that can be taken away from this debacle and the resurrection of Ray Ray, ‘Sheed, and Eddie Hoops.

Until then, try to sleep without breaking out in cold sweats.

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