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Remember the Magic?

 

The Magic, as you probably know, haven’t lost a game yet in the post-season. Their combined margin of victory in their four-game sweep of the Hawks—101 points, or about 25 per game—set an NBA record for the largest combined victory margin in a four-game playoff victory.

So what’s going on with Orlando? Have they stepped up their game in the post-season? Has Vince Carter finally figured out how to thrive in the Magic’s system after struggling badly early in the season? Is Jameer Nelson healthy after suffering serious knee and shoulder injuries over the last 16 months? What is Stan Van Gundy whining about today?

To answer these questions, I turned to Eddy Rivera, author of Magic Basketball, the Orlando-themed blog in the TrueHoop network. Eddy’s answers are below. You can read my answers to his questions about the C’s at Magic Basketball here. Eddy’s blog and Orlando Pinstriped Post should be required reading for serious Boston fans  over the next two weeks.

CelticsHub: Dwight Howard seems to have gotten into more foul trouble this season than last, and that carried over into the 1st round of the playoffs. Is that true? If it is, why do you think it’s happening? Has he been more aggressive on defense this season?

Magic Basketball: It was somewhat true during the early portions of the regular season.

For the first month or so of the 82-game schedule, Dwight Howard picked up ticky-tack fouls and his energy level, especially on defense, wasn’t where it was last year. For those that didn’t watch the Orlando Magic a lot this year, Howard’s foul troubles against the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round of the playoffs was how things went for him in November. At times, it was a mess. But as the season progressed, Howard picked it up defensively and didn’t get himself into too much foul trouble. Yeah, Howard would get into a stretch of games where it didn’t seem like he could stay on the floor but those occurrences were far and few between.

To put things in perspective, Howard committed 3.5 personal fouls per 36 minutes this year compared to 3.1 per 36 last year. So if it seems like Howard has gotten into more foul trouble this season, it’s because he has. Why is it happening? Well, how it usually works is that Howard will pick up ticky-tack fouls and questionable ones that don’t go his way (this happened several times against the Bobcats, for example), lose focus, get frustrated at the calls being made, then things will snowball from there. That’s usually how it goes, with technical fouls thrown in for good measure sometimes. Howard has learned from his mistakes, but he’s still prone to them.

CH: How do you think the Magic will defend Rajon Rondo?

MB: Referencing back to the tape of the games this season, I think Jameer Nelson or whoever else will defend him relatively close. The reason why is if Rondo does beat his man off the dribble, and it will inevitably happen, Howard (or Marcin Gortat) will be there in the paint to meet him. If Gortat is in the game, Rondo will probably look to attack more … which is smart. Gortat is no slouch defensively but he’s no Howard, either.

On pick and rolls, the Magic will most likely go under the screen and give Rondo the space to shoot all day. If Rondo makes his jumpers, so be it. In transition, Orlando just needs to limit those type of opportunities for Rondo to create in the open-court. Head coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t a fool. Van Gundy isn’t going to do what the Cleveland Cavaliers did and give Rondo all the space in the world to operate offensively.

That’s the last thing that will happen.

CH: Jameer Nelson is tearing it up in the playoffs. Is he just finally getting healthy again–sort of like KG in Boston? Or has his offensive game evolved in some way over the last month or two?

MB: It’s definitely, positively, simply been a matter of Nelson getting and staying healthy. Nelson showed flashes of brilliance during the second half of the regular season but ever since the playoffs began, he has been playing the best basketball of his career. Yes, even better than his first half campaign last year. And it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for the Magic, either.

With that said, Nelson’s matchup with Rondo should be a doozy to watch.

CH: Mickael Pietrus terrifies me, and the Magic have three dependable guard/wing-types off the bench in Air France, J.J. Redick and White Chocolate. But which of the Magic’s back-up bigs do you see playing the biggest role in this series–Ryan Anderson, Marcin Gortat or Brandon Bass?

MB: The safe pick is Marcin Gortat.

The reason being is that if Orlando needs some size alongside Howard, Gortat is more than capable of stepping in at power forward and providing some good minutes in the short-term. Look no further than January 28, when Gortat was paired with Howard and helped lead the Magic’s fourth quarter comeback against the Boston Celtics. There are always questions as to how Gortat and Howard co-exist on offense, but there’s no denying the boost Orlando gets in the rebounding and shot blocking department.

Anderson is a bit of a wild card, making note that he’s capable of stretching a defense like Lewis and bringing some of the same things to the table, offensively at least, but recognizing the fact that he hasn’t done much in the postseason up to this juncture. Bass has barely seen any playing time and given that the Magic need to score against the Celtics’ defense, and Orlando sometimes struggle to score when Bass is in the game, it’s unlikely he sees much time on the floor but you never know. Anything can happen.

CH: Do you think Kevin Garnett and Matt Barnes will just get the nose-to-nose thing over in the first game, or will they save it for later in the series?

MB: Heh. Expect the pleasantries to take place rather early in Game 1, knowing the personalities of those two players.

  • Jason

    Rondo: Should eat Nelson alive, but will he? On defense, will he keep Nelson in front of him or allow Nelson occasional (or even frequent) opportunities to get going? He let Mo loose 3 out of 24 quarters. Nelson has been facing pansies, but Nelson is also Rondo’s toughest test in the playoffs so far, too. When Rondo gets in the paint, he has learned over the last year how to finish much better, but has his finishing improved enough to not get shut down by Howard like last year? Part of that shutdown was Howard being called for only about 1 out every 8 fouls he committed. Will that trend continue or will Howard’s new reputation for perpetual fouling come into play? Big edge to the good guys in green.

    Ray: One game, he goes 6-9 from 3. The next 0-5. Of course, that’s not Ray’s entire game, but it means so much. Just three minutes of hot Ray can swing a game by 10+ points. The Cavs actually ran with him pretty well. Last year, Redick of all people did the same thing. This year, it’s Barnes, stronger, longer, even more asshole-y. Can the Cs get Ray some good looks? That could be key. Ray’s defense has really stepped up and Barnes is no offensive threat, but Ray will have to keep him from making hustle plays such as offensive rebounds. Big edge to the good guys in green.

    Pierce: Everyone wondered what is wrong with Pierce this series. My answer has always been “LeBron.” There’s no debate. He’s an otherworldly defender and an offensive beast. Between the effort required and the foul trouble, this was very expected. Freed, Pierce should, well, explode might be too strong, but not by much. And if he actually does explode a time or two, I doubt anyone would be surprised. Carter’s not exactly an easy cover, but compared to LeBron please. Edge to the good guys in green.

    KG: He’s back. Honestly, maybe even better because he’s willingly taking 20 shots. He’s not giving people a free pass on guarding him. That’s important. He’s active on D, active on the boards. Getting out to contest Lewis will be more important that doing it for Jamison, yet at the same time, LeBron collapses the D much more severely than anyone, so KG should be able to save a step in help D and be able to recover to Lewis just fine. Edge to the good guys in green.

    Perk: All D, any offense would be gravy. It seems Howard’s offense has improved, but it’s not exactly refined yet either. Perk just needs to do what he did last year. Make sure he pushes him to catch 10 feet from the basket. Body strong. Limit easy buckets and rebounds. Still, edge to the Mickey Mouse Club.

    Bench: TA’s playing great. (That dunk was so sick.) BBD and Sheed are essentially taking turns contributing. That’ll play. Jason Williams is no worry and TA can check Pietrus no problem. Gortat sometimes is more dangerous than Howard, but as long as they don’t take him for granted, he shouldn’t do any damage.

    Orlando doesn’t have an unstoppable perimeter force like Wade or LBJ. They also don’t have an ultra active, pesky guy that gives the Cs fits like Noah or Varejao. Barnes is pesky, but he’s not exactly going to dominate the boards. Vince and Nelson can drive, but nothing like Wade or James. And Vince certainly doesn’t pass like they do. If the Cs could handle the monumental challenges of Wade, James and VJ, they can can handle Carter, Nelson and Barnes.

    Still, one or two games, the Magic will bury endless 3s and/or Howard will get free for some dominating play. You just have to live with the fact they are very capable of that.

    Cs in 6.

  • http://cnn.com Kevin

    Pretty good analysis for losing 3 out of 4 games this year to this magic team. Let me guess, they were resting for the playoffs.

  • Jason

    And time. First Magic troll. 5/14, 2:18pm.

    There are many details that could be discussed about those four games, but I know, you can’t be bothered with such trivialities.

  • joe

    @kevin, actually they were. the series against CLE proved that. yes, they split with the cavs in the regular season, but CLE outscored them in their regular season meetings. you can’t use what happened in the regular season to predict this series. BOS has a better PG, SF, & now PF. and dwight struggles against perkins.

  • joe

    lol @Jason

  • What More Can I Say?

    This series is gonna be so sick. Make no mistake…Pierce is going to have a challenge. He will more than likely see both Pietrus and Barnes on him throughout the game, and both defenders are quicker than him. I look forward to watching Doc calling plays for Pierce to post Barnes’ string bean butt up. They will have to pick and choose their opportunities to do this obviously with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year lurking in the paint, but they will come. Don’t be surprised to see Barnes get a few chances to guard Rondo and even Ray as well. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Rondo take Jameer Nelson down low as well, especially when Sheed is in there instead of Perk. Perk. Nelson is definitely strong, but Rondo has size on him.

    One thing that bothers me a little bit is White Chocolate. I really like the way he runs the second unit, and with the C’s not having a true backup PG, the D will have to be outstanding so they can’t erase leads or extend Orlando leads.

    One thing I don’t understand is why BBass does not get more run. Personally, I think he would fit in perfect with the C’s…he just ain’t worh 16 miltickets. I understand Van Gundy doesn’t like to play him with DHoward, but dude gets VERY little burn even when Howard is on the bench.

    Game 1 and 2 will be interesting just to see the different lineups that will be used by the coaches. I expect this series will be a series of runs…Orlando has so much firepower from behind the arc that a ten pt. lead will be like a 4 pt. lead. These boys LOVE to shoot 3′s and the C’s can not get comfortable like they are prone to do.

    C’s in 5.

  • Jason

    Here’s one for instance.

    In four regular season games, Orlando scored 352 points to Boston’s 347. Not exactly one-sided.

  • Jay P

    @Kevin

    Ya, and they lost to the Cavs too, but what just happened?

    What’s your point?

    Anyway, I’d have to concur that the Nelson/Rondo match up is obviously key. The C’s need to be driving straight at Howard early, get him in foul trouble as quickly as possible.

    Perimeter defenders have to be rotating effectively, can’t let up easy looks from 3, this team shoots it too well to let that happen.

    Perkins will be able to handle Howard in the post, he’s done it before, and Howard’s offensive game hasn’t improved that much. Baby has only done a pretty effective job on him in the past too. Howard’s height advantage doesn’t matter since he has no shot, it’s just a matter of if post defenders can keep him in front of them and be strong enough to keep him from backing into the hoop. Both Perk and Baby are very good at that. But they’ll need to foul, a lot, make him earn it at the stripe.

    KG’s match up with Lewis will be though, there’s no question KG has lot a bit of the lateral quickness, the C’s help defense if Lewis drive is going to have to be there. Inversely though, KG’s offensive form is back to 100%, Lewis wont be able to guard him.

    Carter doesn’t scare me, at all. We just spent two series guarding Dwayne Wade and Lebron James, and doing it quite well. Carter is a welcome reprieve for TA, Pierce, and Ray.

    Orlando has a good bench, we’ll need Davis, Sheed, and TA to step up big, they have to match them for the C’s to have a chance in the series.

    Protect the glass, this is obvious. Limit the turnovers, push the ball whenever possible.

    Rondo and KG will average a triple double through the series. Ray will blow up in at least 2-3 games, and go 6-8 from 3 and score 25+ points, Paul will emerge in this series, now that he doesn’t have to stare at game for 48 minutes.

    Celtics in 6.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    You know what’s going to be annoying? Simmons called this in his last column: The Magic fan base may have the biggest inferiority complex of any fan base in the NBA. It’s like they channel Van Gundy.

    Obviously, that’s a generalization–the guys at Orlando Pinstriped Post, Eddy at Magic Basketball, the guy Will who keeps commenting here, and thousands of others are all very reasonable.

    But in my experience, they are ultra-quick to play the “nobody respects us!” card. I don’t know why.

  • Jason

    Also, note, last year, after playing 8 games (count the OTs against the Bulls) and with BBD starting instead of KG and a bench of Scal, Marbury and Moore, the series went seven games.

    Oh, you were missing Nelson and he’s back now? Please. He helped you how in the Finals? And 2010 Rondo is much improved over 2009 Rondo. Having Nelson doesn’t tip the scales. Having downgraded form Turk to Carter doesn’t help either.

    So, the Cs PG, PF and bench are better to face essentially the same team (better PG, but worse with Carter) they took to seven games last year. The Magic are overwhelming favorites how exactly?

  • Jay P

    *Stare at James

  • Jay P

    Carter will crack in the pressure. Ya he’s great when you’re winning agaisnt a heartless Hawks teams, or the scrubs that are the Bobcats. But crunch time when you desperately need one shot to win, I wouldn’t count on him.

  • What More Can I Say?

    @Kevin

    Not sure how much basketball you watch but hopefully you know that the regular season can be indicative of the playoffs. The key word is CAN, not IS. I can care less how many games Orlando won in the season….what I care about is the matchups. And I know that the matchups favor the C’s…but Orlando can get white hot from behind the arc and the C’s can get stagnant on O, and that can be a problem.

    Vince Carter is an X factor as well, but he is a regular season performer. I am convinced he will bust like a pipe under that Celtic pressure. Rashard Lewis on the other hand is a better Jamison to me….better in the sense that his 3 is deadly and his penetration can be a problem. He is a “wet tissue paper” soft when it comes to finishing at the rim…which is a PLUS for the C’s. Rondo’s performance will determine how quickly this series is over, on offense and defense.

  • mitch

    serious boston fans??? lmao….when i was going to games in 2006….my friends called me crazy for liking the c’s……now my friends go to c’s games like it’s no ones buisness….most of you guys are bangwagon fans….but i’m sure a few real fans from before 2006 are around…where you at?

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @mitch: I’m here, still remembering back to imitating Kevin McHale’s post moves with my Dad in the driveway in 1984 after watching Finals games.

  • Jay P

    Oh and I meant KG and Rondo will average a double double, not triple double. Even I’m not enough of a homer to believe that.

  • Jay P

    @Mitch

    I went to a couple in 06 and 07, I loved watching Jefferson play, no matter how bad the team was.

    And I’d agree with you, all the band wagoners make me sick. But such is sports, that’s certainly not a problem exclusive to Boston.

    Case in point, anyone notice on the ESPN broadcast the Cavs “fan” in the Yankees hat that they panned over too. Mark Jackson made a comment saying “Now that’s a conflicted fan” Alluding to the rumors of James going to New York. No Mark… that’s a fake fan, do you think it’s any coincidence that those two teams are the best in their respective sports? Disgusting.

  • Bill

    The problem with the position-by-position comparisons to make your case is that both of these teams are of the “better than the sum of their parts” variety. That’s how the Magic won 59 games, have finished the year 28-3, and swept both series so far. That’s also how the Celts overcame the “brilliance” of LeBron. These are two great teams with coaches that emphasize schemes – should be a great series. BTW, no need to bash orlando fans as having an inferiority complex when we’ve all seen lots of Celts fans playing the “nobody respects us anymore” card all throughout the Cavs series. I’m just sayin’…

  • Jason

    And just in case Magic fans are a little too comfortable as “favorites” this series since so many four-letter “experts” have picked them to beat the Cs, have a look at how their last Cs prognostications went:

    http://www.redsarmy.com/.a/6a01156f2c3287970c0133ed977e80970b-800wi

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    @Bill: Not bashing. Just observing.

  • What More Can I Say?

    @mitch

    Not from Boston, but I went to a game in 2006. Boston vs. Miami. They got blew out of the water. LOL!

    KG fan first. That brought me to y’all team. It is what it is. The fact still remains, I know basketball and I enjoy rooting for the C’s.

    You know what I find disgusting? Watching all these so called REAL fans talk all this garbage on this site about how the C’s are not going to do this and that because of their regular season struggles and then act like they never said it. But it’s good…they make me feel great about the C’s success. I NEVER doubted the C’s wouldn’t challenge for the title and I love being right! I am $30 richer and 5 free lunches in the Black so far. Every fan’s reality is different. And the REAL fans that came down with amnesia? I know who you are….if you need help remembering, I don’t mind reminding you.

    HaHa!

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    @What More?

    I don’t understand this idea that you can’t be a “real” fan and have an honest skepticism about the Celtics based on facts, numbers, etc. If that’s your definition of a “real” fan, I guess I’m not one, because I predicted the cavaliers would beat the C’s in this series.

  • Jason

    Bill, you seem mostly genuine, so I’ll respond in kind. You are correct. Position-by-position is definitely not the entirety of the story. But it’s a lot of it and a pretty good foundation, no? The Cs played tremendous team D on LeBron, but at the same time they exploited the Rondo/Mo and KG/Jamison matchups, right? That can’t really be debated, can it? So, again, these comparisons carry substantial weight. Team play is important, but also it comes down to being able to beat (or shutdown) your counterpart. The big one is Howard/Perk. Double Howard and you give the Magic lots of freedom to bury open shots, but if Perk can hold him down like he has before, that’s huge. Simple position-by-position confrontation, huge team-wide impact.

    Still, I certainly agree that next the step is higher, team level. Both teams play excellent team D. Both have many offensive weapons, creative offensive sets, smart and skilled players that work in unison on both ends. Despite what I see as a favorable match up for the Cs (Rondo/Nelson), behind Nelson awaits Howard. Even if Rondo abused Nelson, Howard has the potential to erase all those mistakes. Whether he can or not will significantly impact the series. Rondo could chuck up a bunch of bricks or not. Howard could rack up fouls or not. Kicking out to Ray/Pierce could rain 3s or not. To me, it could go either way.

    I would say if you compare “whole” versus “whole” both teams could make arguments they have the advantage. You would argue for the Magic, I would argue for the Cs. Bottom line is, it’s probably pretty even, leaving us back to the position-by-position analysis to look where the advantages for each team lie.

  • Eric

    @Zach I think the reason why Magic fans, myself included, can be quick to pull the no respect card because of really one simple fact: the puppet commercials. Now I know they were a year ago, but seriously remember back. It was ridiculous. Is it as warranted now? Probably not, and remember Simmons is a Celtic fan. But imagine if the Lakers/Celts/or Cavs went 8-0. That said I think the magic have finally gotten their due, 27-3 or whatever in the last 30 games can’t be ignored. I’m excited for the series, should be good. I got magic(obviously) heart says 6, head says 7.

    The two things I think everyone here overlooks are Orlando’s depth and more importantly the coaching match. MOP(Master of Pressure) is almost as good a coach as he is Ron Jeremy lookalike and he is even better at adjustments. And to answer someone else’s question, Brandon Bass doesn’t get run because he can’t learn the playbook. I read that somewhere, I don’t remember where. I do know when in the game he looks lost offensively unless he’s ISO’d. Good luck, oh and just for good measure, NOBODY RESPECTS US! (kidding)

  • Jason

    Eric, I’m going to agree with you about SVG. Honestly, I don’t like him. It’s part because he’s good, but obviously part because he whines so much. And third reason is, honestly, I think he preaches too much. I’ve seen in bad times his team not even pay attention to him during timeouts. If things go bad and he starts preaching for the millionth time, will they listen and buckle down or tune him out. If I was a Magic fan, it would legitimately worry me. As a coach I think that’s his one true weakness. X and O, though, excellent. And honestly, I think he was the difference in the series last year. By Game 5, SVG had figured out everything about the Cs and shut it down. Magic win 6 and 7 rather easily in my opinion. Doc did not seem to even attempt to respond/adjust, just kept doing the same things that weren’t working. I still believe that wholeheartedly and am bitter about it a year later. Is SVG a ton better than Doc? I think that’s up to Doc really. If Doc’s stubborn like last year, yes. If he’s smarter this time around then the gap isn’t big, though I believe it still clearly exists.

  • NHBluesMan

    @Bill: Celtics at least had a legit excuse in the Cavs series. Whenever the Cavs lost it was ‘what did LeBron and the Cavs do wrong?’ and barely any acknowledgment of what the C’s did RIGHT. Even in ‘the LeBacle’ game 5, if LBJ had shot 100% we STILL would’ve won by 10!

    Heck, once the series was finished 90% of ESPN was ‘Where will LeBron go?’ instead of focusing on the clearly 2 best teams in the east still in the running.

  • I love Green

    I WAS THERE FOR THE GREATEST COMEBACK EVER! Against the Nets in the Conference finals down 21 going into the 4th.
    I was born in 1989 so I missed the glorious 1980s, which is really depressing because I’ve watched all of our Finals games from then, and they’re all great. So i’ve basically followed the Celtics for only 1 championship. But I am a true fan of the Celts, no bandwagoner here.

  • NHBluesMan

    that being said, i like our chances against the Magic. the 1-3 record against them isn’t really a good example of how we played, the fact that those 4 games were decided by a total of 5 points IS a good example.

    Our starting 5 has yet to lose a series when they’re healthy and together, and i’d like to keep it that way. I really feel like Rondo will be an X factor in this series.

    http://ftrsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Rajon-Rondo-Dunks-On-Dwight-Howard-2.jpg

    ^^^ clearly he’s not afraid to attack, and if he can get Dwight into foul trouble and at least limit Jameer Nelson, it’ll be in our favor.

    Orlando lives and dies by the 3. So far they’ve been living, but how long can a team keep up the level of play they’re at? I’ll give them props, they’re playing great right now, but the C’s are hitting their stride at the right time.

    I’ve said it before, i’ll say it again. C’s in 6 or Magic in 7. We’ve already stopped Flash and dethroned the ‘King’, now lets use our KryptoNATE and shut down Superman!

    GO BOSTON!!!

  • pilgrimtraveller

    mitch, i’m here; i’m no bandwagon fan. i saw john havilcek’s last game as a celtic in 1978, and then endured the few bad years before maxwell, bird, mchale, parish, and the others came together to form one of the greatest teams of all time. and i’ve endured the bad years since then—the deaths of both reggie lewis and len bias, the bad trades, the bad drafts, the ridiculous coaches (i’m looking at you, pitino). what a joy it was in 2008!

  • Jason

    Holy crap. Cavs owner backs Mike Brown. Ye gods. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5189101

  • Zhar

    @Jason:

    Good analysis! Deep inside though, I feel that the key match-up is Van Gundy vs. Rivers. Orlando relies much more on their streakiness ala D’Antoni’s Suns which bodes well for us! They won’t throw 40% threes on us that’s for sure!

  • http://carlosrizik@gmail.com Carlos R.

    After giving up on the C’s during the regular season, I’m a believer again. Nobody thought, one month ago, that the guys in green could beat Cleveland, and they did rather easily. Orlando have been on a tear, but I really like our chances in this series. If the C’s were able to find out how to beat Cleveland two times out of 3 in the Q arena (and almost 3 out of 3), there’s no reason to doubt they can win in Orlando. Celtics in 6.

  • What More Can I Say?

    @Zach

    Let me clarify. You are a real fan if you root for your team…win or lose. Win or lose. I used the word “real” because the label “bandwagon” comes when a fan is only a fan when you win. And I started to root for the C’s as soon as they announced the KG trade to Boston. Ever since they acquired “the kid” there hasn’t been too much losing and I am reading that “real” fans hate fans like me. OK. Whatever. What is the point of being a real fan when you doubt your own team and they rise up to meet a challenge and you look like a HATER?!? Bottom line, I’d rather cheer the C’s with a homer like Tommy H. than a pessimist that can’t control his/her frustration and uses this website to bash a GREAT team.

    So it’s no disrespect to “real” fans, because ups and downs come with the territory. In fact, it just makes the Koolaid that much sweeter when adversity is introduced along the ride. And I am not calling you or anyone else that doubted the C’s fake fans. But Boston fans acquired a Bonafide SUPERSTAR when they got KG…why would you hate the fan base that comes along with him???

    That isn’t a question for you Zach, just for the Mitch’s and the Jay P’s of this blog.

    But I do thinks that is a shame that you thought Cleveland would beat the C’s based off of 1 man. I personally liked what I saw vs. Miami and knew that the C’s were being overlooked. And in my original post, I was talking about the fans that were getting up in arms about regular season losses like the C’s have to prove to fans on a nightly basis that they have to win just so they are worthy of their support. Those fans are delusional.

    Hope that explains things a bit clearer.

  • http://carlosrizik@gmail.com Carlos R.

    Zach, what do you think about the matchups in this series, position by position, including both teams’ benches? Let’s write something about it.

  • Baaston

    I love how immature the author (Zach Lowe) is by saying “What is Stan Van Gundy whining about today?” Last playoffs perk threw that elbow and doc was crying about how he doesn’t know what to do because he’s worrying about what players may or may not play, yet when Rondo punched and threw 2 bulls players the series before there was no complaining. Or (my favorite) this season ‘Sheed has the audacity to complain about floppers when PP yells EVERYTIME he drives to the basket to fool the refs that there was contact. Add in the fact that KG cries about Durant getting fouls and the celtics are good to go.

  • Jay P

    How is Rondo an X-factor anymore?

    X-Factor is a guy you don’t know what you’re going to get out of him. Vince Carter is an X-factor, Rasheed Wallace is an X-Factor.

    Rondo is a sure fire things, he’s going to be great. Really the only “X-Factor” Is, is he going to be great or if he going to be amazing (unstoppable, incredible, legendary… whatever other synonym you want to use.)?

  • Zhar

    This may be OT but I’ve been wanting to ask this to fellow C’s fans for a long time:

    Why do I hate the Lakers?

    I mean, Kobe is a great athlete, very passionate, and competitive… Has a good coach, and unselfish cast. (why I hate Kobe and Phil is unexplainable)

  • What More Can I Say?

    @Carlos R

    How could you give up on the C’s? I just don’t get that. I get the doubt if they can make a championship run or even if they can beat Cleveland, let alone Orlando, but give up on them????

    Injuries are a MAJOR part in any sport. That is just crazy that people gave up on a 50 win team. Now that is just plain spoiled!!!

  • Baaston

    Finally, how do you (Jason) write a book as your comment and then call Kevin a troll for *** 2 *** sentences.

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    Yes, I am obviously immature because I joked about Stan Van Gundy whining, Baaston.

  • What More Can I Say?

    @Zhar

    I dislike Kobe because he is a b*tch.

    I don’t like how he had his agent tell teams not to draft him because he wanted to be a Laker.

    I don’t like how he “dry-snitched” on Shaq about paying women hush money when he was neck deep in doodoo behind the Colorado controversy.

    I didn’t like the phone camera bashing of Andrew Bynum.

    I didn’t like how he went on Stephen A Smith’s show saying he wanted to be traded because they had another first round exit.

    He is a very talented, very driven, very good basketball playing chick.

  • Bill

    @ Jason – There is no doubt that there are individuals on the floor and at times they will have to make 1 on 1 plays, but what I’m getting at is that in the Magic’s scheme the ability to judge a player based on numbers is difficult because the style limits those results. That is even more true on defense. So we then come down to observation, and we all tend to bias our favorite team’s strengths and focus on the opponent’s weakness. So you (perhaps) see Rondo as an unstoppable penetrator and a constant triple-double threat and Jameer as undersized and a defensive liability. I see your points, but also see Rondo as an iffy outside shooter and inconsistent and I see Jameer as the strong leader of the team with an inside-outside game who minimizes turnovers. I guess that’s why they play the game, we’ll all see what happens, but one thing is that I think you’ll find most Orlando fans won’t be so anti-Doc as we still have a soft spot for him from the Heart & Hustle days.

    @Zach – you may claim it’s only observation, but you used terms like “whining” and “annoying” – that’s why I said bashing

    A question for the board – why is Simmons so anti-Florida. He hates the Dolphins, Rays, Heat and Magic and won’t limit his sarcasm to the teams but also must bash the fans and the everything else. He basically only likes South Beach and crazily seems to prefer Milwaukee etc to the Sunshine State. I don’t get it, it’s awesome down here. I do agree with him about Jacksonville tho – we’d all assume just give them to Georgia.

  • Jay P

    @what More

    Tommy H is a homer, just like all of us. But he analyzes the C’s team, criticizes, and doubts them at times. He did all season if you watched the post-game wrap ups on CSNE. I kinda think you just proved Zach’s point, Tommy is a perfect example of a true educated Celtics fan. He’s not just a blind homer (unless it comes to referee calls) nor are we, but a true fan.

    And I have no issue with you as a Celtics fan, at least your honest about it. Your a fan of KG, your a fan of this Celtics team, but you don’t consider yourself a fan of the franchise. That’s fine, no problem, but it’s the true definition of a “bandwagon” Celtics fan. If they didn’t have KG, if they weren’t winning would you still be here?

    I can honestly say I would, albeit probably less frequently, and with less intensity (maybe.)

    The only thing that really disgusts me are those that are like you but who aren’t honest about it, and act like they’ve been here all along. C’s fan at heart but can’t name one person other than Walker or Pierce from the past 10 years? Bullshit.

  • Bill

    One more thought – I’m so happy we’re facing the Celtics as I respect the fan base and their knowledge on the whole – whatever bias is there comes from love of the team, which we can all respect. Cleveland fans were unbearable as most were LeBron fans simply focused on justifying his greatness – same with the annoying LA/Kobe fans. I look forward to great debate throughout this sure-to-be awesome series.

  • Jay P

    @Bill

    Here Here. Well said.

  • JP

    Honestly, for me, this series is so close it might come down to coaching. Can Doc make better, and more timely, adjustments than Stan Van Gundy. We know Van Gundy panics, but he is a great coach, who has his team playing very well. We won’t see the same stupidity that we saw from Mike Brown with the Cavs rotations. I like our chances with Doc though.

  • Baaston

    “But in my experience, they are ultra-quick to play the “nobody respects us!” card. I don’t know why.” – Zach Lowe…. The title reads “Remember the Magic?” yet the first sentence reads “The Magic, as you probably know…” add the Dwight Howard pic and you can see why I said immature. You weren’t joking you were being a stereotypical Baaaston Celtics fan. The title, first paragraph, the picture and your comments are all subtle (or not so subtle) jabs at the Magic and their fan base.

  • Bill

    Especially since Magicbasketball.net made no such jabs in their set-up of the interview on their site – nothing but respect for Zach, CelticsHub and the Boston team

  • Jay P

    @Baaston

    The title is an allude to last years playoffs, and the fact that any Boston/Orlando series was completely overlooked when we squared up agaisnt the Cavs. Mostly because many, some Boston fans included, didn’t think they had a chance.

    So yes Remember the Magic? As in… nice win over the Cavs, but oh crap we have to play another great team. Am I off on that Zach? Cause it’s how I interpreted it.

    What’s your point on the first sentence? That we probably know the Magic are a good team who beat us last year? That their a tough match up, and were in the finals last year? How is that being immature?

    Want to talk about immature? Look at the tag you use, very unsubtly making fun of a Boston accent, at least be a man like your friend Bill here and post under a real name. You want to point fingers about immaturity or taking at a fan base, look the mirror first dude.

  • Baaston

    Either way guys (both celtics and magic fans) the ECF will be the commercial breaks between the soap opera that is Lebron’s free agency. There’s no way the entire NBA fan base is still interested on where this guy is going. Ohio should be the only state that gets news about this, otherwise I want to hear ‘expert’ analysis on the Boston-Magic series as that will be the best series in the playoffs unless Boston vs Lakers again.

  • Eric

    @JP Whoa. Easy there big fella. “We all know SVG panics” Really? There is a reason why the Celtics are 32-1 when leading after being up 3-2 and not 33-0. The only reason people think he panics is because Shaq said it and added on what even I admit is a catchy nickname. I think it really comes down to coaching because while the Cs have been more battle tested this year, remember Orlando’s rocky path to the finals last year, they absorbed something like 6 buzzer beaters last playoffs and still came with a Courtney Lee lay up and a Dwight free throw of being up 3-1 in the finals.

  • Billy

    You know what’s annoying? The unabashed, unapologetic homerism displayed by Boston fans. “Obviously, that’s a generalization”…

    The series will be a great, tough series either way, more than likely to be appreciated by good basketball fans. I believe we can all do without the inane jabs at each other’s team, coaches and fanbases and focus on the actual product on the floor.

  • Baaston

    Listen here ‘dude’ the argument I was making was how Zach is taking jabs at the Magic. The first sentence contradicts the title. How am I making fun of the Boston accent? Did I specifically say enunciating words in that manner is stupid? No. Am I having fun with Boston’s dialect? Yes. If you took that as a direct insult I’m sorry for the confusion.

  • Jason

    @Baaston, does this require explanation? I analyze, lots of points (good or bad, whatever), but obviously thought put into it. Kevin tries to dismiss it all with a weak, thoughtless, worthless data point. That equals troll.

  • Baaston

    @Bill Thanks for the link. In my opinion that is how a professional article is written. Keeping things sophisticated and leaving all the team loyalty emotions for the games.

  • Jay P

    @Baaston

    Can’t argue this anymore, mostly because I don’t want to. I still don’t see how it contradicts the title. And Van Gundy is quick to play the Rodney Dangerfield card “We don’t get no respect” not sure how you can argue that, do you watch his press conferences? I’m not even saying it’s not warranted in a lot of cases, I’m just saying it’s the truth, he’s done it.

    But I agree with Bill, let’s focus on the teams. Oh and Bill, yes we are homers, and no I won’t apologize for it.

  • Baaston

    “Kevin tries to dismiss it all with a weak, thoughtless, worthless data point. That equals troll.” You said that after saying this ” Part of that shutdown was Howard being called for only about 1 out every 8 fouls he committed” Now please tell me you have ‘worthy data’ showing that a) Rondo ONLY got shutdown because of the 1/8 calls being made and b) Dwight got away with that many fouls. I would love to see that.

  • Baaston

    @Jay P…he has had too many press conf. to count so if he has said that more than twice I will give that argument to you but I don’t think he did.

  • Jason

    Actually, I did have it. Last year during the series I kept track and I posted on a Celtics fan site. That absolutely was the data point yes. So stuff it.

    And if that’s “shutdown” justification, as if it was really a shutdown at all, then that’s just a stronger case of troll behavior.

    But clearly you don’t recognize your own troll behavior so it’s no wonder you don’t recognize Kevin’s.

  • Jason

    If you want to have a discussion about the series, let’s have one, but be realistic. If you’re going to make the argument Howard doesn’t foul a lot or SVG doesn’t whine a lot, you’re only destroying your own credibility, fast.

  • Chris O

    @ Mitch, I went to 6 games in ’06 and, and 4 games in ’07 I believe…

  • Chris O

    Howard fouls only less than one man…the Naked Emperor

  • Chris O

    BTW whats the over under on times Howard knocks Pierce to the ground viciously on a drive and no foul is called like 8.5 times?

  • http://secureimmaturity.com Will

    Hey Zack and the rest,

    I appreciate being called one of the reasonable Magic fans. Haha. I can’t help but respect your franchise and I just can’t view a basketball game with fan/troll blinders on. Any Magic fan who think this series is going to be sweep or an easy ride is fooling themselves.

    I, myself, have played the ‘no respect’ card a few times but I think I put a level head on when saying it. I refer, of course, to the Puppet debacle last year and the fact that our play this postseason has been because of easy opposition and not because we simply dominated. The Celtics faced the same type of ‘no respect’ card I sometimes play when everyone was saying how the Cavs failed and not how the Celtics simply outplayed them.

    I would never say we’ve NEVER had respect. . .that would be silly. I think both teams in this series, in one way or another, has been, let’s say, OVERLOOKED, rather then disrespected.

    In regards to the series, I am excited/nervous/anxious/etc. to get it started. I think things are pretty even meatchup wise: Perkins and Howard is about even. Howard gets frustrated with Perk pretty easy.

    In regards to Lewis/Garnett, I’m going to say it’s even as well: Garnett is a little slower and I don’t think Lewis’ defense is as intense as it should be. . .I say a draw.

    Carter/Pierce: I’ll give the edge to pierce due to past history. . .who knows what will happen.

    Nelson/Rondo: Ouch. . .I don’t even want to say. Both are playing out of their minds!

    Allen/Barnes: Even. Barnes defense and Allen’s offense are palpable while both are prone to boneheaded moves and/or shots here and there. Allen has the history but I’d say Barnes drive breaks this one as a draw (in this series. . .please don’t kill me. I’m not saying Hall of Fame bound Allen is only just as good as journeyman Barnes).

  • Micah

    @will thank you for your post…as a celtic fan it’s good to hear a magic’s fans perspective…we could drone on for days about match ups and strategies but at the end of the day the teams have to actually go out and play the series…and this will be a hell of a series…prediction 7 games

  • Davel

    Sup guys, Magic fan here.

    For the first time this post season, Howard will face a defense that can defend him without double teaming. I think the Perkins on Howard match up is going to decide this series. Perkins was effective last year, but contrary to popular belief, Howard’s offensive game has improved since then. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch around 30-40 Magic games and in the past 2 or 3 months Howard has shown improvements at the offensive end.

    The game is a lot smoother for him now, and his lefty/righty running hook shot has become a very efficient move for him. And I almost died when I saw him pump fake in the Hawks series!

    Another important note is that even without Howard on the floor, the Magic offense is designed to score with good ball movement following some type of pick and roll.

    Anyway I’m predicted Boston in 6 or Orlando in 7.

  • What More Can I Say?

    @Jay P

    I can dig it. That makes since about supposed “fans” that don’t even watch or pay attention unless they are winning and it’s cool. I hear you. I just didn’t want Zach or anyone thinking that they aren’t REAL fans because they get doubted the C’s in a series against “The KIng”. I just find it sickening when they are proven wrong and they are happy like they NEVER doubted them.

    The best thing about KG coming to Bostion is that he isn’t even my favorite player on the team anymore. Rondo is a flat out beast that I enjoy watching him rip defenses so much. If you really think about it…his impact is very much like KG’s. His scoring ability is fabulous, but HOW he scores (in the paint) and his ability to affect the rest of the game makes him the best PG in the league right now.

    And I really don’t even think it’s all that close.

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