• The New York Times writes about the rejuvenation of the C’s but is careful to note that if there’s one team that won’t be intimidated by Boston’s overwhelming record in series in which they have taken a 2-0 lead, that team is the Magic:
Last year, the Magic became the first team to beat the Celtics in a seven-game series when Boston held a 3-2 lead. Immediately after the series-clinching victory, Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy wrote 32-1 on the locker room’s dry-erase board, the Celtics’ new record.
Good for you, coach.
• Orlando Sentinel: The NBA has suspended Joe DeRosa, the ref who played hot potato with the heckling Magic fan, for one game without pay.
• A call to retire Kevin Garnett’s number with or without a second title in Boston.
• John Hollinger points out that the C’s three-man bench has basically played Orlando’s four-man bench to a draw, and that in itself is a big victory for Boston:
While Orlando’s bench has outscored Boston’s 50-43, the Magic reserves have played 21 more minutes, partly because Orlando is using a nine-man rotation while the Celtics keep it to eight.
Plus, the much-maligned Tony Allen is having another strong playoffs as Boston’s lone backcourt reserve. While his penchant for blowing layups continues to frustrate Celtics fans, he has made five of his 10 shots from the field, has turned the ball over just once and continues to play spirited defense against opponents’ top wing players.
• At Orlando Pinstriped Post, Ben Q. Rock points out how badly Rashard Lewis has played in Games 1 and 2. As I pointed out here, several pundits pointed to the Rashard Lewis-KG match-up as perhaps the biggest reason Orlando would defeat Boston.
In 84 minutes this series, Lewis has scored 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting, including 1-of-9 from three-point range. That’s a rate of 4.7 points per 36 minutes, which is about on par with what Jason and Jarron Collins contribute. The Collins twins, you may recall, are defensive specialists at center who only draw an NBA paycheck because they know how to a) give a foul and b) flop.
• Mr. Rock also suggests that J.J. Redick replace Matt Barnes in Orlando’s starting line-up. He provides this helpful chart (via Synergy Sports) on how the Magic has performed in this series with Barnes playing alongside Howard-Nelson-Lewis-Carter versus with Redick playing with the same quartet:
Stan Van Gundy said today that “there’s no question” the team has been better with Redick than with Barnes, but that he won’t change the starting line-up, according to the Sentinel’s Tania Ganguli.
• Wayne Winston, the author of “Mathletics” and a former consultant to the Mavericks, agrees that the Magic have done poorly with Barnes on the floor.
• Barnes, meanwhile, accuses Paul Pierce of flopping on one play in Game 2 and would like to guard Pierce more often (via the Sentinel):
“My third foul in the third quarter, when I tried to beat him over the screen, he fell down like I threw him,” Barnes said, when asked about Pierce’s tendency to exaggerate contact. “It was ridiculous. But the refs called it, so it was a good play. It was a flop, 100 percent, and that’s how some guys like to play. But if the refs call it, it’s effective.”
You gotta love Matt Barnes—few irrelevant NBA journeymen have ever talked as much trash.
• You know you’re hot when the team sends out an alert about counterfeit playoff tickets.
• Over at Red’s Army, Mr. Triple Double 10 does some research and finds that the C’s are only 8-7 in the KG/Ray era in games that came after three or more days off.
I’m not sure how relevant that is, but it’s interesting. In the middle of a long playoff journey, I’ll take whatever rest the NBA schedule-makers give us.