Two weeks ago, the C’s came home to host Game 3 after a three-day layoff, feeling mighty good about themselves, after evening up their series with the Cavs. They proceeded to be blown out of the building by LeBron and company, facing a harsh reality check before turning things around and taking command of that series.
Tonight, facing a similar scenario, the C’s were intent on not making the same mistake. Smelling blood from the opening tip and feeding on the energy of the raucous Garden crowd, the C’s pounced on the Magic from the onset, dismantling them with a dominant 27-12 1st quarter and never looking back on their way to the 23 point victory.
There’s really only one place to start tonight, and it has to be the defense. Just a tremendous team effort, all over the floor holding Orlando to 37 percent shooting and 26 percent from downtown.
From the first possession of the night, everyone was active, swarming passing lanes, denying the ball, sound rotations, and making smart switches on pick and rolls. Altogether, the C’s just created a tone from the onset where Orlando failed to gain any kind of a rhythm.
The inside game wasn’t working with only 2 points in the paint early on, (Howard o/4 in 1st), the outside shots weren’t falling (1/5 from deep), which left a team that had no answers for Boston.
The byproduct? A 12 point first quarter where Orlando shot 23 percent from the field, and turned the ball over six times.
That kind of putrid output is tough to recover from playing anywhere, but it’s safe to say the C’s ripped the heart out of the Magic in the first twelve minutes tonight. They didn’t get any closer than 14 points during the rest of the night.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the floor, the C’s fed off their defense, overcoming a scoring lull after a 7-0 run to start the game to pull away midway through the 1st. They tortured a helpless Orlando defense, executing and running at nearly every opportunity, thanks to Rajon Rondo and making the extra pass all night long, that kept the Magic constantly on their heels.
To make matters worse, the C’s shooters were on as well, with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce hitting from the outside early, making Orlando’s defensive switches with Vince Carter and Matt Barnes irrelevant. Neither of those guys can stick with Pierce or Allen when they are on and that was the case tonight.
Truth be told though, this was an incredibly balanced effort by the C’s tonight. Six guys in double figures, with Glen Davis leading the way with 16 points in 27 minutes, the beneficiary of some extra PT due to Perk’s foul trouble, one of the only problems this Boston team faced all night long.
I can’t express enough just how great everyone looked tonight, especially the frontline. From Sheed’s outside touch, (2-3 from deep), to Perk’s strong moves to the hoop, Baby’s inside outside game, and KG’s efficient evening (4 of 6 shooting) the C’s looked like a juggernaut of historical proportions.
The Magic just had no answers all night long. Everyone always says that in the NBA, every team will make some kind of run. That cliche was exposed tonight, as the C’s just stepped on Orlando’s throat at the tip and didn’t let them breath for the full 48 minutes.
No magical run, just a margin that never got closer than 14 points, and a rout where things went from bad to worse in the second half for Orlando. Overmatched, outclassed, outhustled, call it what you want, but it was fun to watch as a C’s fan.
For now, the C’s have a chance to wrap this bad boy up Monday night and by all indications, this team’s focus right now tells you they intent on taking care of business now.
Paul Pierce politely informed the fans in Orlando about this development on Tuesday. Judging by tonight’s effort, he wasn’t kidding.
A few quick bullets before more analysis tomorrow:
-Rasheed Wallace, now shooting 47 percent from 3 point range this postseason. Worth every penny!
-Perk moved as well offensively as I’ve seen in the past 3 months. Just a lot of hop in his step and wisely took the ball to the hole repeatedly, after a failed post up on Dwight Howard early in the 1st quarter.
-Hey Orlando got up their three point attempts tonight, 30 in all! What’s that? It didn’t help them? Ohh……funny how that works out. Meanwhile C’s attempt 11 3’s and hit just one fewer (6) than the Magic. It was that kind of night. Everything was working for Boston.
-Rondo with 11 points, 12 assists, 3 turnovers and 4 steals and what is an amazingly ho-hum line for him this postseason. Make no mistake, his imprints were all over this one, but how cool is it that this kind of performance is routine for him at this juncture?
-I wish I could throw some credit to the Magic tonight for fighting, but there was really no one that deserves any props. 3 offensive rebounds, 10 assists, and 17 turnovers. That says it all right there. No heart all night long.
-Rajon Rondo had the play of the night with his steal in backcourt on an unsuspecting Jason Williams, popping off the floor after diving for the ball in time to drill a tough 8 footer off the glass. Summed up the efforts of both squads in this contest. KG even called it the play of the postseason in his postgame interview. Tough to argue with him on that.
-Surprised Stan Van Gundy didn’t go to the bench earlier in this one to find a spark. Not that it would of mattered, but his guys were showing no life during the C’s early run on both ends of the floor.
-Clark Kent forgot to change into his Superman gear tonight. 7 points, 7 rebounds and a -29 plus/minus to lead the way for Orlando in the red. Keep working on that post game Dwight.
-Matt Barnes needs to relax.
– It always amuses me when players try to pick Rondo’s pocket on a fast break. It never works and they always get burned by it.
-Baby deserves extra props for his all around effort tonight. Stepping up big on both ends of the floor once Perk hit the bench with foul trouble in the 3rd, getting to the line at will with 6 attempts in the quarter.
-What do we root for now? Phoenix to land some body blows against LA and drag out that series or LA to wrap it up quickly so we can get this show on the road? I can’t decide.
-Garden was a terrific crowd tonight. Provided the team with plenty of energy from the opening tip and they fed on it all night long.
That’s it for now, much more tomorrow, enjoying a few cold ones in honor of the Green team tonight, after what was maybe their best defensive effort of the year.