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We’ve Got A Series: Magic 113, C’s 92

 

ESPNThe Orlando Pinstriped PostMagic Basketball

You know how you know things are going badly for your team? It’s when your coach wants to throw up the white flag in the 4th quarter of a blowout, but still has to leave one of his starters in the game. Not because he’s sending some kind of message to the starter or his team by leaving him out there, but literally due to the reality that there aren’t enough healthy bodies left out of the reserves to put together a garbage time crew.

Hence we had Paul Pierce roaming the floor for the final four minutes of a 41 minute night, facing a 20 point deficit with Tony Allen (also banged up), Nate Robinson, Shelden Williams and Michael Finley. Yep, it was one of those nights for the Green team.

It’s hard not too panic if you’re a Celtics fan right now. New Englanders are on edge already after seeing their hometown hockey team blow a 3-0 series lead just two weeks over. So tonight’s result is one of those games that will get the worry warts out in full effect.

And normally I would tell everyone to remain calm, but after the amount of crap that went down at Amway Arena tonight, it’s clear to everyone involved that the C’s are going to have a hell of a fight on their hands to close out this pesky Magic squad. To start, I’ll admit I didn’t feel good about the C’s chances to win tonight, even before game 5 started. Winning three games on the road in one series, against a team as good is Orlando is a hell of a lot to ask of any team. After failing to close out game 4 when they had the chance, I figured Boston would be forced to do the deed in game 6 back home.

Well while I was right on the bad feeling, I didn’t count on that scenario getting a hell of a lot tougher, but after tonight it did. The dominoes are falling in the exact places Orlando needs them, to allow them a chance to complete a potentially historic comeback.

Let’s not look too far ahead just yet though, back to tonight. First, before we go any further, credit has to be given to Orlando. They shot the lights out tonight, pure and simple. Sure, Kendrick Perkins’s ejection helped to open up the perimeter for them, by forcing some mismatches and opening up the drive and kick game more, but let’s not kid ourselves. The Magic were making outside shots before Perk got tossed and continued to thrive without him out there.

To be frank, they were due for one of these nights. Jameer Nelson led the way once again, attacking the basket relentlessly, opening the floor up for the team’s sharpshooters. He got them plenty of open looks this way in game 4, but Orlando still only managed to hit 10 of 28 3′s in Beantown. Through four games the Magic were shooting just 30.6 percent from deep in this series.

A lot of that had to do with Boston’s defense, but Orlando is still a better shooting team than that. Tonight they showed it, shooting 52 percent from downtown. Everyone got into the act with 6 players hitting from beyond the arc. Their solid shooting remained in effect from all over the floor, hitting 52 percent overall from the field and 80 percent at the line.

It was Boston’s worst nightmare. Everytime the C’s made anything resembling a run, Orlando would respond and keep them at a comfortable margin with a big basket, many times a three. It was an uphill climb all night long for Boston, some of it thanks to their own doing, but no matter how everything else shook out, it’s likely the Magic were taking this W home anyway.

They kicked the C’s ass on the glass (43-28), got strong performances from their top dogs in Howard and Nelson along with their role players (37 points from bench) and just remained in command all night long. Give credit where credit is due. Orlando earned it tonight.

Now, please allow for the less civil Celtics fan in me to arrive to the party. Why is that? Well, because even though the C’s weren’t winning tonight, they have been dealt a very tough hand for these next two games, and frankly a lot of it isn’t their fault.

Let’s start with Perk. Zach will have more on this in the morning, but that entire situation is a joke. The first T was unwarranted for obvious reasons. He elbowed Gortat, by all looks inadvertently and got the T. Crappy situation, but refs are trying to “maintain control” and give the double technical. I don’t like it but I can live with it.

The second one though? That’s unprecedented. Yes, he was throwing a hissy fit, but HE WALKED AWAY. Eddie Rush, YOU CAN NOT throw him out of the game for this. You have to know he already has one BS technical and realize you made a questionable call. Let it go! Don’t change the complexion of the game like that. You may be sick of Perk’s act, but guess what? It’s the playoffs, it’s not about you, so deal with it!

Just incredibly frustrating to say the least. Obviously, the T’s are going to be rescinded. Probably just one though, so the refs aren’t completely hung out to try. Perk will be ready for game 6. Still, the fact his ejection eliminated any slim chance the C’s had to win this game was disturbing. All that being said, the C’s have bigger problems on their hand.

First, let’s start with Big Baby. Reports have him being blacked out thanks to that Dwight Howard elbow. How many of those will he get away with in this series, I don’t know, but it’s reached a point now where my buddy Corey is wondering when the C’s are going to unload a flagrant on him. He’s earned it by now, problem is C’s don’t have enough healthy big men to get it done at this point.

The concussion for Davis looked scary at the time and given the smart protocol in dealing with concussions in this day and age, I doubt we see him in game 6. Same goes for Quisy. Brian Scalabrine get your jersey ready! I’m not even kidding look for some of Scal in game 6 if Baby can’t get out there. Former NBDL’s Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette will also likely be seeing the chance to suit up.

Let’s just make a list of all the other C’s injuries and potential problems to wrap this up with mini bullets.

* Sheed (sore back) He shot lights out tonight, but obviously will have a much heavier burden on himself with Baby out for potentially rest of series.

* Daniels (concussion)

* Big Baby (concussion)

* Perk (possible suspension for game 6, sprained wrist, knee tendinitis)

* Rondo (muscle spasms) Played solid tonight, but still don’t like how he’s moving around out there, especially on defensive end.

* TA (sprained ankle) Definitely looks limited out there and was ineffective in 10 minutes tonight.

* KG (sore knee, bad series) Team needs more from him on the offensive end, shooting just 37.5% from field

* Paul Pierce (41 minutes in blowout loss) He only took 8 shots tonight as well. That’s not enough. As Tommy Heinsohn mentioned in the postgame, when team went away from him in 2nd half, they lost their chances to hang with Orlando.

* Nate Robinson (useless) Makes dumb fouls and mental mistakes everywhere. Sorry that was a bit harsh, but it’s tough to like the C’s chances at any juncture when he is in the game at this point. He’s just not ready for this type of primetime playoff basketball. Too much of a liability out there.

So other than that the C’s are fine. That’s one hell of a mountain for the C’s to climb against a squad that is feeling pretty good about itself and its chances right now before they fly up to Boston tomorrow. Rightfully so as well.

I stand by my pick of Boston in 6 before this series started, but Boston will be tested like nothing else. With a hobbled crew and likely a short bench to contend with, it’s going to take a gutty effort out of the C’s Big Four and the Garden crowd to get it done.

Friday night, Celtic Pride will be more important than ever.

  • complexity

    It was sad to watch :(

    Celtics in 6.

  • Daniel

    What was the foul discrepency? This was horrible. How do u give a technical and 2 sec later want to take it back. Watch the NBA stick by their refs. Stern is a joke

  • rondo-is-love

    I think Boston’s worst nightmare is an understatement. Seriously.

  • http://espn jeffrey

    Dont tell me that we are looking at another year like last year in wish guys on the celtics team went down after leading the series now who could be the boodoo man for the magic to make the celtics get injure guys

  • jeff

    Jeffrey are you speaking ingles?

  • rondo-is-love

    Can the C’s just use one of the former NBDL guys (I would say Nate, but considering the problems to Rondo and TA, it’s a pretty bad idea) to play for one minute or something to unload the flagrant on Howard?

  • RBD

    @ rondo-is-love

    The same thought has crossed my mind.

    Put him in, tell him if he really hammers Howard he gets a guaranteed contract for next year and voila.

  • rondo-is-love

    @ RBD

    YES, YES! Hahahah. That’d be hilarious.

    By the way… I finally figured out what the silver lining of tonight’s horrible loss was. We’re going back to Boston… and in Boston, we have:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1z-QqYGpHo

  • sacbobv

    @rondo-is-love
    LOL, GREAT idea. We might even tell them that it’s the only way they stay on the roster or it’s a rookie challenge type of thing. Why not give both of them a shot at it?

  • rondo-is-love

    Oh and speaking of Celtic Pride…. can we also get Hondo, Russell, Cooz, etc. and Heinsohn courtside seats? Maybe Heinsohn can promise the refs some Tommy points if they finally call a Howard elbow.

    Bahahah. Just kidding…. maybe.

  • Jrmz

    suit up Scalabrine! time to bring out the fists. a coupla blows to Dwight’s neck and a coupla stomps on his balls should make up for all the damn elbows he throws at us constantly.

  • RBD

    @rondo-is-love

    Love that idea. I’d like whichever three refs are assigned the game to look into the glaring, legendary faces of the Celtics legends every time they make a questionable call.

  • Manuel Perez Pabon

    next game…..THERE WILL BE BLOOD…….

  • complexity

    Not to mention Ray Allen sucked. Nobody on the team did good at all.

  • david

    Agree w @complexity. Very sad to watch. Made me angry and I rarely get angry over any boston sports team’s loss including pat’s super bowl loss to giants. After that I felt dejected. After this game, I just felt anger. So much wrong and not fair. Howard getting his extra shot in every foul he was called for, especially the unnecassary extra pull down of pierce’s shoulder. Howard is sneaky. He knows exactly what he’s doing when he gives that “extra” on plays. All I can say is celts better win game 6. I can’t take a game 7 in orlando.

  • david

    Howard’s play throughout is dirty. His paly on pierce, he gave extra to be sure he spun pierce’s shoulder back. I have zero love for howard. He is sneaky dirty.

  • Celtic_Balls_Stomper

    Did you see that time that Howard stomped on Perkin’s face? that was funny

  • Hillcrestwildcat

    My disgust is overshadowed by the fact that I believe Orlando will be headed into the eye of a hurricane Friday night. They will get the Celtics best and they better bring there’s. And Howard prefers Baby in there but he’s gonna see a whole lot of Sheed (and I think Perk if the NBA hasn’t become a total joke) and he’s not gonna like the results. I actually like Shelden williams for rebounding and a big body in there, offensive liability but his rebounding might be able to make up for that.

  • Paolo

    What about Rondo’s technical? I’m sure that’s not called for as well.

    Overall, this was just the nightmare type of game for the Celtics. Everything that could have went wrong did go wrong.

    However, I strongly feel that if the technical on Perk did not happen, this game would be very very different. Remember that the Magic only had an 8-point halftime lead despite shooting lights out. For most of the third quarter, the C’s were trying to fight back, but they just lacked the bodies. Sheed should have been the first big off the bench, but there was no Perk so he had to start in the 2nd half. This leads to Baby from the bench where he got knocked out (literally).The team resorted to going small with PP at the 4 spot so they inserted Marquis and he got knocked out as well. This was just a nightmare. I know the Magic played well, and they could have still won the game, but I hate the fact that the Celtics did not have a real fighting chance because of all the stuff that happened.

  • http://espn.com travis zen

    stop pierce iso plays at the end of every quarter..its really getting silly..please tell that to the doc for god-sake..i’ll be more relaxed to see ray have the ball..and please rondo, improve your ugly free-throw shooting and jumpers..we’ll win if you do so..

  • DRJ1

    Baby’s concussion looked low grade… he did NOT lose consciousness and was fine in under 10 min. If he also has no amnesia, he can play immediately, because this is his first.

    Same for Quis… which looked even less serious.

    Sheed walked off on his own… good chance he’ll be ok too.

    The big q is Perk. If they don’t rescind… they lose pretty much all credibility, at least w me.

  • wowzerrs

    NBA, its refs, and David Stern Look dirtier after every game. Terrible game to watch.

  • FYATroll

    There is no fan base that complains more about the officiating than this one. The world is not out to get Boston. Promise.

  • NHBluesMan

    FYATroll, even unbiased fans who saw last nights game know it was badly officiated. And no, the world is not out to get Boston, but Stern is out to get a 7 game series for the ratings, Boston just happens to be the one getting the boot up their @$$ so he can get it!

    The biggest thing that worries me is the fact that we will be playing game 6 on 1 days rest… if it was 2 or 3, i’d like our chances better.

    and in regards to your comments about Nate Brian, i’m just glad he tried. I also like him for getting Rondo afew minutes of rest because he stuck to Nelson like crazy glue on defense. Sure he’s not the best on offense, but if Doc puts him in for acouple minutes and has him focus purely on guarding Nelson, he can help. I also like the fact that he blocked Dwight, that was nice to see.

    I called at the beginning of the series that this would either be Boston in 6, or Orlando in 7, because theres alot of tough match-ups and it would be too close to call. I hope my first prediction is right, the C’s come out aggressive but SMART, and maybe, just maybe, Big Baby is able to come back and has a knock-out game (not like last nights knock-out game).

    It wouldn’t hurt to see Dwight get a taste of his own medicine too.

  • coque

    how many elbows of ‘those’ elbows will dwight howard get away with?

    by those, do u mean completely inadvertant, coming down from jumping, “my arm has to come down somewhere” elbows?

    if you think that elbow was malevolent, all you need to look at is the elbow last year that broke courtney lee’s face.

    let’s try not to be so biased as our team becomes the first team in nba history to choke a 3-0 lead

  • http://secureimmaturity.com Will

    Hey guys,

    I’ve been absent for awhile (well, in hiding after my Magic went down 0-3) but I think going back and reading the posts is very funny for both team’s pages.

    Before the series started, all the fanboys and Celtics fan on this page were brimming with confidence and talking the smack you deserve to talk. Now you guys are spouting conspiracy and calling Howard dirty when you feel a bit of pressure. Jeez. . .you guys are up 3-2, have history on your side, and have played more consistently. You guys don’t need to be all crazy.

    And I say the same to Magic fans on the other sites. It’s funny how after two wins we are suddenly going to CHANGE HISTORY. One game at a time and keep everything in perspective. Magic fans: you’ve been behind for a REASON. Celtics fans: you have been dominant and up in this series for a REASON. Just relax. . .nothing is over yet (on either side of the coin).

  • t4inc

    Guys, as fans, it’s almost mandatory for us to ride an emotional roller coaster. We were rightly elated when we went up 3-0 and now we’re all depressed and imagining that the C’s might follow the Bruins.

    All that said, we are STILL up 3-2. It’s not easy to close out and yes, it would have been great if we had done that already but it is what it is. We just have to pull for our guys and hope they can close it out on our floor.

  • Celtic_Balls_Stomper

    I love the physical play of Howard, call him dirty, all you want, but it’s true that it’s hard to grab a rebound when your afraid your face will be fractured at any second. Answer? The lane is Dwight’s house, stay out or join the busted face gang.

    Game 6: Magic 116 crybaby celdicks 89

  • Celtics78

    What a real shame it has come down to this.Game 6 after being up 3-0………..i am a bit concerned although i know the Big 3 will not let us down.Something is wrong with Rondo his head isn’t in it, it seems.He needs to be mentally tough now, can’t let anything get to him and put him off his game.Own the game, make it yours, the court is there for you to dance on.It’s your world, OWN IT Rondo….. OWN IT.

  • johnsonmurph

    Nate Robinson..”useless”..eat your words, silly man

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