Orlando @ Boston
8:00 PM EST
Orlando: 105.1 points scored per 100 possessions (15th)
Boston: 101.2 points scored per 100 possessions (27th)
Orlando: 103.3 points allowed per 100 possessions (12th)
Boston: 98.7 points allowed per 100 possessions (1st)
Probable Orlando Starters: Jameer Nelson (PG), J.J. Redick (SG), Jason Richardson (SF), Ryan Anderson (PF), Daniel Orton (C).
View From Opposing Bench: Magic Basketball
Injury Report: Questionable: Glen Davis (knee), Ray Allen (probably out with that calf induced ankle injury), Mickael Pietrus (knee). Out: Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu
Thumbnail: Thanks to last night’s blindfolded effort defending the three-point line, tonight’s game against the Magic actually means something. If the Celtics win and the Knicks lose, the Atlantic Division is theirs, along with the four seed and a guaranteed avoidance of playing Miami/Chicago in the first round. After missing last night’s game against the Knicks, Allen will probably be out with his ankle issue (a growing worry), and taking into account the spill he took in last night’s game—and the postgame taping of his back and finger—Rajon Rondo could see limited minutes or even miss the game altogether. But don’t fret! Boston’s dominated Orlando both this season and in year’s past, and all of that was with Dwight Howard on the court.
With Howard out of commission a key matchup comes in the frontcourt. Orlando’s second best player, Ryan Anderson, has been much more active on the inside, scoring 45% of his points in the paint in his last five games. But Anderson’s had an extremely difficult time against Boston in the past (averaging eight points per game in his last three games) mostly because he’s forced to go up against Kevin Garnett. Expect that trend to worsen for Orlando, as Boston won’t have to worry about venturing out to the perimeter to guard him. Should be a fun one.
Prediction: Celtics 95, Magic 80