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Monday, May 17th, 2010 at 4:12 am  |  38 responses

Celtics Win Game 1

Orlando struggles against Boston team that is not done with the upsets.

by Nada Taha Moslehy

The home court team buried themselves alive, but not without taking a short gasp of air in the fourth quarter. Despite a major rally by the visiting team that cut the double-digit lead held for most of the game to a few points, a couple of free throws iced the score and the first game of the round shifted home court advantage the opposite direction.

Before you jump to assumptions, I’m actually not talking about Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between Boston and Orlando. I’m talking about last year’s semifinals where the Magic held a 30-point lead on the Celtics and took home a 95-90 road win.

Déjà vu?

Ya, you can say that. Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo went 2 of 12 last year, while Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard were held to just 19 points collectively Sunday. The Magic slowed down in the third to allow the Celtics to go on a 15-4 run in the semis, and in the ECF, the Celtics were outscored 30-18 in the fourth to give Orlando a fighting chance.

It’s just one game, but the Magic aren’t making any excuses.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with that (rust). I think it had to do with their defense,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I didn’t think we played with either great energy or very good focus on the way we wanted to play the game.

“So, no, I’m not going to take that as an excuse. We just didn’t play well.”

Instead of looking at rust as a reason, the Magic blamed their low intensity and mumbled over and over again about a lack of urgency in the locker room after the 92-88 loss.

While the Celtics jumped on the necks of the Magic from the get-go with a 3-point shot by Paul Pierce to start the game, Orlando waited until the fourth quarter to wake up and realize they weren’t doing intra-squad scrimmages during practice anymore and the third round of the Playoffs had started.

The Magic were held to 20 percent shooting in the first quarter and went 0 for 9 from beyond the arc for the entire first half. They tried, but they seemed to have forgotten where the basket was because their shots just weren’t falling.

But the Magic admitted it. They weren’t ready. They didn’t play hard enough.

“I don’t think we were prepared for the level that they were ready to play,” Vince Carter said. “They were ready to go from the jump. And we weren’t on their level in the beginning, more than anything.”

That slow start cost Orlando the game. They never led, gave up 18 turnovers and didn’t hit their golden threes throughout the match.

The Celtics did all that and more. They shot the ball well, their ball movement was impeccable and they caused Howard to struggle by sending in their bigs—Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and Glenn “Baby” Davis to do some dirty work.

“They hurt you so well with their passing,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “When you have enough bigs that could just stand there and take the pounding—it’s a good thing. “

A major key to their game was surprisingly Rasheed Wallace. Yes, the same ‘Sheed that could barely hit a jumper and didn’t look too interested in the regular season. But he turned it on and turned it up against the Magic. Doc said Wallace always told him he knew it didn’t matter what happened in the regular season, and that he’d “be judged for what I do in the Playoffs.”

Well, his 13 points and 2 rebounds may not be a lot to fill a stat sheet, but his defensive tricks and tough mindset helped the Celtics beat down the Magic for most of the game.

Last year, the Celtics came back for a decisive Game 2 victory that eventually led to a seven-game, back-and-forth series.

So, whether it was rust, urgency, defense or Rasheed Wallace, it’s still just one game.

Check the boxscore and some highlights on NBA.com here.

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  • Shu

    First. Vince kinda brought it…

  • http://nationalhighway.blogspot.com jaywalker

    This is the strategy C’s would have to adapt if they want to be on the ship. Get superman into foul trouble and rip through the lineup.

    Nice to see vintage VC!

  • Hubert

    Ray Allen happened.

  • RedRum

    I have a 100 bucks on the Cs winning it. I placed it after I saw how the defense ate up Lebron.

  • http://nationalhighway.blogspot.com jaywalker

    4-2 C’s

  • shifty

    Yeah jaywalker 4-2 is what im hoping, win it all again KG!

  • MVPballer

    The only reason the C’s won this was ’cause fo their defense. Perkins and Sheed were amazing against Howard. Wallace was really active defending the block and kept Howard on his toes.
    And Perkins is a beast, probably one of the best post defenders in the L.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com Hoopistani

    can we now offically stop calling boston wins “upsets”? their low regular season finish (4th in east) was in upset. their playoff performance with a full-strength squad (led by a rejuvenated garnett) is expected.

  • ripslam

    @MVPballer: Perkins IS the best post defender in the L.

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    perk probably is the best on the ball post defender, although i’d give dwight howard the award for best defender of the basket in general. and yeah, hoopistani, celtic wins need to stop being called upsets. i just think the celtics are great at exposing teams’ weaknesses. the cavs’ weakness was the fact that jamison and in some ways shaq were defensive liabilities, and that their offense is totally dependent on one player. the magic’s weakness is that their inside-out offensive scheme starts with a low post player who does not average 20 points a game, does not have a vast array of post moves (although he’s gotten much better), and cannot shoot anything like a jump shot. the thing is that their whole offensive scheme is dependent on teams doubling dwight, which opens up players for 3′s, but if the c’s aren’t doubling him, they’re going to have to figure something else out.

  • slawson

    In their last game VS the Cavs, I saw Sheed hit a three, and thought “if he hits another one, it’s ovah” (and then he did, and it was). If Sheed keeps playing like this? Orlando will have a tough time winning a single game.

  • Playa

    I hope everyone realizes why the Cavs had their asses handed to them. It’s not because LeBron wasn’t focused. It’s because when the KG, Truth and Ray are healthy and hungry, they’re just ill. If you didn’t know, now you know.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    I think that the best mental and emotional team in the league are the celts, and the last squad you’d want to face once they get a momentum. Magic is in deep trouble.

  • rikson

    One win for the Cs and everybody jumps on the bandwagon. Orlando is still the team to beat in the east…

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    it’s not just that they beat them, it’s that they found a way to defend orlando’s inside-out offense: don’t double dwight and you make it much harder for the three point shooters. if orlando can’t depend on the offense that won them the first two rounds (yesterday, they really couldn’t, but they’re a good team, and they’ll get it to work at least some of the time), they’re in trouble.

  • BostonBaller

    I give van gundy credit for being a stand up guy in the post game interview. He wouldn’t allow the reporters to give him or his team excuses. He said The lay off did not give them rust, he said the C’s played hard nosed D and they out played them. I’m loving how so many people are now saying what some of us have been saying for 2 years now. Perk is a defensive beast down low and getting better all around and that Rondo is one of the best PG’s. Stop harping on the misleading fact that we were more than shaky during the season and at the end…It’s called injuries and then trying to ease your guys back into the rotation so that they will be ready for the playoffs. HELLO Ray, KG & P Double are not toooo old and barring an injury we can win it all. I am BostonBaller and I ride with the green thru thick and thin. Green 18

  • vtrobot

    sheeed. ray = $. i will never understand how some professional basketball players will never be able to execute the mechanics of a good shot, no matter how much they practice it. PP’s line was perfect. he should keep doing that every game. halftime “interview” of dwight seemed extremely embarrassing. that will quiet the people who say he’s not focused enough. dwight and VC seemed really happy in the post-game interviews. if they liked that game, they’re going to love how the series turns out. C’s in 5.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com TADOne

    I’m starting to think Boston is not upsetting any of these teams; I think a lot of media heads had Boston underrated.

  • vtrobot

    the media has been underestimating the big three since they came together. 95% of the media picking the lakers before the ’08 finals was funny. they only stopped doubting rondo recently. rondo > jameer, ray = vince, PP >>> priscilla barnes, KG >> ‘shard, perk/sheed = dwight. doesn’t look great for ORL.

  • T-Money

    I think we’re all realizing that a healthy Boston squad has not yet been beat in a 7 game series since their ‘ship.

  • http:slamonline.com Allenp

    Well, it was only one game. Let’s remember that.
    I don’t see Dwight being much of factor, but if he forces Boston to rack up team fouls and Vince continues to be aggressive the Magic may have a shot.
    Van Gundy is going to give Reddick even more minutes next game and that’s a good decision because he will make Ray Allen work on defense and work hard to stay with him when Boston has the ball. Dwight needs to relax and stop whining like a punk. He always wants the refs to bail him out, big baby.
    I wonder if Pierce is going to continue to be that efficient? If he does, that’s a big problem. The Magic have use their bench more because that’s where they have the biggest advantage over Boston. Boston has a pretty nice drop off as far as scoring when they go to backups, particularly when Rondo is not out there running the show. I think the Magic will bounce back and win game one, and then it will be all about if they can steal one in Boston. If they can, the series should go seven.

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    lets go Vince.

  • T-Money

    On Dwight slowing down and PP going off: who guards you matters. I know that a lot of people consider everything to be overhyped about Bron but small forwads (not named Melo) just don’t go off on him. Ever. He’s facing Barnes and Vince now. Dwight: well yeah, Perk will do that to you. This is not 6’10, 240 Al Horford, you won’t get deep positioning with good angles on Perk. Which requires Howard to make an actual post move. And he can’t.

  • riggs

    whoa whoa whoa wheres all this C’s love that im hearing from the commentors? where are the detractors? the one’s talking ish all throughout the regular season calling them washed up and sh*ttalkers? yall gotta stay consistent haters, wishy washy aint a good look.

  • Bently

    The NBA: Where Ray Allen Is Labeled as just a shooter but drives to the hole at will..

    ask spike lee about this man.. he’ll tell you

    JESUSSS!

  • D12FSU

    it would be really easy to blame a 6 day layoff for the magic, and a fresh celtics team who played 2 days earlier, but that’s not orlando nor SVG’s style. The Magic just played like sh!t in the first half, and half of the 3rd quarter. It may have been true that ORL has been playing relatively easy teams and werent quit prepared for a team like boston…but this team is probably the best at making adjustments..during and after games, you saw this when they almost came back from 20 down. Orlando wont have that sluggish start like they did and game 1, and game 2 will be a lot different.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com TADOne

    I’m not sure who that comment was posted at Riggs, but I wasn’t one of those people calling the C’s washed up during the season. I knew their team was built for the playoffs and I had a feeling that KG would take awhile before he got back to being 100%. The only thing I didn’t see coming was the contributions from Tony Allen. Where the hell did his inspired play come from?!?!

  • T-Money

    riggs: no offense but that’s just stupid. they DESERVED all the hate they were getting during the regular season. were critics supposed to praise a team that was getting beat by G-State and NJ?!

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    @T-Money: as a big celtics fan, i have to agree. they deserved all the criticism they got during the regular season. still, i always thought people were making a mistake if they ever counted the c’s completely out of the race for the title. even if they didn’t play like contenders for most of the regular season, it’s just hard to count out a team with that much talent and experience.

  • vtrobot

    ray looked like he was playing for the sonics last night. it was beautiful.

  • toproman

    Jesusssss![/momsvoice]

  • http:slamonline.com Allenp

    Am I the only one who watched KG drag his leg the entire regular season and look like he was finished?
    Only an idiot would think that with KG playing like a ghost of himself, the Celtics were a legit title threat.
    Now, KG is looking fairly healthy and the Celtics entire team looks better. Look at how active KG is on defense, how he’s chasing cats out ot the three point line and still recovering. He wasn’t doing that earlier this year. Personally, I thought he wouldn’t get really healthy until next year because that’s how it usually works with knee injuries, but he seems all right now.
    It’s not hate to accurately reflect what’s actually happening. It’s called reality.

  • http://www.youtube.com/ The Promise

    @T-Money: Let me continue on what you were sayin about Pierce. I think you will see him consistently get 20+ points against the banged-barnes and a fairly slow Vince. Not saying Pierce is quick by any means; its that quick first step he has that gets him his open looks and drives to the rim. Not to mention he’s a really smart and craft guy, anybody see that play where they fouled him and he threw it up and got 3 foul shots? I loved that. Thats just a smart basketball play. Another thing is, He doesn’t have to use nearly as much energy on defense and should stay out of foul trouble, now that he’s no longer guarding LeBron James. Thats a tough check for anybody. Now I’ll change the subject: I have thought this for a while, and I’m just gonna say it: Dwight Howard is the most overrated player in the league. The first 2 rounds, he had absolutely nobody that could match up with him and he got his dunks and layups. Game 1 of this series, you see a totally different story, because Perkins is a big ol’ strong boy himself, and Howard didn’t push him around so well. Then when Wallace came in, Sheed was usin every trick in the book to get in his head: Giving him a push after the play, fouling him hard, but the best one was when he stepped away from him when Howard was backing him down, causing him to lose his footing and travel(at this point Howard was frustrated and yelled at the ref for a foul that wasn’t there), I mean he really got in the guys head. Not to mention the guy is giving them baskets on offense when he gets in there. The only reason Orlando made a game out of it was because Boston fooled around and lost their intensity a bit. You won’t see that next game if they get a lead like that. They’ll just pound em’ right into the ground like they did to the Cavs in game 5. I still say the Magic will win a couple, but thats it. Boston in 6.

  • http:slamonline.com Allenp

    You know what was overrated? Dwight’s first two rounds of the playoffs.
    He only averaged 15 points. That is not impressive.

  • http://www.kwapt.blogspot.com KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    Keys:

    1)Perk/’Sheed shut down Superman Jr.
    2)Magic horrible from beyond the arc
    3)Magic horrible from beyond the arc
    4)Truth snaps out of funk
    5)Clutch free-throw shooting late

    C’s are showing signs of a championship team. Most notably, they are not relying on 1 guy. Different players are stepping up each night. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

  • http://www.youtube.com/ The Promise

    @Allenp: Not that impressive, no, but, in the 2nd round, he made 27 of 32 shots. He was 3 of 10 yesterday. Its called defense.

  • rikson

    …or NO-defense in the first to rounds.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Duh-White must be the whiniest big man out there, even more than whiny-Pau. Every time i see him lumber into the paint then throw up a brick while shouting “HEYYY”, i wanna puke. Superman my butt.

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