Celtics/Magic Game 1 Recap
At the midway point of the 3rd quarter, I was almost ready to throw in the towel and admit that I called the series wrong. The Boston Celtics looked tired; the Orlando Magic looked rested and fresh. Paul Pierce was ineffective and running ragged. Ray Allen was getting bottled up by J.J Redick (!). Rajon Rondo looked like he would rather be home resting. And Kendrick Perkins was nowhere to be found. The Celts looked like they wanted to get this over with, and go home for the summer in four. We’ll pick up the action at this point.
* I just realized that Boston shot cero free throws in the first half. Is that even possible? I could have sworn that I saw someone from Ken Mauer’s family wearing a Dwight Howard jersey.
* Brian Scalabrine just hit a three to bring the Celtics within 25. He celebrates by mean-mugging his way back down the court.
* Rashard Lewis looks good, hitting a free throw. That gives him for 18 for the game. He would not score in the last 19 minutes of action.
* Rajon Rondo goes hard to the cup, faking a behind-the-back pass along the way. He earns a trip to the line. I can almost hear Doug Collins thinking that Rondo never finishes on that play.
* Wow! Rondo just went at Howard like Tracy McGrady would have Shawn Bradley. He doesn’t get the poster, but he gets two more free throws.
* Hedo Turkoglu makes a long, fade-away three from the corner. That’s a shot the Celts can’t complain about.
* 71-52 Magic. Ray Allen misses another three that could have grabbed the momentum.
* Pierce follows that up with another missed three that could have brought them within 15. The Celt’s seem inable to hit the shot, the one that’ll get the fans rowdy.
* I have to go to the optometrist. Did I really just see Rondo airball a free throw?
* Scal misses a three that would have brought them within 13. The theme of “not being able to get over the hump,” continues.
* Big Baby hits a big-jumper, bringing the Celts within 14.
* 78-62 at the end of the 3rd, and the Celts have to be feeling OK about it.
* The Magic run a nice play to start the 4th. Howard was set for a dunk, but Perkins must not have got the memo. Swat.
* On the other end, Pierce misses a near and one. Another squandered opportunity to really capture the crowd and scare the Magic.
* Redick ties up Perkins in the post. Perkins contemplates taking his head off.
* Off the ensuing jump ball, Perk taps it to Rondo, who quickly zips it to House in the corner. Big three for the Celts.
* Rondo follows that up with a steal and a fast-break dunk. It is now a 10-point game. Magic fans (those who aren’t octogenarians and in bed) start getting nervous.
* At this point a SLAM staffer texts me: “You can count on Howard to choke.” No bias here though.
* As Reggie Miller pointed out, Scal just pulled a Pierce, using a heady up-fake to earn three free throws. On the next play Scal grabs a big O-board. It must be Matt Bonner in Scal’s body tonight.
* Ray Allen just can not get his stuff together tonight. To top it off, he just got hit in the crotch region. Somewhere Anderson Varejao is laughing.
* Damn, Ray Allen’s GPS must be off. He just over-penetrated and nearly got rim stuffed.
* It’s an 11-point game at the four minute mark, but the Celts have had their chances to get back even closer.
* Skip and Rondo are fighting for the ball, Rondo wins the scrum, passes the length of the court to Scal, who checks his feet and nails a trey.
* Pierce steps into a three….money! Celts down six, 89-83.
* The Biz Markie Heineken commercial is a classic. That cab driver is having the time of his life. And those girls won’t remember what hit them.
* OK, Rashard Lewis has Scal in the post. Again. The fact that he can’t dominate this match-up is a testament to him being a second-slash-third option.
* Ray Allen just shot what Reggie Miller termed “the perfect shot.” Too bad he missed.
* The Magic don’t want to win, scoring themselves an eight-second violation.
* Pierce rainbows in a 3 with 6.6 seconds to go. We have a three point game. Too little, too late.
* Final score: 95-90 Magic. The game was clearly lost in the middle 24 minutes.
The Magic showed against the Sixers that they have trouble holding onto big leads. That trend continued tonight, even as the Celts Big Three (yup, I said it.) could never get off. And the way the game ended, the Celts have to feel good about their chances. Whether or not K.G. returns, I’m sticking by my earlier prediction.
I have one lingering question for Doc Rivers: Why didn’t Stephon Marbury play in the 2nd half? In his first ever appearance in the second round, Marbury looked good, going four for six with three assists. Meanwhile, Rondo in his last three games is 8 fore his last 37. Doc, I could see, like every other fan could see, that Starbury needed some shine tonight. Why couldn’t you see it? The Doc needs to see an optometrist before game two.