Match-Up: Boston Celtics (3-1) at Orlando Magic (1-3)

AP Photo/Winslow Townson, Pool

The Orlando Magic avoided elimination with a 96-92 overtime win in Boston over the Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday night. The Magic are down three game to one, but will have the ability to cut that lead in half on Wednesday night.

Magic center, Dwight Howard played like a man possessed in Game 4. Howard score 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting while grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking four shots. Howard did shoot 6 of 14 from the foul line, something he must improve upon if the Magic want to stay alive. However, the key to the game was Orlando’s pick-and-roll offense.

Point guard, Jameer Nelson also successfully utilized the pick-and-roll offense for the Magic. Nelson chipped in 23 points, but helped set up the majority of the team’s series high 47 pick-and-roll points. The Magic only averaged 27 pick-and-roll points during the first three games of the series. The Magic have dominated opponents with their pick-and-roll game during the regular season, so it must continue in Game 5 if the Magic want to stay alive.

The Celtics Big 3 scored 68 of the team’s 92 points. However, argubaly the team’s best player this post-season, Rajon Rondo, only scored nine points and chipped in eight assists. Rondon averaged 15 points and 9 assists in the first three games of the series.

The Celtics did not execute and looked extremely sloppy at time. Howard and Nelson finally decided to play hard and that will continue in Game 5.  Games 1 and 2 marked the first time this season that the Magic have lost consecutive home games. Will they drop three straight at home? I don’t think so.

The Magic is focused. Vince Carter has been absolutely awful this series. He shot 1 for 9 in Game 4, so he really can’t get much worse. I’m expecting him to play more of a role in Game 5.  If the Magic can cut down on their turnovers, successfully utilize the pick-and-roll while getting something from Vince Carter, they will win. The Magic opened as four-point favorites.

The Pick: Orlando Magic

May Record: 11-14

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