Match-Up: Orlando Magic (2-3) at Boston Celtics (3-2)


I am firmly on the Orlando Magic bandwagon. After being down 3-0 to the Celtics, the Magic have won two straight games. The Magic dominant 113-92 victory coupled with a few key Celtic injuries/suspensions have paved the way for the biggest comeback in NBA history.

Alike every 3-0 series, teams hope to take on the mentality of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who came back from being down 3-0 to oust the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Well, the towns aren’t the same, but the Celtics allowed the Magic to breathe, winning Game 4, 96-92 in overtime. The Magic carried that momentum over into Game 5 where they just stomped the Celtics. Typically home teams have the advantage during the playoffs, but with the loss of key players, do the Celtics have the advantage in Game 6?

Three key bench players went down with injuries in Game 5. Both Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis and Marquis Daniels left Game 5 with concussions. Given the short turn-around in the games, I don’t think either will play. Journeyman center, Rasheed Wallace tweaked his back late in the contest and is questionable for Game 6. Knowing his desire to win, I expect to him to be out there in Game 6. His effectiveness? I don’t know.

Finally, the most intriguing bit. Players must serve a one-game suspension if they commit seven technical fouls throughout the playoffs. Well, Celtic center, Kendrick Perkins got ‘T-ed’ up for the 7th time on Wednesday. He should be suspended, but the league rescinded one his technical fouls. He’ll play in Game 6.

If Glen Davis cannot play and Perkins gets in foul trouble, who will the Celtics use to defend Dwight Howard? Howard went off for 21 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks in Game 5. The Celtics could use Kevin Garnett to defend Howard, but Garnett is a little small and taking Garnett off of Rashard Lewis would be a mistake. The Celtics have limited Lewis to 4 of 19 shooting from three point range, but Lewis has knocked down 3 of his last 6 threes.

If Wallace can go in Game 6, I think he’ll defend Howard. If he gets into foul trouble? Shelden Williams, who has played ten total minutes in the Conference Finals.

The Magic shot 52% from three-point in Game 5, their highest mark of the series (Celtics shot 42%). If the threes keep falling and Howard continues his dominant play inside, bad things will continue to happen for the Celtics.

Tonight is Boston’s Game 7. Forget about winning if you go back to Orlando.

Only Problem? Orlando won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston last year.

The Pick: Orlando Magic

May Record: 12-15

Side Note: I’m tired of Paul Pierce. It seems like this guy is always milking ‘injuries’. Dwight Howard took him down with a hard foul in the late in Game 5. After laying on the ground for five minutes, wallowing in pain, two trainers had to lift him off the ground. Five minutes later, he is laughing and joking with Jameer Nelson. Pierce is completely fine.

Example 2: 2008, Game 1, NBA Finals. Pierce acts like he has a broken leg and is carried off the court. Fifteen minutes later, he comes running back on the court leads the C’s to a 98-88 Game 1 win over the Lakers. Pierce did have sprained knee. I give him credit for returning to action, but don’t milk the injury. You aren’t Willis Reed. You aren’t Kareem. So just stop.