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Final thoughts before Game 6

05.14.09 at 6:52 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Doc Rivers is hopeful the referee trio of Dan Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Mark Davis call Game 6 the way the game was called in the second half of Game 5 Tuesday in Boston. That is to say, let them play.

If not and if Kendrick Perkins gets in foul trouble, that could spell trouble for the Green.

“We can go small at one, two and three but if we have to go small at four and five, clearly that’s not been the recipe for success for us,” Rivers said an hour before Game 6 at Amway Arena. “We are small to start when you think about it. Perk is undersized compared to Dwight (Howard) and Baby (Davis) is 6-7, 6-6, and we bring in Scal and we get smaller. But that’s who we have and they know their roles and they’ve been great at it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Back to the scene of the crime

05.14.09 at 5:35 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Doc Rivers readily admitted after Game 5 that the Celtics stole victory from the the Orlando Magic on the parquet. But it was Glen Davis who this afternoon returned to the scene of the crime.

And ESPN cameras were there to shoot it.

As Rashard Lewis came into the building and took a left for the Magic locker room, Davis followed in behind. The camera crew quickly changed their focus from following Lewis to trailing Davis, getting in front of him for a shot sure to be seen tonight in one of those ‘Look who’s in the building’ now shots. ESPN has the game on its air beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

It was Davis, of course, who ripped victory out of the mouths of the Magic and their rabid fans with his now-famous jumper from the left wing at the buzzer of Game 4.

That shot and the scene that ensued is stuff of playoff legend and Davis walked into the building this afternoon just before 5 p.m., returning to arena where he hit his shot and then bumped into the 12-year-old son of Ernest Provetti before racing down the court in jubilation.

No word on whether Provetti and his son will be back for more tonight.

Read More: Celtics, Orlando Magic,

Rivers: Why would they change?

05.14.09 at 1:26 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Dwight Howard called for more touches following his team’s collapse in Game 5 in Boston. Then he met with his coach to apologize for publicly ripping him.

Now he’s guaranteeing a magical comeback against the Celtics.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday morning that while the story gives everyone covering the series and fans plenty to talk about, there’s something everyone’s forgetting.

Why would the Magic suddenly change a game plan that produced a 28-point lead in a Game 1 win, a 21-point win in Game 3, fourth-quarter leads in Games  4 and 5 only to have the Celtics stun them in both.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Dwight Howard, Magic, NBA playoffs

Close out special

05.14.09 at 1:05 pm ET
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ORLANDO – Doc Rivers could live without suspense for once.

On their way to a 17th title, the Celtics head coach watched nervously on the sideline as his team was pressed to seven games against Atlanta and Cleveland before finally learning the art of closing out a seven-game series in Game 6 in Detroit. They repeated the feat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers.

Fast forward to the present, and the urgency to seal the deal in Game 6 tonight in Orlando is obvious. While courageous, gritty and determined, clearly these Celtics are weary and thin. They had that chance in Game 6 in Chicago before the epic triple-overtime loss spoiled their plans.

Now, a team that is relying on a remarkably thin bench has a chance to rest up for Cleveland. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Magic, NBA playoffs

Perk: Howard has a ‘point to prove’

05.14.09 at 12:14 pm ET
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ORLANDO – The man assigned with covering Dwight Howard expects a Superman effort from the outspoken Orlando center.

“Yeah, he’ll probably come out with a point to prove,” Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said at Thursday’s shoot around at Amway Arena. “I know he wants to be the best player on the court, so yeah he is going to come out with a point to prove.”

Following Tuesday night’s game, Howard criticized his head coach Stan Van Gundy for not calling plays for him to get the ball during the last five minutes as the Magic watched a 10-point lead evaporate as the Celtics prevailed 92-88, giving Boston a 3-2 series lead.

But Perkins, who is responsible for defending the Orlando big man, feels Howard has been getting plenty of touches. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are the Magic unraveling?

05.14.09 at 10:32 am ET
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After the Orlando Magic lost Game 4, coach Stan Van Gundy walked into the post-game press conference and accepted any and all blame for his strategy in the final seconds.

Van Gundy had told his players to switch one-through-four and Dwight Howard did exactly that when Paul Pierce came off the pick and roll. That left Glen Davis open in the corner and after his shot went through it was all over but the apologies. After Van Gundy’s mea culpa Howard absolved the coach of blame saying that the Magic win as a team and lose as a team. “We can’t blame Stan,” Howard said.

Howard was singing a different tune after Game 5 when he questioned the coach’s strategy and substitution pattern. Stuff like this happens all the time in the NBA, but what makes this situation unique is that this is the first time Howard publicly second-guessed his coach as Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi pointed out.

Van Gundy’s attempted to play down the situation yesterday, saying that he and Howard had a long talk and everything was copacetic, but Howard wasn’t the only one who questioned Van Gundy’s decision to try to burn the clock.

“We kind of played stall ball and you can’t really do that with a 24-second shot clock,” J.J. Redick said.

“We just stopped,” said Hedo Turkoglu. “They’re an experienced team. They’ve been here before. They know how to make decisions, especially in that kind of a game.”

Orlando has all kinds of questions heading into Game 6 beyond whether or not the coach and players are still on the same page. Courtney Lee has been more effective than Redick; does he start in his place?

Rafer Alston finally had a decent game, but his production has been spotty at best. If he falters does Van Gundy go with Anthony Johnson who has played well–but who also had a blowup with the coach during Game 3–or use Turkoglu at the point?

Tony Battie gave the Magic good minutes in the fourth quarter and Howard seemed to indicate that he wanted him on the floor instead of Rashard Lewis, who has been Orlando’s most effective player.

If the Magic can get themselves straightened out they have a very good chance of sending this series back to Boston for Game 7 because they do have several matchup advantages, particularly with Lewis. But on the other hand, they haven’t been able to maximize those advantages.

The Celtics know they got away with one Tuesday night, but they also have complete confidence in what they are doing.

“They say a team that has the most luck is the one that works the hardest,” Ray Allen said. “We end up looking lucky because of that.”

On the floor these teams are evenly matched, but the last 48 hours have brought all of the Magic’s internal issues out into the forefront. Whether they can get their act together could have as big an impact as any strategic decisions Van Gundy makes tonight.

Read More: Celtics, Game 6, Magic,

Howard guarantees series win

05.14.09 at 9:03 am ET
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Just a day after calling out his coach, Dwight Howard is confident the Orlando Magic will beat the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

“We can’t give up hope,” Howard told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re in this series to win it. We are going to win this series.”

Howard criticized head coach Stan Van Gundy
following the Magic’€™s Game 5 loss. He questioned why he wasn’€™t being allowed to ‘€œdominate,’€ as he barely touched the ball down the stretch of their fourth quarter collapse. Howard and Van Gundy seemed to have reached a resolution.

“Getting the ball shouldn’t be a big issue for me,” Howard said. “There’s more ways to dominate the game than scoring. Me and coach, we talked about that. I just can’t let my frustrations get to the point where I’ll say anything.”

Game 6 will be played tonight in Orlando. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic,
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