|05.12.09 at 9:53 pm ET|
After three, the Magic have a 67-59 lead. We’ve played 36 minutes and the Celtics have yet to get into any kind of a groove offensively outside of Paul Pierce, who has scored 17 points and looks like the captain of old. Fortunately for the Celtics, the Magic have not been able to pull alway despite holding Boston to just 36 percent shooting.
It’s been a strange game to say the least. Rafer Alston is having his best game of the series by far with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists and Rashard Lewis has been able to score at will, and still Orlando can’t get any distance between it and the Celtics.
Other notes: With 6:32 left, Rajon Rondo picked up his fourth foul on a drive to the basket when Marcin Gortat stepped in to take the charge. Stephon Marbury replaced him but after missing two shots (including a wide-open 3-pointer) Doc Rivers subbed in Eddie House. Pierce was the nominal point guard, but it was another missed opportunity for Marbury.
The Celtics were able to get untracked a little after Dwight Howard went to the bench with his third foul. Howard has scored only six points, but he has 16 rebounds and has been a hulking presence in the lane. He has essentially been operating as a floating zone. He’s back out there to start the fourth.
Outside of Rondo, Rivers didn’t go to his bench once in the third quarter. Brian Scalabrine is in for Glen Davis, but Pierce, Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen have gone the distance. Allen is still struggling (2-for-9).
|05.12.09 at 9:05 pm ET|
There was a point in the game when nothing seemed to be falling for the Celtics. They shot just 6-for-22 in the first quarter and watched shot after shot bounce off the rim. But then Scal hit a three … and another one. The Celtics shot 45% in the second quarter and made a push to get back in the game. The problem is, though, the Magic are not relying on jumpers tonight like the Celtics. After outscoring the Cs 22-12 in the paint, the Magic have a 45-37 lead at halftime.
The Celtics simply have to attack the paint in the second half. Dwight Howard has not been called for a foul since 8:23 in the first quarter and is dominating the Cs in the post. Pierce has looked eager all night to take this game over. Let’s see who gets it going for the Celtics …
|05.12.09 at 8:47 pm ET|
Credit the Celtics bench, particularly Eddie House and Brian Scalabrine with getting them back in the game. Trailing 33-23 and shooting just 29 percent from the floor, the Celtics closed within five after Scalabrine knocked down a 3-pointer and House came up with a steal on the wing and a layup.
It’s been a struggle for Boston to get its shots off. The Magic are double and triple team everything that moves and the Celtics haven’t been able to make jump shots. Coming out of the timeout the Celtics have a small lineup on the floor–Rajon Rondo, House, Ray Allen, Scalabrine and Davis.
|05.12.09 at 8:31 pm ET|
What can you say about a quarter in which the home team shoots 6-for-22 and the visiting team’s All-Star center grabs nine rebounds and scores zero points? The operative word here is “bizarre.”
The Celtics came out with a lot of energy and seemed a step ahead of Orlando, but after getting an early 8-4 lead, it’s been all Magic. Orlando has been aggressively helping on any and every Celtics drive to the basket and that has let to a lot of kick-out jump shots. Make that a lot of kick-out jump shot misses.
Ray Allen’s cold shooting has continued (0-for-4) and Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce are each 1-for-4. The Magic, meanwhile, have relied on Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu who scored 14 points and combined to go 7-for-9 from the floor.
|05.12.09 at 8:20 pm ET|
The Celtics came out with great energy and then Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy called a timeout three minutes in and things have slowed to a standstill. At the 4:45 mark the Magic have a 10-8 lead but this game is more notable for the number of misses (17 combined) then makes (eight).
It is also notable for a lack of calls on both sides. The refs have called just four fouls and there has been an awful lot of clutching and grabbing. Speaking of clutching a grabbing, they just showed the Bruins scoring a goal on the Jumbotron. Maybe that will liven things up a little.
|05.12.09 at 7:46 pm ET|
If there is one thing Rashard Lewis has learned about Ray Allen, it’s that he doesn’t stay cold for long.
‘Man, that’s the thing. Ray may struggle but he’s always going to get back on his game the very next night,’ Lewis told WEEI.com prior to Game 5. ‘Hopefully that’s not the situation tonight, but Ray’s a true professional. You can’t count him out. You never can count him out.’
Lewis would know. The two played nearly five years together on the Seattle SuperSonics. During that period Allen led the league twice in three-point shots made. He also ranked as one of the league’s top ten scorers in four consecutive seasons.
‘I don’t care if he has a bad first half,’ said Lewis. ‘He can go and get 20, 30 points in the second half alone, or he can have one big quarter and score 15, 20 points. That’s just the type of player he is, so you’ve just always got to pay attention to him regardless of if he’s missed his shots.’
Allen has missed his shots against the Magic. He is shooting 34% from the field in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, down from 45% in the previous round. More staggering, Allen has made only three of 24 attempts from long range.
Lewis doesn’t pay attention to the box scores. He knows Allen’s 0-for-5 three-point performance in Game 4 has no bearing on Tuesday night.
‘I know he had a bad game last game. The thing that scares me about that is that we lost the last game by a buzzer beater and Ray didn’t play well,’ Lewis said. ‘Tonight is going to be a night where both teams need to win and I’m sure he’s mentally ready to play and he’s going to come out shooting the ball, I think, well tonight because of the fact that this team needs him to win the ball club and he’s the key to their winning, so I’m sure he’s going to be ready to play.’
Whether or not Lewis is right will be determined in Game 5. Maybe once the series is over, Lewis can share his prediction with his friend.
‘We speak to each other before and after the game, but it’s kind of hard to talk to each other when you keep competing against each other,’ Lewis said. ‘I’m sure after this series is over that we’ll get back to being the good friends that we are.’
|05.12.09 at 7:26 pm ET|
About an hour before Game 5 was set to tip off Brian Scalabrine was out on the floor shooters jumpers, which is his regular pregame routine. That was a welcome development for the Celtics after Scalabrine missed this morning’s practice with the flu, but he is feeling better and he will play tonight.
“He’s feeling lighter,” Doc Rivers joked. “No, he’s feeling better. He really is. He’s been able to hold food down for the last couple of hours so that’s good.”
Rivers was then asked if Scal’s condition would cause him to change his regular substitution pattern.
“No. We’re just going to play him,” he said. “Obviously if he’s out there and you see that he’s struggling we’ll react. Athletes have that ability at times. You just don’t know, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
As for Kendrick Perkins, there isn’t much of an update. His shoulder is sore, but he’s going to play. “His injury is what is,” Rivers said. “It’s not going to improve. He’s going to play with it. He has to. We need him.”
Other pregame miscellany
The mood in the Celtics locker room was business like. A few players checked in but no one made themselves available.
Doc on Game 5′s: “Obviously they’re big but you can recover from them. I’ve always thought people had it wrong–that it’s a must-win for the road team. I’ve always thought it’s a bigger game for the home team because if the home team loses you have to go to a close-out game on the road.”
On the rotation: “Right now I like our rotation, so we’re going to stay with that. It’s a small rotation but I like it and it’s gotten us where we’re at. If we need other guys, they’ll be ready.” That would seem to leave Tony Allen out for now, along with Bill Walker and Gabe Pruitt.