|05.10.09 at 10:31 pm ET|
With a little under nine minutes left to play, Bill Kennedy called Paul Pierce for a foul on an in-bounds play. It was the fifth for the captain and just another obstacle for the Celtics to deal with as they hope to take this series back to Boston tied a two games apiece.
Without Pierce, the Celtics have held off Orlando. Big Baby Davis, in particular has been, well, big, grabbing three very important rebounds. Eddie House checked in for Pierce leaving the Celtics with a small lineup of House, Rajon, Rondo, Ray Allen, Davis and Kendrick Perkins. Orlando, meanwhile, was running Hedo Turkoglu at the point and there are mismatches all over the floor for both sides.
As we come out of the under six-minute timeout Pierce is still on the bench. Expect him back soon.
|05.10.09 at 10:11 pm ET|
With just over four minutes remaining in the quarter, Paul Pierce went to the bench with is fourth foul. It was a tough blow for the Celtics as Pierce is in the midst of his best game of the series with 27 points and they had a 67-58 lead, their largest of the night.
The Celtics weathered the storm for a time but late in the quarter the Magic managed to cut the lead down to just two points after Courtney Lee made a pair of free throws. But the Celtics went on an 8-2 run to take a 79-71 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The last four minutes were not without some minor controversy. Doc Rivers nemesis Bill Kennedy whistled the Celtics for a defensive three-second technical, which turned into a four-point swing after Rashard Lewis made the free throw and Rafer Alston buried a 3-pointer. Rivers called timeout and had a lengthy conversation with Kennedy.
Then, Big Baby Davis took umbrage at Dwight Howard after a foul left him sprawling across the lane. Davis missed both free throws but he was key in helping the Celtics get through the quarter without the captain. Things settled down after that and we’re all set for a defining 12 minutes of the Celtics season. Do they have enough to take this series back to Boston tied at two games apiece, or are the Magic ready to take that proverbial next step?
|05.10.09 at 9:49 pm ET|
The Celtics came out for what might be the most important half of their season intent on putting the game in the hands of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They have been running high isolation pick and rolls with Pierce at the point and Allen setting the screen.
Pierce, who scored 18 points in the first half, kept it going in the early minutes of the third quarter making a pair of jumpers and getting to the line. Allen, who was held to just four points on four shots also made a couple of pull-up jumpers. It’s a pretty radical shift in strategy but so far it’s paid dividends.
|05.10.09 at 9:24 pm ET|
The first half of Game 4 has been dictated by foul trouble. The tone was set early when Glen Davis was benched 46 seconds after the tip with his first personal. By the end of the first half, 29 fouls had been called and 25 free throws were taken.
Paul Pierce (18 points) scored seven straight points in the second quarter to lead the Celtics before being whistled for his third. Rashard Lewis (11 points) is the high scorer for the Magic.
Ray Allen still struggles on the offensive end. He has attempted just four field goals (4 points) and is 0-for-2 from three-point range.
There are two match ups to keep an eye on in the second half — the longtime battle between Pierce and Turkoglu as well as the emerging duel between Perkins (8 points, 9 rebounds) and Howard (9 points, 10 rebounds).
|05.10.09 at 8:51 pm ET|
With 8:11 left in the second quarter the fouls are really starting to build up. Big Baby Davis and Marcin Gortat each have three fouls and the following players have two fouls each:
|05.10.09 at 8:42 pm ET|
After one the Celtics are down 28-25, but it has been a noticeably different Celtics team than the one we saw Friday night. Rajon Rondo has been aggressively attacking the basket and he is too quick for Rafer Alston to handle.
Dwight Howard picked up two early fouls, but the Magic got a lift from their bench, particularly Marcin Gortat who came in for Howard and scored six points. The Celtics got caught in a strange situation when it looked like Kendrick Perkins picked up his second foul for an illegal screen. Perkins went to the bench, but after the substitution had been made the refs changed the call to Paul Pierce. Without Perkins in the game, Gortat was able to get two offensive rebounds over the smaller lineup and converted the second into a score.
Orlando started the game shooting 3-for-12, but with the second unit in the game, they made seven of 11.
|05.10.09 at 8:26 pm ET|
At the first media timeout, the Celtics have come out aggressive and feisty and have a 13-10 lead. Two things are noticeably different from Game 3. First, Dwight Howard has been called for goaltending three times. The Celtics were adamant after Game 3 that several of his blocks should have been ruled interference.
The other difference is Orlando is not making shots at nearly the same clip. The Magic are just 3-for-12 and Howard in particular has been limited to his sweeping hook across the lane game, and not the catch and dunk.
Foul trouble will also be something to watch. Brian Scalabrine came in for Big Baby Davis after just 45 seconds but picked up two quick fouls. No offense to Scal, but a far bigger factor is that Howard also got two early and he is out of the game for now.