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Comeback buzzkill

05.05.09 at 12:54 am ET
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The way Stephon Marbury viewed Boston’s 95-90 loss in Game 1 to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night, the Celtics hadn’t really earned the energy that the sellout crowd was giving them when they started to mount a dramatic, nearly historic comeback from a 28-point third-quarter hole.

“The crowd was great,” Marbury said. “They came ready to do what they were supposed to do. We didn’t.”

What the Celtics didn’t do was keep the game close in the final moments of the second quarter and early stretches of the third quarter. With the game tied, 30-30, Orlando closed the first half on a 24-6 run to take a 54-36 halftime lead. Things were looking really bleak when J.J. Redick drained a three with 8:56 remaining in the third for a 65-37 Orlando lead.

The TD Banknorth Garden crowd was driven into a frenzy in the final quarter after the Celtics converted turnover after turnover by Orlando into either wide-open threes or easy transition baskets. The Green shaved that 28 point lead down to just four, 89-85, on Glen Davis‘ reverse layup  with 2:08 remaining. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, comeback, Magic, NBA playoffs

Howard: Perkins makes me better

05.05.09 at 12:32 am ET
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Dwight Howard has always been generous with his compliments of Kendrick Perkins.

“Kendrick did a Kareem shake tonight,” Howard said after the Magic’s win in March. “It shocked me, but that just shows me that those guys have really been working on their game and they’€™ve gotten a lot better.’€

He was just as quick to credit Perkins after the Magic’s victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Howard scored just seven points and got to the line once in the second half.

‘€œThey played great defense tonight,’€ Howard said of the Celtics. ‘€œThey pushed me out, I didn’t get into a good rhythm. Kendrick (Perkins) kept a body on me and that’s what he’s supposed to do. I have a lot of respect for Kendrick and he makes me a better player, something I look forward to next game. Me and Pat (assistant coach Patrick Ewing) will watch film, see what I need to do so that it won’t be another night like tonight.’€

Howard and Perkins will battle again in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

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Game 1: Final Wrap

05.04.09 at 10:34 pm ET
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Despite fighting back from an 18-point halftime deficit, the Celtics efforts fell short. The Magic took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, 95-90. Paul Pierce led all scorers with 23 points. Dwight Howard (16 points, 22 rebounds) scored just seven points in the second half. More postgame reaction on Green Street from the locker rooms …

Read More: Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Paul Pierce,

Game 1: Third quarter update

05.04.09 at 9:54 pm ET
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After playing uninspired ball in the first half, the Celtics came out stronger in the third quarter, but failed to cut into Orlando’s lead all that much and trail 78-62 heading into the fourth quarter. Rajon Rondo led the charge, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the quarter, with all of it coming at the free throw line. He even challenged Dwight Howard with a tough drive to the basket, but the Magic made five 3-pointers in the quarter, which kept the C’s at bay.

The Celtics are still shooting just 38 percent from the floor, while Orlando is at 49 percent. It’s a simple game sometimes. They need to make more shots and force the Magic to miss if they’re going to get back into it.

Game 1: Second Quarter Update

05.04.09 at 9:01 pm ET
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There was a glimmer of hope when Stephon Marbury began playing like the Marbury of old. He drove on Dwight Howard, pulled up for jumpers, and scored eight points in nine minutes. That was the only highlight of the second quarter for the Celtics.

With Paul Pierce sidelined by three fouls, the Celtics shut down on offense. They settled for outside jumpers, stopped penetrating, and got lost in the Magic’s passing game. Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo shot a combined 2-for-14 in the first half. Kendrick Perkins shot 1-for-5 as well. Even though their bench contributed (15 points), that could not compensate for their inability to stop the Magic from getting easy shots (52.4% FG).

At halftime … Magic 54, Celtics 36

Read More: Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic,

Game 1: First quarter update

05.04.09 at 8:28 pm ET
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Maybe it was the long series with the Bulls, or maybe it was the layoff for the Magic, or maybe it’s just the first-game feeling out process, whatever the reason we’re off to a slow, even sluggish start in this one with Orlando holding a 24-19 lead.

The Celtics racked up five turnovers already, and the Magic have been active playing the passing lanes. Orlando hasn’t been much better, turning it over three times. But, as expected, Rashard Lewis has been a tough cover for the Celtics. He leads both teams with 12 points. Dwight Howard, however, is 0-for-3 and missed a hook from point-blank range. Paul Pierce has seven for the Celtics and Big Baby Davis scored six.

One other note: The Celtics in-game operations have been playing extensive clips from the first round series on the Jumbotron. Might be time to let it go. The crowd is nowhere near as hyped as they were for Game 7. That’s to be expected, but it’s a new series now.

Read More: Celtics, Game 1, Magic,

Game 1: Early update

05.04.09 at 8:18 pm ET
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Like a couple of boxers, both teams came out a little gingerly, trying to size each other up. Two things have stood out so far.

First, the Celtics are not going to double Dwight Howard in the post when Kendrick Perkins is on him. That doesn’t allow the Magic’s perimeter shooters to get open looks off the double team, and simply reinforces how important it is for Perkins to stay out of foul trouble. Perk picked up a loose ball foul when he was a little too aggressive and knocked Rashard Lewis down.

Second, the Celtics are going right at Howard. Big Baby Davis, Perkins and even Ray Allen have taken it hard to the basket. Ray got his shot swatted into the third row for his troubles, but don’t look for the C’s to stop going at him. Howard picked up a charge 45 seconds into the game (Big Baby took it) and the Celtics would love to get him into foul trouble.

Read More: Celtics, Game 1, Magic,
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