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Game 3: Setting the scene

05.08.09 at 7:10 pm ET
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The Magic gave out a bunch of those clapper things to fans and they are up and ready. One of them even took the time to tell Rajon Rondo how little he thinks of him during the national anthem. The Magic mascot, who appears to be a mammal of indiscriminate genus and species, descended from the rafters and there were some fireworks to cap it all off, which have left a haze over the court. The fireworks were much like the ones the Celtics used to use until the commissioner urged them not to.

So, we’re ready to go.

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No Rafer, but no change

05.08.09 at 6:57 pm ET
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You’ve seen it a hundred times before. A starter gets suspended or misses a game because of injury, and his backup comes in and lights it up. The Magic will be without starting point guard Rafer Alston who was suspended by the NBA for his slap at Eddie House at the end of the third quarter in Game 2. Anthony Johnson, who defines the term “crafty veteran” will get the start in Alston’s place with Ty Lue likely to handle the backup minutes.

“(Johnson) doesn’t change how we play,” Doc Rivers said. “But they’re going to rally the troops. You saw them do that with Dwight Howard (who missed Game 6 of the Philly series). It just happens. We have to be ready for that.”

Along those lines Rajon Rondo spent a good bit of time studying film on Johnson. “I don’t think they really change that much,” he said. “He’s a professional point guard. Johnson is more of a scorer than Rafer. A lot of people underestimate him, but I’ve been doing my research. He runs the show. He’s been around for a long time. I’ve got to be ready.”

Earlier on Friday. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters that the NBA was being inconsistent with how it ruled on plays like Alston, and he pointed to Rondo’s foul on Brad Miller as an example.

“I don’t care about that stuff,” Rivers said. “I really don’t.”

Rookie Courtney Lee is also expected to see some time tonight. He is wearing a protective mask to protect his broken nose that he suffered when he caught a wayward elbow from Howard in the Philly series.

Live from Orlando

05.08.09 at 5:32 pm ET
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I was in the cab for less than 30 seconds when the cabbie turned to me and said, “How come the Magic don’t get any respect?” Yup, Green Street hit the road and is live from the Amway Arena where everyone here wants to know why Orlando gets no love. They also want to know why it’s so freaking hot down here (apparently it’s not supped to be this warm until June.)

I suggested to the driver that if the Magic wanted some props they could get some by beating the champs. “Huh,” he said. “I don’t even respect them that much.” And there you have it.

We’ll be back with updates from the locker room, in-game and postgame analysis.

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Magic get backcourt help

05.08.09 at 2:02 pm ET
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The Orlando Magic suffered a blow when starting point guard Rafer Alston was suspended for Game 3 against the Boston Celtics following his actions against Eddie House. But their backcourt will have help, head coach Stan Van Gundy told the media after Friday’s shootaround. Shooting guard Courtney Lee, who has been out of the lineup with a fractured sinus, will be back in the available tonight. He will not start. Lee is averaging 8.4 points per game and shooting 45% FG in his rookie season.

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Alston suspended for Game 3

05.07.09 at 7:08 pm ET
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Orlando guard Rafer Alston has been suspended for Friday night’s game against the Celtics for an open-hand slap to the head of Eddie House following a House three-pointer late in the third quarter of Wednesday’s 112-94 Boston win in Game 2.

Alston said afterward that his slap was in retaliation for an elbow that House threw to his stomach after hitting the three-pointer. House was not suspended. Alston’s suspension was one of two handed out by the NBA on Thursday at Lakers guard Derek Fisher was suspended for Game 3 against the Rockets for his hit on Houston Luis Scola.

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Doc: Hold off on suspending Alston

05.07.09 at 2:45 pm ET
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WALTHAM – If you think that Celtics coach Doc Rivers thinks Orlando’s Rafer Alston should be suspended for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semis Friday night, think again.

While he believes Alston should be disciplined for the open-hand head slap that he gave Eddie House after his third three-pointer of the night, he doesn’t feel that Orlando should be put at a competitive disadvantage for Friday night’s game at Amway Arena.

“You can’t go around slapping people, otherwise all the players will no longer punch they’ll just start slapping,” Rivers began. “And if they say you can get away with it, they’ll just say, ‘I didn’t punch him, I just slapped him.’ I don’t believe in suspensions personally, I really don’t. I know that sounds nuts. I wish everyone got fined and suspended in the regular season. I really don’t like guys getting suspended during the playoffs.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, eddie house, Magic, Rafer Alston

Doc on Manny: That’s shocking and disappointing

05.07.09 at 2:04 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Celtics coach Doc Rivers is not just an NBA head coach, he is a huge sports fan. And when news broke Thursday that Manny Ramirez had been suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enchancing substance, he reacted just like a sports fan.

“It’s disappointing, it really is,” Rivers said before his team’s film session. “It’s the baseball whole thing and that’s obviously a part of it right now. I don’t know. That’s shocking and disappointing.”

But Rivers didn’t stop there. He battles with the issue much like every sports fan does, trying to weigh what matters to fans and what’s in the best interest of the sport. Read the rest of this entry »

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