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Celtics-Magic Game Blog: Third Quarter

12.01.08 at 6:52 pm ET

Interesting first half as Magic coach Stan Van Gundy solved his backcourt problem by essentially playing 6-10 Rashard Lewis at shooting guard. Lewis is a tough cover under normal circumstances, but with Paul Pierce on the bench with three fouls, the Celtics had to leave Tony Allen on Lewis, and Lewis took advantage to score 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter.

For their part the Celtics old issue of turnovers continues to be a problem. They had nine in the first half, which was the only real negative offensively after shooting 54 percent. Defensively the Celtics have to stay active on the boards. Orlando picked up 11 second-chance points on nine offensive rebounds–Dwight Howard and Tony Battie had three apiece.

Onward with the Celtics leading 48-46…

THIRD QUARTER WRAP: So, with the starters playing big minutes, the Celtics pushed the lead back to a dozen, 77-65. Paul Pierce was ridiculous, scoring 17 points in the quarter, while helping hold Rashard Lewis to a mere two points. The game now is on the bench. Hold the lead and limit the starters minutes. That’s the job.

— If Kendrick Perkins would simply make an aggressive move, instead of putting the ball on the floor, he’d score an extra 4-6 points a game.

Dwight Howard mentioned before the game that Celtics assistant Clifford Ray referred to him as “Rome” as in “wasn’t built in a day.” As in, 10 foot jump shots are not part of his arsenal just yet.

JJ Redick got called for a walk. Safe to say he got that call at Cameron Indoor.

— It’s kind of amazing how this game has ebbed and flowed. The Celtics were at their awesome best in the first quarter, but were out of sorts in the second. Now they’re awesome again. I suspect a lot of that has to do with Pierce who has been red-hot in the second half after missing most of the second quarter with foul trouble. Wondering how long it will take for Van Gundy to go big again, and if having Pierce on the floor will make a difference.

— That’s four on Perkins, which forces Doc’s hand a bit. Looks like Perk’s staying in for now.

— The Celtics starters are 23-for-37, by the way.

— Perk’s out for Big Baby and Battie is in to play with Howard, but the Magic are still conventional in the backcourt.

— Van Gundy is calling timeouts like a college coach tonight. He’s only played seven, so maybe he’s trying to conserve energy for a fourth quarter push.

— Only one turnover by the Celtics in the third quarter so far. (Crowd note: Lenny Clarke is here tonight. We’ve been short on celebs so far this season, and no, Red Sox and Patriots’ players don’t really count).

— Four of the five starters are in double figures after Kevin Garnett drained that fallaway.

Speaking of KG, I think it’s safe to say that he has toned down some of his, shall we call it, exuberance since getting suspended. I’m still of the opinion that the majority of his get-hyped stuff is real, raw emotion, and what’s more, the fans eat it up. It’s a show, after all. But if that NY Daily News report was to be believed, and there’s no reason to think that it shouldn’t have been, it was clearly going to be a distraction and if there’s one thing KG abhors, it’s distractions

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