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Celtics-Magic Game Blog: First Quarter

03.08.09 at 12:07 pm ET

We are live from the Garden for this afternoon’s game between the Celtics and Magic. The big news today is that Rajon Rondo is out and will be replaced in the starting lineup by Stephon Marbury. While it’s an obvious opportunity for Marbury, it might be a chance for Gabe Pruitt to get some run and get himself back on the map.

There’s a whole lot of subplots happening today and we’ll be here for all of them.

FIRST QUARTER WRAP: Bad quarter for the Celtics. It’s no secret that NBA players dislike afternoon games, especially after losing an hour of sleep. But 15 points and nine turnovers might qualify as the worst quarter they’ve played all year. Fortunately for them they are only down seven, 22-15, but they are going to need an energy injection from the bench.

First Quarter Observations

— I wonder if you had told Doc Rivers back in November that for a March game with the Magic that would go a long way toward deciding playoff seeding that he would be starting Big Baby Davis and Marbury; what he would say? On the one hand it’s a good chance for Marbury to get some action with the first unit, on the other hand the first unit isn’t exactly the first unit.

— Dwight Howard’s been working on that hook shot. Like all players he’s going to have make the adjustment for when he can no longer fly over everyone and just overpower people on his way to the basket. It is clearly still a work in progress.

— Speaking of Howard, Kendrick Perkins has done a fine job defending him this year, but the matchup to watch today is Big Baby on Rashard Lewis. The C’s usually put Kevin Garnett on Lewis and he’s one of the few bigs who can with Lewis on the perimeter.

— Too much dribbling, not enough ball movement for the Celtics.

— That was a quick glimpse of what Marbury brings to the table. There was no play. The options had broken down, but Marbury was able to get to the basket and not only score, he also got contact from Howard which resulted in his second foul. It’s impossible to judge Marbury on the floor until he gets his legs under him and he learns some semblance of the offense, but that’s what they were looking for when they brought him here.

— The Celtics have seven turnovers in seven and a half minutes. It doesn’t take Hubie Brown to tell you that’s way too many.

— Two points, no assists and two turnovers for Marbury in his first nine minutes. Again, it’s unfair to judge him yet, but not unfair to point out that he has a long way to go.

Ray Allen has been the Celtics best player on offense and it’s not even close. He’s the only one getting to the basket and going aggressively once he turns the corner. The driving lanes are there to be had, especially with Howard out of the game.

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