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Bench blues

It was the unit that carried them time after time in this playoff run.

But on Sunday night, the Celtics [1]‘ bench looked like the regulars — drained and empty at the end.

Eddie House [2], Brian Scalabrine [3] and Stephon Marbury [4] combined for three field goals in 12 attempts, totaling eight points.

“Yes, did we struggle off the bench? Yes,” Scalabrine said. “I don’t know if it’s like you count on us. It’s like, once again, I always keep saying, the guys who make plays for us, they make plays for us and it’s our job to just knock shots down.”

On a night when it looked like Paul Pierce [5], Glen Davis [6] and Rajon Rondo [7] had hit the wall collectively, the bench needed to be there.

It wasn’t. The Magic bench outscored the Celtics reserves, 25-12, with Mickael Pietrus [8] playing the role of Eddie House on this night. Pietrus was the one draining key three-pointers, all three of his attempts were good. He finished 6-for-7 from the field in 24 minutes and gave the Magic the something extra that was missing in the Game 5 meltdown.

And whether you ask Celtics coach Doc Rivers [9] or Scalabrine, when the shots don’t fall, there is no energy. Remember Game 7 against the Bulls? Scalabrine made all five of his field goal attempts, including 4-for-4 from three-point range leading a late charge that helped the Celtics pull away, 109-99.

Think back to Game 2 when House drained 11-of-14 shots and another 4-for-4 from three-point land en route to a 31-point performance and a Celtics

Sunday night, House was guarded like an NBA first-team guard and held to just three ATTEMPTS the whole night. He finished with two points in 17 minutes.

“I give Eddie a lot of credit. They guard him like they guard Ray Allen [10]. They don’t leave him and anything he gets he has to really work for it,” Scalabrine said. “Myself, I’ve got to knock down open shots. And that’s what happened. That’s why we lost the game.”

Early on, when Rondo was struggling, Doc Rivers went to Stephon Marbury to spell him. And early on, it worked as the Celtics responded by cutting a 14-point Magic lead down to four. And when Rondo continued to battle late in the third quarter, it was Marbury again who saw significant minutes. But not even Marbury could carry the Celtics on this night.

“In the first, I think I brought some energy, we brought some energy off the bench,” said Marbury, who was just 1-for-4 and finished with two points in 14 minutes. “I don’t necessarily think it was that. We just collectively as a group, we didn’t have a good game. They played a better game than us.”