Celtics savor shot at Magical redemption
|11.19.09 at 10:26 pm ET|
WALTHAM – When last the Celtics saw the Orlando Magic, Kevin Garnett walked out of TD Garden one ticke- off man.
He had to watch from the bench as his teammates lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I was [ticked] off. Really just [ticked] off,” Garnett admitted following Thursday’s practice.
“I’m not a miserable person,” Garnett continued. “I’m just looking forward to playing them. Obviously, they’re considered one of the best teams. I’m sure we’re going to rate ourselves and grade ourselves on that and try to play better. We’re a team that’s trying to get better so it should be a fun game.”
The Magic are tied with the Celtics with a 9-3, just behind Atlanta for early-season supremacy in the East.
“It’ll be nice to get to play them,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “They’re the team everyone is chasing in the East. They won the championship of the East last year. As far as we’re concerned, they’re the favorite, Cleveland’s the second favorite and we’re the third, based on the results of last year. It’ll be good to see where we’re at.”
This time, when the Celtics take the court, they’ll be prepared for a Magic team that has lost Game 7 villain Hedo Turkoglu but has gained a dose of Vinsanity as Vince Carter has taken over as the number one perimeter scoring option. But the Celtics made the bigger changes in the off-season, adding Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels to help match up with Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard.
“I think Kevin brings a dimension, too,” Rivers said with a laugh. “Both of them bring a size and better post play,defensively and offensively. Then Rasheed has the ability, when he and Kevin are in there together, to give us one on the post and one to spread the floor. That’s a great dimension for us, and it gives us another length guy to defend Howard.”
Don’t forget Kendrick Perkins. He, maybe more than any other, holds the key for the Celtics because with Wallace and Daniels added to the mix, along with a healthy KG, Perkins can focus on one thing – banging down low with Dwight Howard, making Superman stays in the booth in the post.
“This is going to be a good test for us,” Perkins said. “I think with the 3-point shooters they’ve got, with the inside presence they’ve got, it’s just another playoff team that we might have to go through to get where we want to go. So, I think it’s going to be a great test.
“They’ve got more experience,” Perkins added. “We’ll see late in the season how teams are playing. It’s early right now. A lot of teams are playing well. You’ve got Atlanta playing well, Milwaukee’s play well. Chicago’s playing well, so it’s hard to say right now. Miami’s even playing well, so you just never know.”