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1st Half Summary: Celtics vs. Magic Game 5 05.26.10 at 9:53 pm ET
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The first half was what the Celtics feared all along coming into this Eastern Conference final series.

Down 3-0, the Magic looked ice cold from long range, couldn’t get Dwight Howard going and couldn’t start their patented fast break start with Howard blocking shots.

All three came to life in scary fashion in the first half as the Magic drilled 9-of-15 from 3-point range while Dwight Howard had five blocks and 10 points. J.J. Redick was huge again off the bench with a team-high 11.

All of it added up to a 57-49 Orlando lead at the break.

The last thing Doc Rivers and his defensive wizard Tom Thibodeau wanted the Eastern Conference finals to turn into was a three-for-all.

That’s exactly what happened in the first half, as the Magic raced out to a 14-point lead thanks to early foul trouble by the Celtics.

And worst of all, Kendrick Perkins was ejected by official Eddie F. Rush on a questionable call. It’s also his 7th of playoffs, which will disqualify him for a Game 6. Perkins picked up a foul on Dwight Howard with 36.1 seconds remaining in the second quarter. He was flabbergasted and ran away from Rush toward mid-court and Rush decided that it was behavior that deemed a second technical of the game, an automatic ejection.

Meanwhile Paul Pierce, with a game-high 16 in the first half, passed the 2,000-mark in career postseason points. The Celtics captain became the 9th player in franchise history to do it.

The eight others, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Sam Jones, Robert Parish, Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, and Bill Cousy, are all in the Hall of Fame.

Read More: Celtics, Dwight Howard, Magic, NBA playoffs
Ian Thomsen on D&H: Celtics will prevail 05.26.10 at 9:48 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated columnist Ian Thomsen appeared on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday afternoon to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics-Magic series, and the future for LeBron James.

When asked about any rift that may have existed between Rondo and his teammates, Thomsen said, “I think they like him now because he’s so darn good. They appreciate now the stubbornness and the pride he has, because he backs it up. I have a feeling a lot of whatever tension was there, it was all about basketball. And look, you don’t get to act like you’re this good until you show us you’re this good, and now he’s shown it and he’s getting paid the way they’re getting paid.”

Below is a transcript. To hear the full interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Do you think you jinxed the Celtics after putting Rajon Rondo on the cover?

When I told Doc last week that they looked like they were going to be on the cover he replied with a grimace, let’s put it that way. And then originally the story was supposed to be Jameer Nelson and [Rajon] Rondo, it was supposed to be about the matchup, but, you know, the Magic were stinking up the joint, so you couldn’t write about them.

It was all about Rondo, and I went up to Joel Glass [the PR guy for the Magic] after the last game in their locker room after they won, and I said, “Sorry, I obviously couldn’t get Jameer into the story.” He said, “That’s OK, just put Rondo on the cover,” and I said, “Well we are putting him on the cover,” and the guy was rejoiced and he was shouting to everybody in the locker room, “Hey they’re putting Rondo on the cover, they killed Shaq [O’Neal] two weeks ago and now we’re going to kill Rondo.” It’s supposed to be one of the great honors in sports, and it’s kind of like a double-edged sword. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Ian Thomsen, Magic, Rajon Rondo
Howard foul upgraded to Flagrant 05.26.10 at 7:03 pm ET
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ORLANDO — The NBA announced that they have upgraded a personal foul called on Dwight Howard from Game 4 to a Flagrant 1. The play occurred when Howard hit Kevin Garnett in the face. Garnett became angry and was hit with a technical foul.

“That’s their decision,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said prior to Game 5. “[Howard] got a rebound and pivoted.” Howard now has two points in the so-called Flagrant Foul bank. A third would lead to an automatic one-game suspension.

Not surprisingly, Doc Rivers had a different reaction. “I thought it was a flagrant,” he said. “The bottom line whenever you throw elbows above the head, it’s going to be called a flagrant. I didn’t think that surprising. I actually don’t like the suspension rule. The longer you’re in the playoffs the more likely it’s going to affect your team.”

Read More: Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett,
Rondo brushes off injury talk 05.26.10 at 6:30 pm ET
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ORLANDO — As he did after Game 4, Rajon Rondo dismissed talk that he was dealing with any kind of a serious injury. “I’m feeling better,” he said before the team’s shootaround. “I’m fine. Nothing to worry about. I’ll be playing.”

The team said that Rondo had a muscle spasm during Game 4, but Rondo refused to use that as an excuse after he scored just nine points, to go with eight assists, while Jameer Nelson scored 23 points in the Magic’s win. “I’ve just got to play better,” he said after the game.

The Magic used Nelson on a variation on their high pick and roll by having Rashard Lewis set a screen that led into another screen with Dwight Howard. Nelson repeatedly got into the lane against the Celtics and had nine assists. He also was able to get Howard several dunks on lobs once the defense committed.

The Celtics will have to come up with a counter to that for Game 5 and it will have to start with a healthy Rondo.

Read More: Jameer Nelson, Rajon Rondo,
NBA Finals set to begin on June 3 05.26.10 at 11:06 am ET
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After the Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to even their series at two games apiece, the NBA officially announced the NBA Finals schedule.

  • Thursday, June 3: Game 1, 9 p.m.
  • Sunday June 6: Game 2, 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 8: Game 3, 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 10: Game 4, 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 13: Game 5*, 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 15: Game 6*, 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 17: Game 7*, 9 p.m

* if necessary

Read More: Celtics, Lakers, NBA Finals,
A day for Celtics Game 5 success? 05.26.10 at 12:11 am ET
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On Wednesday, the Celtics will look to wrap up the Eastern Conference finals in Game 5 against the Magic in Orlando.

If they are able to do so, it would not be the first time a Celtics team has pulled off a significant Game 5 win on May 26.

On May 26, 1987, Larry Bird infamously stole an inbounds pass from Isiah Thomas and dished to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning basket against the Detroit Pistons in the Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Celtics went on the win the series in seven games before ultimately falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

(Click here for extended footage.)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Larry Bird,
Report: Hornets make formal offer to Thibodeau 05.25.10 at 10:53 pm ET
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ESPN.com’€™s Marc Stein has reported the New Orleans Hornets have made a formal offer to Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau for their head coaching position. But with the Celtics in the midst of the Eastern Conference Finals, a timetable for Thibodeau’€™s decision was unknown.

Thibodeau has been credited for the Celtics defensive success, which is holding opponents to just 90.4 points this postseason. The Hornets allowed nearly 103 points per game during the regular season, tied for 21st in the league. The C’s, on the other hand, were tied for fifth with 95.6 points allowed during the regular season.

According to the report, the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets are still considering Thibodeau for their head coaching vacancies as well.

Read More: Boston Celtics, New Orleans Hornets, Tom Thibodeau,
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