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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 at 9:48 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo Sports Illustrated Cover

Rajon Rondo graces the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated.

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
NBA Finals set to begin on June 3 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,
Pierce: ‘We can still take care of business’ 05.25.10 at 1:18 am ET
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Paul Pierce knew exactly what was at stake Monday night when he dribbled and then lost the ball at the end of regulation.

It was a chance, with the game tied at 86-86, to make one more shot and put away the Magic in four straight games and advance to the NBA Finals. But instead he lost the ball and the Magic were able to stay alive in overtime, outscoring Boston, 10-6 and win 96-92 to force Game 5 Wednesday night in Orlando.

The Magic still trail 3-1 but all of sudden, with two of the next potential three games on Orlando’s home court, the perspective of the series has changed, if only slightly.

“They’re a great team. We’re not going to take them for granted so Game 5 is going to be a tough one on their floor,” Pierce said. “We didn’t want to go back on their floor to play but it is what it is but we’ve got to get another win in their building. That’s the goal.

“We really don’t want to come back here for Game 6. The sense of urgency is going to be there when we get on the road so hopefully, we can take care of business.”

Pierce also took responsibility for the final play of regulation that resulted in no shot for the Celtics and allowed the Magic to survive to overtime.

Pierce had the ball in his hands and was supposed to run a play that called for a pick and roll with Ray Allen but Pierce never got the ball to Allen and Jameer Nelson knocked it away and as time expired.

“We didn’t want to call a time out,” Pierce said the Celtics’ decision to forego a timeout. “It was a pick and roll, me and Ray Allen and I pretty much screwed it up, turned the ball over. That’s all it is, couldn’t get the final shot. Sometimes it happens that way. That’s no excuse and we still had opportunities in overtime and we didn’t take advantage.”

Pierce still finished with a team-high 32 points in over 46 minutes of action.

“[It was] definitely a tough loss,” Pierce said. “You fight so hard to get back in the game and all the ties. I just think the little things hurt us. I thought we really pressed too much, each of us wanted to do it. We weren’t doing the things that got us the 3-0 lead. We kind of felt we was pressing to get the win. They’re a good team and they’re not going to lay down and we can expect them to so gotta move on to Game 5.

“At the end of the day, even though we struggled to get some momentum offensively it still doesn’t, we still didn’t play any defense down the stretch. We gave them a three, offensive rebounds and sent them to the line there in the 4th quarter and overtime. Those type of things hurt when you’re trying to come back. But we made our bed, we gotta lay in and move on.”

Read More: Celtics, Eastern Conference finals, Magic, Paul Pierce
SVG: Celtics weren’t playing possum 05.24.10 at 10:27 pm ET
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Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said anyone who thought the Celtics were holding back during the regular season just because they won only 50 games is terribly mistaken.

“I think that’s a bunch of crap,” Van Gundy said. “I think they had injuries, period. I don’t think they were holding anything back. Kevin Garnett had a serious knee injury that takes a lot of time to get back to full strength. When we were at the All Star Game, at that point, I didn’t either Garnett or Pierce were at full speed or looked healthy, still. I thought Kevin was still having trouble with mobility in that leg and Paul’s foot was bothering him. Injuries mean a lot.”

Van Gundy saw both Garnett and Paul Pierce during the All Star break in Arlington, Texas. He said he knew at the time, the Celtics weren’t at full strength. The Celtics finished fourth in the East with a 50-32 record, behind Cleveland, Orlando and Atlanta.

“They weren’t 41-41 were they? The way everybody talked about them they exploded out of the blue after winning 41 games,” Van Gundy added. “Didn’t they win 50 games? Fifty games is a hell of a season, and those guys weren’t healthy. I don’t they were out there saying, ‘Let’s hold it back.’ I think that’s ridiculous and I think it’s insulting to them, quite honestly.”

Doc Rivers knows a thing or two about getting shown the door. He was dismissed early in the 2004 season following a 1-10 start in Orlando after earning coach of the year honors in 2000. He has watched as Mike Brown won 60-plus games in back-to-back seasons and led his team to the NBA Finals in the year before.

“I don’t know what you have to do to keep your job,” said a perplexed Rivers.

Read More: Celtics, Magic, NBA playoffs, playing possum
1st half summary: Celtics vs. Magic Game 4 at 9:53 pm ET
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The Orlando Magic came to play Monday night in Game 4 after being embarrassed in Game 3 and made a point of showing it early on.

They took a 51-47 lead at halftime over the Celtics, amazingly their first such lead after 24 minutes in the series so far.

Orlando, which shot 61.5 percent in the first quarter, built their largest lead of the game at 10 points, 42-32, with 5:47 left in the second quarter.

The Magic were led by Dwight Howard, with 17 points and six rebounds.

Paul Pierce led all scorers with 19 and was red-hot from the field, making 6-of-8 shots from the field while Kevin Garnett added 10 points and eight rebounds.

The other thing to keep a close eye on in the second half is the condition of Rajon Rondo, who left with a minute to go with trainer Bryan Doo to treat muscle spasms in his right leg.

Read More: Celtics, game 4, Magic, NBA playoffs
Magic questions will be answered at 8:12 pm ET
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Throughout the Eastern Conference finals the Magic have seemed to be a step behind the moment. Game 1 came and went and the Magic seemed unprepared for the Celtics physical play. Then down 2-0 Orlando was run off the court early by the Celtics and never recovered.

Now that it’s literally a must-win game for Orlando, Stan Van Gundy was asked if he would know if his team was ready early in the game.

“I don’t even think that’s the real question,” Van Gundy said prior to Game 4.  “I think the question will come, whether it’s early or later on in the game, the question comes whenever you get hit, especially when you’re in this situation.”

The Magic didn’t react well to that Celtics punch in Game 3 and Orlando has faced criticism that they laid down with their season on the line. Doc Rivers wasn’t going near that one.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ve always said keep your own bedroom clean, let everyone else clean their own. It would be great if it was us because that would mean that we’re playing well, but I can’t answer that.”

Things can change fast in this league. Take the Celtics who spent most of the regular season answering those types of questions. Now they are an efficient, focused machine. It was only a week ago when people were saying the same thing about the Magic.

Read More: Celtics, Magic,
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