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A scout’s take on Orlando 05.04.09 at 1:32 pm ET
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Wondering what will work for the Celtics against the Magic and what won’t? We garnered the opinion of one scout who has seen both teams extensively to break-down what Orlando has to offer:

Rafer Alson
“He’s a really good three-point shooter so you you’re going to want to put the pressure on him because he’s not a great finisher when he drives. He will look to pass more than he looks to score when going to the hoop. I think (Rajon) Rondo can keep him under control. He isn’t Derrick Rose.”

Dwight Howard
“You have to limit his dunks. It sounds stupid, but you have to make him make offensive moves and score and not just give him dunks. I think you can attack him defensively because he is at his best when he is off the ball. That’s where he gets most of his blocks.”

Rashard Lewis
“He’s the key to the whole series. It’s going to be tough for Big Baby (Glen Davis) to guard him because he can stretch the floor. That’s where (Brian) Scalabrine comes in. He’s going to play a big role. You have to limit his three’s but he is also a tough match-up for the bigs, that’s why using (Kevin) Garnett on him was so valuable. I thought Philly did a good job on him with Thaddeus Young.”

Mickael Pietrus
“He’s a very good three-point shooter who can get into foul trouble. He could have trouble trying to guard (Paul) Pierce. He’s really been able to make that transition from starter in Golden State to a valuable guy off the bench who can post-up and drive.”

J.J. Redick
“A three-point shooter, that’s all he is. You can really attack him defensively. He’s terrible defensively.”

Marcin Gortat
“He comes in for Howard and supplies a lot of energy. He won’t hurt you with his shooting but he is good on the pick-and-roll, and gets garbage buckets. You just have to match his energy. He’s not a great shooter, and not a good post-up player, but he is a good rebounder. He’s one of the biggest reasons they beat Philly in that series’ last game.”

Anthony Johnson
“He’s a solid backup point guard who is a pretty good penetrator and can hit an open three. He isn’t, however, a very good defender.”

Courtney Lee
“Very good three-point shooter who will also take you off the dribble. He’s a really solid player. Bigger guards can post him up a bit.”

Hedo Turkoglu
“He’s just a very good player, and has done a good job with Pierce. Paul has some trouble guarding him because he has a very good first step and he’s a big guy who can shoot over you.”

KEY TO THE SERIES
“Two things: You have to limit the Magic’s three-point shooting, and limit the number of dunks by Howard. They aren’t going to move the ball like Chicago, but they will spread you out with guys outside and look for Howard inside.”

— ROB BRADFORD

Read More: Celtics, Orlando, Scout,
Celtics get ready for ‘different’ challenge at 1:07 pm ET
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WALTHAM -Everyone knows this will be a different challenge for the Boston Celtics.

From the style of play to the expectations, this series with the Orlando Magic figures to be a different set of circumstances altogether for the defending NBA champs.

Another thing that will be different right out of the gate will be the intensity level, at least for Game 1 tonight at the Garden. Just ask Kendrick Perkins.

“It’s hard because you try to keep the same focus or you try to approach the game like you did in Game 7,” said the Celtics center in charge of managing Dwight Howard when he’s in the game. “I don’t care what you say, Game 7 is way different from a Game 1 because you know you have another day. With a Game 7, you know if you lose, you go home. The approach to the game is different, the intensity level is different so you just try to keep the same focus.”

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Magic, NBA playoffs
Celtics cram for Magic at 12:40 pm ET
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WALTHAM – The Celtics have all the excuses working for them tonight but their coach wants to make sure they don’t need them.

After a seven-game series against Chicago that left them tired and exhausted, they had exactly one day of rest (Sunday) before opening their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Orlando Magic tonight at TD Banknorth Garden.

The satisfaction of surviving the Bulls had not yet dissipated on Saturday night when the players got in their vehicles and found the scouting report book on the Magic waiting for them, courtesy head coach Doc Rivers and the coaching staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Magic, NBA playoffs,
Perk on Howard: He’s the only guy that rebounds at 12:24 pm ET
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WALTHAM –Kendrick Perkins knows the mission before him as the Celtics get ready to take on the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series tonight at TD Banknorth Garden.

Make life tough on NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. And don’t get caught up in the stat sheet if Howard is putting up video game numbers, especially in the rebounding column.

“He has to work for it, 20 and 20,” Perkins said at this morning’s shootaround at the team’s practice facility. “You know one thing, he’s going to grab every (rebound). He’s the only guy that rebounds on their team. So, he’s going to grab all the defensive rebounds. He may grab 15 to 17 defensive rebounds so you can’t get caught up in that. If you can make 20 points on 20 attempts, that’s pretty good.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Dwight Howard, Kendrick Perkins, Magic
A ‘completely extraordinary’ series 05.03.09 at 1:32 am ET
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Ray Allen has a way with words, even after it seemed every superlative had been used to describe the seven-game marathon struggle that finally ended Saturday night with a 109-99 Celtics win over the Bulls in Game 7 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

“Completely extraordinary,” Allen said. “I’ve had friends all over the world watch this series and people just commenting on how nerve-wracking this series was, how entertained they were, how excited they were to watch us play and how devastated they were in the losses.”

Before the game, Allen was asked how either team could summon the energy for a Game 7 after a record four of the seven games went to overtime.

“I just think the people watching it are more fatigued than we are playing it,” Allen said. “I’m looking up at people in the stands in Chicago and they’re tired and ready to go home. For anybody watching at home, you can’t take your eyes off the TV, people are up late at night.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, eddie house, NBA playoffs
Game 7: Third quarter update 05.02.09 at 10:12 pm ET
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After the Celtics rolled at the end of the first half, you knew the Bulls would come out with everything they had in the third. The Celtics were able to absorb the Bulls charge for the most part and take a 78-71 lead into the third quarter.

Things got a little heated as Rajon Rondo was fouled hard twice. First by Joakim Noah and then by Brad Miller who topped it off with a little shove. Neither play was ruled a Flagrant foul. For his part, Rondo picked up a technical foul after a timeout.

The Bulls are shooting just 41 percent but are staying in the game at the free throw line where they made all 10 of their free throws in the quarter and are 23-for-27 for the game.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Kendrick Perkins has four fouls. Rondo, Big Baby Davis and Brian Scalabrine have three fouls. For the Bulls, Miller has four fouls. John Salmons and Derrick Rose each have three.

The question we have before us is simple. Will this be the last 12 minutes of this series or will be go to overtime for the fifth time?

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Game 7,
Game 7: The return of the bench at 9:30 pm ET
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So, who had the Celtics bench in the X-factor pool? In the first half the much-maligned reserve unit shot 6-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-5 from 3-point range to score 18 points and completely turn the game around with their defensive energy, particularly from Stephon Marbury and Eddie House.

House picked up three steals and Marbury dogged Derrick Rose into having a scoreless quarter. The Bulls bench, namely Brad Miller and Kirk Hinrich missed all five of their shots from the floor and have not been a factor.

Even Mikki Moore contributed with a timely charge, four points and two rebounds. The Bulls were 3-for-14 from the floor in the second quarter and that had a lot to do with the defensive effort from the second unit.

Read More: Bench, Bulls, Celtics,
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