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NBA rescinds Perkins technical 05.27.10 at 1:04 pm ET
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The Celtics and Kendrick Perkins received a reprieve from the NBA Thursday when the league rescinded one of the two technical fouls Perkins received in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, clearing Perkins to play in Game 6 on Friday.

Perkins and Marcin Gortat earned double-technicals early in the game and then Perkins was hit with a second one by official Eddie F. Rush with 36 seconds left in the half. Perkins was ejected after the second T, his seventh of the postseason, which triggered an automatic one-game suspension.

The league does review every technical foul that is called and they decided to rescind the second technical foul. Perkins still has six technicals against his name and would still be in danger of a suspension if he is hit with another one during the postseason.

In an eerie bit of foreshadowing, Doc Rivers spoke about the problems his team had with getting technicals, particularly Perkins, some two hours before it happened on the court.

‘€œI actually don’€™t like the rule, the suspension,” Rivers said. “I just don’€™t like it. I think the longer you are in the playoffs the more likely it’€™s going to affect your team. I think the fans want to see the best players on the floor. I just don’€™t agree with the whole suspension thing.’€

Part of the problem, Rivers believes, lies in the process of issuing double technical fouls to players, a tactic used by officials to try to calm things down.

‘€œIt’€™s the double tech thing that has to be resolved,’€ Rivers said. ‘€œSometimes the officials are just trying to clean the game up and an easy way to do it is give both guys techs and calm the game down. To me, those are the ones that we have to figure out a better way.’€

The league also upgraded a personal foul on Paul Pierce to a Flagrant 1 after Pierce shoved J.J. Redick in the back in the fourth quarter. The NBA announced before Game 5 that they had upgraded fouls from Game 4 on Orlando’s Dwight Howard and Matt Barnes to Flagrant 1 status as well.

Players are assessed points for flagrant fouls (one point for a Flagrant 1 and two points for a Flagrant 2). If they hit three points, they are also subject to an automatic one-game suspension. Howard has two Flagrant Foul points.

Read More: Dwight Howard, Kendrick Perkins, Matt Barnes, Paul Pierce
The trouble with Dwight at 2:31 am ET
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ORLANDO — Dwight Howard has been causing the Celtics major problems throughout the series and not just with his defense and rebounding. His elbows have also become cause for concern, specifically the elbow the knocked out Glen Davis in the third quarter of Game 5.

“Yeah, I didn’t know that was legal, but anyway, he did,” Doc Rivers said. “But listen, he’s a physical guy. We know that and he should be. That is his gift. Honestly, that is his gift. So he’s doing what he should do and we’ve just got to do a better job of taking the hits, I guess.”

A foul by Howard against Kevin Garnett in Game 4 was upgraded to a Flagrant 1, the league announced prior to the start of Game 5. In the aftermath, Garmett was hit with a technical foul in a game the Celtics lost in overtime.

Earlier in Game 5, Howard shoved Garnett in the back but there was no call. Rivers was seen having an animated conversation with official Joey Crawford during the next timeout and there is no question that Howard’s physical play has been a source of frustration for the Celtics throughout the series.

“We’re just trying to win,” Howard said. “Our intent is not hurt anybody out there, but basketball is a very physical sport. You’re playing against a very physical and tough team in the Boston Celtics.”

Read More: Dwight Howard,
Three things that went wrong and right in Game 5 05.26.10 at 11:34 pm ET
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The Celtics knew they had to overcome the Magic’€™s pick-and-roll in order to win the series. But after a disastrous Game 5 loss,  they have added a possible suspension, two concussions, and failed perimeter defense to the list.

In a snapshot: Kendrick Perkins was ejected after being whistled for a pair of technical fouls and could be suspended, Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels suffered concussions, and the Magic drained nearly 15 3-pointers.

The Celtics, who were on the verge of sweeping just days ago, are headed back to Boston after dropping two straight to the Magic.

Three things what went wrong (and they went so, so wrong)

Possible suspension for Perk: Kendrick Perkins was whistled for two technical fouls in the first half, resulting in an automatic ejection. The bigger problem is he was called for his seventh T of the postseason, an automatic one-game suspension. However, since the league does review technical fouls, one or both could be rescinded and Perkins could play on Friday night in Game 6.

Magic struck first: The Celtics have maintained the entire postseason that the key to winning on the road is striking first. But by the end of the first quarter, their initial 5-0 lead was a distant memory. The Celtics were outscored 31-22 from that point on, giving up 15 points from behind the arc. All of the Magic starters scored at least three points, while Kevin Garnett did not attempt a single field goal. The Magic fought for their shots, outrebounding the Celtics 12-7, and was more efficient at finding the open man (7-4 assists). The C’€™s allowed the Magic — and their home crowd — into the game early and were never able to kick them out.

Perimeter D disappears: The C’€™s knew what they were up against at the start of the series. ‘€œTheir shooting is what has always given us problems,’€ said Ray Allen. ‘€œTheir 3-pointer, we’€™ve got to take that away from them.’€ Tony Allen echoed, ‘€œConsidering they’€™re a team that shoots a gang of 3’s feeding off of Dwight Howard who’€™s very dominant in the post, we’€™re going to have to be ready. No if, ands and no buts.’€ The Celtics were ready in the first four games, holding the Magic to just 31 percent from 3-point range. But their perimeter defense imploded in Game 5. The Magic scored 39 points from long-range off of 52 percent shooting.

Three things that went right (well, not so bad)

Rondo bounced back: Questions of injuries buzzed around Rajon Rondo following a poor performance in Game 4. But whether it was muscle spasms or just an off night, Rondo was more effective offensively in Game 5. He scored 19 points, 10 more than in the previous game in six less minutes. It wasn’€™t his finest showing of the playoffs, but it showed he is back on the right track.

Robinson was reliable: Doc Rivers has said Nate Robinson will win the Celtics a playoff game. Robinson didn’€™t pull off the feat, but he was effective. With Rondo in foul trouble and Tony Allen benched for most of the game with a twisted ankle, Rivers turned to Robinson in the second half. He defended the point well, scored five points in six minutes, and even blocked Dwight Howard’€™s shot.

Celtics are going home: The Celtics didn’€™t want to have to play a Game 6 in Boston (they didn’€™t want to play a Game 5 in Orlando in the first place), but they are returning to their homecourt as they look to finish things up. The C’€™s are 6-2 at TD Garden during the postseason. Records aside, they have to take advantage of the energy the Celtics home crowd is sure to provide on Friday night.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Kendrick Perkins, Orlando Magic
1st Half Summary: Celtics vs. Magic Game 5 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
Howard foul upgraded to Flagrant 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 front and center on Sports Illustrated 05.25.10 at 10:06 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo is featured on the cover of this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, which hit newsstands on Tuesday.

(For those worried about an SI cover jinx, yes the magazine came out a day after Rondo suffered muscle spasms during the Celtics Game 4 overtime loss to the Magic, but his stat line actually fared worse in Game 1.)

Cover superstitions aside, Rondo is ready to bounce back on Wednesday as the Celtics look to wrap up the series against the Magic in Orlando, where they have already won two games.

“We didn’t get to close out, but we gotta move on to Game 5,” he said following Game 4. “We gave them confidence, now we’ve got to try to take it back away. They’re pretty confident at home, so we’ve got to get off to a good start on the road.”

Rondo isn’t the only player in the Eastern Conference Finals to be featured by Sports Illustrated with “Celtics” across his chest. Click here to see which member of the Magic once wore green.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic, Rajon Rondo
Five Reasons Why The Celtics Won Game 3 05.22.10 at 11:19 pm ET
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The Celtics are just a win away from the NBA Finals following a 94-71 win over the Magic on Saturday night, a victory that was exactly as close as the score revealed. The Magic never led in the contest, and the Celtics held a double-digit lead during the final 39 minutes of the game. Glen Davis led the Celtics with 17 points off the bench and Paul Pierce added 15. Rajon Rondo had 11 points and 12 assists for the winners. The defense has been the calling card of this team and it continued in Game 3, as the C’s held the Magic to 36.9 percent shooting.

Five Reasons

GREAT START:

Before tipoff, the formula for a Celtics victory on Saturday seemed simple. Hang in during the inevitable fast start from a Magic team that was playing for its postseason life and eventually wear down Orlando with defense and toughness. Turns out the group that played with desperation right from the start was the team up 2-0, and the defense and toughness never slowed down.

The Celtics led 27-12 after the first quarter, holding the Magic to just 23.5 percent shooting. The Magic’s three stars — Dwight Howard, Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis — scored a total of three points on 1-of-11 shooting in the quarter. The Celtics jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back, taking a 21-6 lead (following a 14-0 run) to, incredibly, basically put this game away. The opening 12 minutes told you all you need to know about both teams. One played with heart, urgency and smarts and the other played as if they were finishing up a home-and-home series with Memphis in February.

RONDO DOES HIS BEST LARRY LEGEND:

THE play of the series, without question, came in the second quarter when Rondo dove for a loose ball at the Magic foul line, taking the ball from Jason Williams (who, it appeared, didn’t feel much like hitting the floor). Rondo then got up, put a wicked cross-over on Williams and banked in a layup. Williams, it should be noted, put exactly the same amount of effort trying to defend Rondo as he did trying to get the loose ball. That kind of play by Rondo works perfectly when you need an example to show why one team is totally dominating the other in a series where the talent level doesn’t seem that different (though that can now be debated).

GLEN DAVIS:

Through three games in this series, Rashard Lewis ($110 million) has scored a total of 15 points in 111 minutes played. That is two fewer points than Big Baby (two years, $6.3 million) scored in his 23:15 on the floor in Game 3. Davis also took nine free throw attempts in Game 3, one more than the entire Orlando starting five combined. And unlike Game 2, where he had trouble matching up with Howard physically, Davis did an expert job on the post defensively.

DWIGHT HOWARD: NON-FACTOR

Howard’s line in the most important game of his season: 3-of-10 from the floor, 1-of-4 from the free throw line, a plus/minus rating of -29 (worst of any player on the Magic in a game they lost by 23 points). Credit Perkins, Davis, Rasheed Wallace and the game plan but Howard has to take a hit. If you are going to be thought of as a truly great player that kind of effort cannot happen in a must win. Shades of LeBron in Game 5.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL:

This stat will probably be lost in all the postgame “What’s wrong with the Magic?/Are the Celtics better than 2008?” stuff, but maybe the biggest reason this was never a competitive game was the assist-to-turnover ratios of the teams. The Celtics finished with 23 assists and just eight turnovers, compared to a ghastly 10-17 mark for the Magic. Rondo, in fact, finished with two more assists than the Magic team.

Read More: Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Orlando Magic, Paul Pierce
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