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Game 2: Third quarter update 05.06.09 at 10:03 pm ET
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And now for some defense. Having blitzed Orlando with a red hot first half in which they built a 16-point lead, the Celtics lead is up to 86-64 after holding the Magic to just 5-for-15 shooting in the third.

The fireworks came late in the quarter after Eddie House dropped a 3-pointer on Rafer Alston and Alston whacked House in the back of the head. The two squared off and were assessed double technical fouls. It was clear the officials didn’t see the play as it developed, but they reviewed it after the quarter and let the call stand.

The Celtics are doing all this despite Paul Pierce playing just 10 minute due to foul trouble. No matter. House picked up the slack for the captain, scoring 11 points and making all five of his shots. He’s 9-of-10 for the game.

Lost in all that was Rajon Rondo recording another triple double. He capped it off with a thunderous dunk right through the heart of the Magic defense. The Celtics have 12 minutes to finish off the split.

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Game 2 update: First quarter at 8:34 pm ET
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In a complete role-reversal the Celtics have come out and taken it to Orlando in the opening quarter with a 26-21 lead. Rajon Rondo racked up eight points, there rebounds and four assists, while Ray Allen scored eight points to go with five rebounds and Kendrick Perkins–who has more than held his own against Dwight Howard–has five points and five boards. The only downside for the Celtics is Paul Pierce who picked up two quick fouls and also banged knees with Hedo Turkoglu. He was limping noticeably while he was on the court.

The Magic are being bailed out by J.J. Redick. Yes, that J.J. Redick who drained three 3-pointers and scored 11 points. Rashard Lewis, meanwhile, is just 1-for-4 from the floor and Orlando is shooting 32 percent.

There were two interesting subs by Doc Rivers. First, he brought in Brian Scalabrine for Big Baby Davis just two minutes into the quarter. Davis appeared unhappy with the move and he and Rivers had a 15-second chat on the sideline when he cane out. The other sub was when Doc called on Stephon Marbury to replace Pierce. That forced the Magic to guard three guards (hello, Chicago) and forced Turkoglu to chase Marbury around.

Also: McLovin is in the house. Repeat: McLovin is in the house.

Read More: Celtics, Game 2, Magic,
Van Gundy: Vermont to Lowell to the NBA at 7:47 pm ET
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Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has been criticized by some players for being too uptight on the bench during NBA.

He was anything but just 90 minutes before Game 2 of his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Celtics on Wednesday night at TD Banknorth Garden.

Van Gundy reflected on his first head coaching job, a Division 3 gig with Castleton State in Vermont, just two years out of the University of Vermont. He would move onto UMass-Lowell, where he coached for four years, and had the privilege of mentoring Leo Parent, the Division 2 player of the year in 1988.

“Leo Parent was the best Division 2 player in the nation,” Van Gundy said. “Even though it was tough at times, he could carry a team for his level, he was maybe the best player I’ve ever coach relative to the level he was playing on. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Leo Parent, Magic, UMass-Lowell
Getting ready for Game 2 at 10:40 am ET
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Doc Rivers told the press yesterday that the Celtics Game 1 comeback was fool’s gold, and somewhere Stan Van Gundy is probably saying roughly the same thing to his Magic team about their 28-point lead. Moral victories are for Little League. All we know from Monday is that Orlando got its win and the Celtics have to get one back tonight.

But there are a few left-over pieces from Monday that have been the talk of the town, so let’s dive in.

1. Should Brian Scalabrine start?

Short answer, no. You’ve heard this a thousand times before, but it’s not who starts it’s who finishes in the NBA. Also the fact that Scalabrine can spell Paul Pierce, Big Baby Davis or even Kendrick Perkins in a pinch makes him much more valuable coming off the bench.

The Celtics have a tough matchup with Rashard Lewis. They know it. Lewis knows it. Even the dude behind the basket with the chicken on his head knows it. Scalabrine did a good job in the second half by “doing his dirty work early,” as he said. And by that he meant keeping Lewis from his preferred spot on the floor before he gets the ball. Scal will play. He’ll probably play a lot, but his versatility makes him a better option coming in off the bench.

2. What’s up with Ray Allen?

Not much. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the defensive scheme, and the Magic paid a lot of attention to the Celtics perimeter shooters. ESPN’s David Thorpe nicely captures a moment when J.J. Redick raced to find Eddie House after the Celtics grabbed an offensive board before the ball could be swung back to House.

Allen said after the game that he didn’t get a lot of rhythm shots, which had a lot to do with Orlando’s defense. Look for the Celtics to run him off the usual double screens and work extra hard to get him some space.

3. Will Rajon Rondo attack?

He has to. All the Celtics have to. One of two things will happen when they drive hard to the basket and encounter Dwight Howard. He will either send their shot into the third row or he’ll get in foul trouble.

The Celtics took 26 free throws in Game 1 and all of them came in the second half. It wasn’t the officiating either, as Rivers noted after the game. They were much more aggressive in the final 24 minutes, and if there is a carryover from the comeback it should be the knowledge that they won’t beat the Magic taking jump shots.

4. Will McLovin make an appearance?

I honestly don’t know, but if you haven’t seen this photo yet on Ball Don’t Lie, you’re missing out.

Read More: Celtics, Game 2, Magic,
Captain’s Musings 05.05.09 at 9:28 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Paul Pierce, as captain of the defending NBA champions, knows full well that he is the best spokesman for the team after head coach Doc Rivers.

And he didn’t disappoint on Tuesday as the media converged on the Celtics practice facility in search of answers to how and why the wheels fell off on Monday night, at least in the second and third quarters.

“It’s just all about our energy and effort,” Pierce said, repeating what Rivers has been saying since Game 1 went into the books for Orlando. “We went into halftime and we really didn’t change anything. We didn’t alter our gameplan, we just everything we were supposed to do a little bit harder. That’s what got us back in the game.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Magic, NBA playoffs, Paul Pierce
Comeback just fool’s gold at 3:29 pm ET
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WALTHAM – Down 28 points midway through the third quarter, the Celtics nearly completed the biggest comeback in their great playoff history on Monday night.

But to coach Doc Rivers, that provided no consolation. And he made that much very clear at practice on Tuesday at the team’s practice facility, one day after dropping Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to Orlando, 95-90, at TD Banknorth Garden.

“Execution was bad, defense was bad, offense was bad,” Rivers said. “And I don’t lean on the fact that we had a chance to win the game. I agree with Van Gundy. I’d focus more on the fact that they were up 28 points. To me, that’s far more important to me than we made a fool’s gold run that got everybody excited. That does nothing for me.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Doc Rivers, Dwight Howard, Magic
Comeback buzzkill at 12:54 am ET
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The way Stephon Marbury viewed Boston’s 95-90 loss in Game 1 to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night, the Celtics hadn’t really earned the energy that the sellout crowd was giving them when they started to mount a dramatic, nearly historic comeback from a 28-point third-quarter hole.

“The crowd was great,” Marbury said. “They came ready to do what they were supposed to do. We didn’t.”

What the Celtics didn’t do was keep the game close in the final moments of the second quarter and early stretches of the third quarter. With the game tied, 30-30, Orlando closed the first half on a 24-6 run to take a 54-36 halftime lead. Things were looking really bleak when J.J. Redick drained a three with 8:56 remaining in the third for a 65-37 Orlando lead.

The TD Banknorth Garden crowd was driven into a frenzy in the final quarter after the Celtics converted turnover after turnover by Orlando into either wide-open threes or easy transition baskets. The Green shaved that 28 point lead down to just four, 89-85, on Glen Davis‘ reverse layup  with 2:08 remaining. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, comeback, Magic, NBA playoffs
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