|Game 6 third quarter blog thoughts||05.14.09 at 9:10 pm ET|
ORLANDO -If the Magic lose the game, look at the free throw line. Orlando missed five of their first six of the third quarter and had made just 9-of-17 through three. The Celtics still led, 62-61, in the lowest scoring three quarters of the series so far. Rajon Rondo has an amazing 15 rebounds as the Celtics are outrebounding the Magic, 37-29.
Dwight Howard began the quarter by getting fouled by Ray Allen but missed his two free throws.
9:24 Glen Davis picks up his fourth but Rashard Lewis misses another two free throws.
Some other tidbits: At 2:56 in perhaps the most bizarre reaction ever to a neutral jump ball call, Magic guard Rafer Alston kissed the folically-challenged head of Marc Davis. Alston blocked the shot of Kendrick Perkins from behind and Alston immediately pleaded his case for a traveling call. Read the rest of this entry »
|Game 6 second quarter blog thoughts||at 8:18 pm ET|
ORLANDO – Kendrick Perkins started to show some frustration in his battle with Dwight Howard. He lost a battle for a loose ball rebound with 1:05 remaining. When he voiced his disgust to veteran referee Dan Crawford, he was whistled for a technical.
The Magic closed the first half on a 12-4 run to tied the game. Rashard Lewis’ floater hit the rim twice before falling through with 29 seconds remaining to tie the game, 44-44. Paul Pierce hit two free throws with six seconds to go before Rafer Alston hit one of two with 2.6 ticks remaining as the Celtics took a 46-45 lead to the locker room. Read the rest of this entry »
|Game 6 First Quarter Blog thoughts||at 7:36 pm ET|
ORLANDO – Some early thoughts from Amway Arena. Doc Rivers, who stressed the importance of his big men to play disciplined before the game, sent an early message to Glen Davis. The hero of Game 4 would not return the rest of the quarter as the Celtics shot out to a 25-22 lead after one, quieting a crowd that was already nervous.
At 10:41, after getting Boston’s first basket on a layup, Davis pulled out after committing first foul and replaced by Brian Scalabrine. At 9:29 Dwight Howard dunked for his first basket. At 9:09, Howard with a put-back dunk. At 8:33 Perkins as shot clock expired. At 7:46 Howard gets easy layup then taunts and gets a technical foul.
Howard started 3-for-4 while the rest of the team started 0-for-9 before Rafer Alston drilled a three-pointer midway through the quarter.
Magic were ice cold in first quarter and shot just 9-for-26.
|Final thoughts before Game 6||at 6:52 pm ET|
ORLANDO – Doc Rivers is hopeful the referee trio of Dan Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Mark Davis call Game 6 the way the game was called in the second half of Game 5 Tuesday in Boston. That is to say, let them play.
If not and if Kendrick Perkins gets in foul trouble, that could spell trouble for the Green.
“We can go small at one, two and three but if we have to go small at four and five, clearly that’s not been the recipe for success for us,” Rivers said an hour before Game 6 at Amway Arena. “We are small to start when you think about it. Perk is undersized compared to Dwight (Howard) and Baby (Davis) is 6-7, 6-6, and we bring in Scal and we get smaller. But that’s who we have and they know their roles and they’ve been great at it.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Rivers: Why would they change?||at 1:26 pm ET|
ORLANDO – Dwight Howard called for more touches following his team’s collapse in Game 5 in Boston. Then he met with his coach to apologize for publicly ripping him.
Now he’s guaranteeing a magical comeback against the Celtics.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday morning that while the story gives everyone covering the series and fans plenty to talk about, there’s something everyone’s forgetting.
Why would the Magic suddenly change a game plan that produced a 28-point lead in a Game 1 win, a 21-point win in Game 3, fourth-quarter leads in Games 4 and 5 only to have the Celtics stun them in both. Read the rest of this entry »
|Close out special||at 1:05 pm ET|
ORLANDO – Doc Rivers could live without suspense for once.
On their way to a 17th title, the Celtics head coach watched nervously on the sideline as his team was pressed to seven games against Atlanta and Cleveland before finally learning the art of closing out a seven-game series in Game 6 in Detroit. They repeated the feat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers.
Fast forward to the present, and the urgency to seal the deal in Game 6 tonight in Orlando is obvious. While courageous, gritty and determined, clearly these Celtics are weary and thin. They had that chance in Game 6 in Chicago before the epic triple-overtime loss spoiled their plans.
Now, a team that is relying on a remarkably thin bench has a chance to rest up for Cleveland. Read the rest of this entry »
|Are the Magic unraveling?||at 10:32 am ET|
After the Orlando Magic lost Game 4, coach Stan Van Gundy walked into the post-game press conference and accepted any and all blame for his strategy in the final seconds.
Van Gundy had told his players to switch one-through-four and Dwight Howard did exactly that when Paul Pierce came off the pick and roll. That left Glen Davis open in the corner and after his shot went through it was all over but the apologies. After Van Gundy’s mea culpa Howard absolved the coach of blame saying that the Magic win as a team and lose as a team. “We can’t blame Stan,” Howard said.
Howard was singing a different tune after Game 5 when he questioned the coach’s strategy and substitution pattern. Stuff like this happens all the time in the NBA, but what makes this situation unique is that this is the first time Howard publicly second-guessed his coach as Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi pointed out.
Van Gundy’s attempted to play down the situation yesterday, saying that he and Howard had a long talk and everything was copacetic, but Howard wasn’t the only one who questioned Van Gundy’s decision to try to burn the clock.
“We kind of played stall ball and you can’t really do that with a 24-second shot clock,” J.J. Redick said.
“We just stopped,” said Hedo Turkoglu. “They’re an experienced team. They’ve been here before. They know how to make decisions, especially in that kind of a game.”
Orlando has all kinds of questions heading into Game 6 beyond whether or not the coach and players are still on the same page. Courtney Lee has been more effective than Redick; does he start in his place?
Rafer Alston finally had a decent game, but his production has been spotty at best. If he falters does Van Gundy go with Anthony Johnson who has played well–but who also had a blowup with the coach during Game 3–or use Turkoglu at the point?
Tony Battie gave the Magic good minutes in the fourth quarter and Howard seemed to indicate that he wanted him on the floor instead of Rashard Lewis, who has been Orlando’s most effective player.
If the Magic can get themselves straightened out they have a very good chance of sending this series back to Boston for Game 7 because they do have several matchup advantages, particularly with Lewis. But on the other hand, they haven’t been able to maximize those advantages.
The Celtics know they got away with one Tuesday night, but they also have complete confidence in what they are doing.
“They say a team that has the most luck is the one that works the hardest,” Ray Allen said. “We end up looking lucky because of that.”
On the floor these teams are evenly matched, but the last 48 hours have brought all of the Magic’s internal issues out into the forefront. Whether they can get their act together could have as big an impact as any strategic decisions Van Gundy makes tonight.