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Garnett doesn’t break pregame tradition 05.04.09 at 7:33 pm ET
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Just because Kevin Garnett isn’t playing doesn’t stop him treating every trip to the TD BankNorth Garden like it’s gametime. As he does before every game, Garnett firmly planted his hand on the Celtics shamrock on his way to the trainers room prior to Game 1 of the Celtics-Magic series. Even though he was wearing a suit instead of a uniform, he kept his personal Celtics tradition going. Click here to watch Garnett explain his routine.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Orlando Magic,
Celtics and Magic: Road to the Second Round 05.03.09 at 11:07 pm ET
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The second round match up between the Boston Celtics (62-20) and Orlando Magic (59-23) has been in the makings for months. After the Cleveland Cavaliers ran away with the best record in the East, both clubs knew there was a strong chance they would meet again in the playoffs. The Celtics and Magic split the season series 2-2. This time, they will play until one team comes out on top.

December 1: Celtics 107, Magic 88

The Magic tried to beat the Celtics from long range … and failed. The Celtics shot 6-for-13 (46%) from behind the arc while the Magic shot themselves out of the game (5-26 3PG, 19%). Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 24 points in the third quarter as the Celtics outscored the Magic 59-42 in the second half. Rashard Lewis led all scorers with 30 points. Emotions ran high in this game, prompting eight technical fouls. Sam Cassell, in his most memorable moment of the season, was ejected from the sidelines for arguing a call. Jameer Nelson (hip) did not play.

Related Story: Sounds of the Game

January 22: Celtics 90, Magic 80

The Celtics cut Dwight Howard’s night short by drawing six fouls on the big man in 38 minutes. Howard shot just 4-for-10 from the field and finished with 11 points and 11 boards. The Celtics extended their winning streak to seven games behind 27 points from Paul Pierce. They got a boost from Glen Davis, who scored 16 points off the bench. The Magic outscored the Celtics 21-0 from three-point range.

Related Story: Are the Magic a Threat?

March 8: Magic 86, Celtics 79

Already banged up without Kevin Garnett (knee) and Rajon Rondo (ankle), the Celtics watched Glen Davis leave the game with a sprained ankle. The depleted Celtics squad could not fend off 18 points and 15 rebounds from Dwight Howard as the Magic won in Boston. Without Rondo in the lineup, the Magic posted seven more assists (17) and steals (9) than the Celtics. Ray Allen led all scorers with 32 points (12-25 FG).

Related Story: Magic a Problem Without KG

March 25: Magic 84, Celtics 82

The box score painted a different picture than the final score. The Celtics outshot the Magic 43% to 37% from the field and outscored them 20 to 14 in the fourth quarter. But ultimately it was Dwight Howard’s stat line that won the game. He posted 24 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 blocks (including a swat against Pierce with four seconds left) that gave the Magic the edge over the Celtics. Kevin Garnett (knee) was limited to just 16 minutes and Leon Powe (knee) did not play.

Related Story: Magic Not Ready for Prime Time

Game 1 will get underway at 8pm EST on TNT and WEEI. Follow Green Street for all the latest information and updates from the TD BankNorth Garden.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic,
Celtics lock up second seed 04.11.09 at 11:32 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics locked up the second seed in the Eastern Conference after the Orlando Magic lost to the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night. Not only did the Magic fall to the third spot, they also lost Hedo Turkoglu in the fourth quarter after he suffered a sprained ankle. They were already playing without Rashard Lewis (knee). The Celtics are 2.5 games ahead of the Magic and four behind the Cleveland Cavaliers, who they face on Sunday afternoon.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic,
Eastern Conference weekend guide at 3:19 pm ET
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While the Boston Celtics-Cleveland Cavaliers battle is a must-watch on Sunday, there are several other games to keep an eye on this weekend that could impact postseason match ups:

Saturday, April 11

(3) Orlando Magic @ New Jersey Nets: 7:30pm EST

(7) Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets: 8:30pm EST – WGN

(8) Detroit Pistons @ Indiana Pacers: 7:00pm EST – NBA TV

Sunday, April 12

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (2) Boston Celtics:  3:30pm EST – ABC

(5) Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks: 6:00pm EST

(6) Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors: 6:30pm EST

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic,
Celtics not Magic’s biggest problem 03.25.09 at 12:34 am ET
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Boston Celtics (54-18) @ Orlando Magic (52-18)

The Orlando Magic established themselves as a contender early on this season, positioning Wednesday’s game against the Boston Celtics as a possible Eastern Conference Semifinals ‘€“ or even Finals — match up. But before the Magic can think about playing the role of spoiler, they have their own issues to take care of first ‘€“ the Detroit Pistons.

‘€œWe can’t focus in on how they’ve played us in the past,’€ said Magic center Dwight Howard. ‘€œThis is going to be a different year for us in the postseason if we continue to do the things that we do on a night in, night out basis.’€

Over the past two seasons the Magic have made early exits from the playoffs at the hands of the Pistons. In 2007 they were swept 4-0 in the first round. Last season, in spite of earning their best record in over 10 years, they fell 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

With less than a month left in the regular season and Eastern Conference rankings changing every night, the Magic could very well face the Pistons in the first round of the playoffs.

‘€œI think mentally we’ve got to get over that hill, I guess, that they present to us,’€ said Howard. ‘€œThey’re a very physical team, they get away with it. They know how to score. They play great defense. And we know how to beat those guys, but it’s just going to take us to come out and do it. We know the way to beat them is to run, not let the defense set up, and then play help defense, and then rebound the basketball. So they’re a team that we can beat. We just have to be mentally on our game.’€

This season was the perfect opportunity for the Magic to reverse their luck. They have been soaring behind Howard, beating the Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers. The Pistons, on the other hand, have plummeted since the Allen Iverson trade. But the Magic went 0-3 against the Pistons this season. The third loss came just a day after defeating the Celtics in Boston this month.

‘€œAny team is liable to get beat any night. But you’ve got to be able to beat both teams,’€ said Howard. ‘€œBoston is the world champion so they’re a tough team. And you’ve got Detroit, who’s been beating us like they’ve got our number. I think it’s just a mental block. It’s the same thing that happened to us with the (Atlanta) Hawks. They would always beat us until we got over that — ok, we can beat this team — then that’s when we started beating them. But we have to do that against a good team in Detroit.’€

The Magic did not capitalize on the Pistons’ struggles. They are not focused on exploiting the Celtics’ either. While they could view Kevin Garnett’s restricted playing time and the recent depletion of the Celtics bench as a window of opportunity to steal the second seed, the Magic are paying more attention to their own team.

‘€œWe’ve just got to continue to do things to win games,’€ Howard said. ‘€œWe can’t really focus in on how Cleveland or Boston’s playing. They’re still good teams without those key guys, so we’ve just got to come out every night and continue to get better. Hopefully we’re hot during the playoffs, and the team’s that hot during the playoffs is going to win.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic,
Celtics-Magic Game Blog: Second Quarter 03.08.09 at 12:39 pm ET
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At the start of the second quarter … Magic 22, Celtics 15

– The Magic have scored 16 of their first 22 points in the paint. They’ve done more damage in the lane than the Celtics have done on the floor, and Howard has only played six minutes.

– This could be a big game for Gabe Pruitt. With only Marbury ahead of him at the PG, Pruitt has his first shot in a while to prove himself.  He has not played since February 25 against the Los Angeles Clippers. That night he was arrested for suspicion of DUI and served a team-imposed two-game suspension.

– Both teams are going heavy on the bigs. The Celtics have Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore going up against Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat.

– The Celtics have scored just two points in four minutes. And the faint boos have already begun.

– There have been 18 fouls called in the first 18 minutes of the game.

– Howard’s on the bench with three personal fouls. Now is the time for the Celtics to do some damage at the basket. The Cs also have an advantage with J.J. Redick guarding Ray Allen. Redick is not known for his defense.

– The Magic’s deal for Rafer Alston did not get much buzz at the trade deadline but this acquisition is a difference maker in this game. Alston brings quickness to the Magic that the Celtics are having trouble stopping without Rajon Rondo.

– Pierce’s dunk past Pietrus and Battie has the crowd on their feet. The harsh reality is, the Celtics are still down by nearly 20.

– At the half … Magic 51, Celtics 33

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, Kendrick Perkins
Celtics practice notes 01.24.09 at 3:12 pm ET
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There was a media circus on Saturday at Health Point with several outlets taking advantage of what has become a rare Boston Celtics practice.

Tony Allen, who has missed the last 10 games with an ankle injury, consistently knocked down long-range jumpshots after practice. However Doc Rivers, who does not get involved in the medical side of the game, has not been given the green light yet from Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte.

‘€œI have no idea [how he’s feeling],’€ Rivers said. ‘€œHe seems like he’s doing well, smiling and laughing today. I didn’t check updates. He’s not playing so I just talk to him as a guy. I don’t even ask him about the injury. So he’s feeling good.’€

Rajon Rondo was also working on his jumpshot, a hot topic as of late. Rondo attests that Rivers has not asked him to spend any more time on his J than he usually does.

‘€œIn practice when I have the opportunity, I shoot it,’€ he said. ‘€œBut other than that I try to continue to do what I do best.’€

– The Celtics spent an extra day in Florida on Friday after beating the Orlando Magic on Thursday night. Temperatures reached nearly 70 degrees in Orlando yesterday compared to 40 in Boston.

‘€œIt’s great, any time you can stay in warm weather it’s got to be good for the body, good for the soul,’€ Rivers said. ‘€œThe players wanted that and they earned it, so they got to stay.’€

As for Rivers, he used the extra day to spend time with his family. ‘€œI slept at home, I never saw the team,’€ he said before adding with a laugh, ‘€œSo it was perfect for me.’€

– The Celtics will take on the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at 1pm at the TD BankNorth Garden.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Rajon Rondo, Roc Rivers
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