The last time the Celtics won Game 2 of a series, they returned home and a few days later and got smacked around by the Cavaliers. Tonight, a team got smacked around at the TD Garden as well, but it wasn't the Celtics- it was the Magic.
The 94-71 shellacking of the Magic gives the Celtics a 3-0 series lead going into Monday night's Game 4. If the first three games of this series are any indication of how Game 4 will be, make sure to bring a broom to the game on Monday night.
The Celtics held the Magic to just 37 percent from the field including 8-for-30 from 3-point territory (27 percent). They forced 17 Magic turnovers in the process, while only committing eight of their own.
"We know we're a defensive team and that's what we thrive off of," said Paul Pierce. "We were able to turn them over, gather some momentum from our crowd and we just fed off our crowd tonight to tell you the truth. We felt their energy, felt their vibe. And at this point this team is playing too well and too confident to become complacent because we're a step closer to where we want to be."
Unlike the break between Games 2 and 3 of the Cavaliers series, the Celtics had two very strong practices prior to tonight's game.
"We worked on a lot of different stuff; a lot of different schemes," said Kevin Garnett. I think our two best days since we've been in the playoffs. We worked on a lot of different stuff and tonight we just applied it. It's that simple."
Coach Doc Rivers also credited good practices to tonight's win but noted that the energy the Celtics came out with to start is what gave them the edge.
"I mean, we had two good days of practice," Rivers said, "but the focus and energy they came out to start the game with, when you come out with that type ‑‑ with both, it's tough to get beat, at least in that quarter. And the fact they were able to sustain it was terrific."
It has been clear since the playoffs began that the Celtics want it more than every team they have faced so far. When the regular season ended, nobody expected the Celtics to get past Cleveland, and some even questioned whether they'd get past Miami. The doubters have been silenced since then and the Celtics are playing inspired basketball since the playoffs began.
"We're motivated by what's at stake," said Pierce. "We see the big picture as a team. We win two games and we look here and say that we're a step closer to our goals. Coming off of two games you feel it. You feel it in practice the last two days with our focus. You feel it on the court- how we're playing. The guys smell it right now. They know what it feels like to be in a championship. They know what it feels like to win a championship. You're starting to see urgency really, really come out the closer we get."
Big Baby and the Bench
Much was said about the Orlando bench going into the series. Many felt as though Orlando's bench would be the difference maker between the two teams, as players Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, J.J. Redick, and Jason Williams formed a solid nine man rotation.
It has been the Celtics bench, essentially Glen Davis, Tony Allen, and Rasheed Wallace, this series and during the entire playoff run, that has really stepped up to the occasion and made this team possibly deeper than when it won the championship back in 2008.
Glen Davis led all scorers tonight with 17 points coming off the bench and also grabbed six boards. While it is nice to see Davis fill up the stat sheet, some of the most important things he does will not show up there.
"My role is just being an energy guy, making sure that I play defense, get rebounds," said Davis. "Doc lets me offensively do what I want to do, hit the open jump shot, play in the post, he lets me do that. But at the same time he makes me still remember my role and what I am capable of doing."
T.A. also noted the play of Davis tonight and throughout the playoffs and understands the value he brings to this team when he's out there.
"He's a grinder. He knows he's a grinder. He's the guy to come in and get things done. Whether it's diving for loose balls or taking a charge, whatever the case may be he's willing to do it. Tonight, he was an offensive threat and I credit him for his performance tonight."
Davis' knack for stepping up in the limelight is no secret, and again it showed tonight with the performance he put in. Players react differently to pressure situations, and fortunately for the Celtics, Davis thrives in those situations.
"He's comfortable in big games for whatever reason," said Rivers. "You know, who knows why. But we know that, and we like it. He's not in awe of the moment at all. And he's been great off the bench for us. He's ready to come in if Perk or Kevin gets in foul trouble. We're asking him to guard all kinds of positions. Guarding Dwight Howard and then going out and guarding Rashard Lewis in the same game is very difficult, and he's doing both."
As far as Davis is concerned, no matter of what magnitude the game is, he won't let it affect his style of play.
"It's just the rising of the occasion, that's all it is," said Davis when asked why he performs so well in big games. "I just love to play, you realize when I get my opportunity to play, I play. That's all I do, is just play the games, and big games are my specialty for some reason."