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Celtics (W) vs Magic (L): 112 - 100 4th Quarter Wake Up Call

Wow, I'm still a little buzzed about this game and win. This game was interesting watching for most of the go and admittedly had a little bit of everything.

Uptempo offenses, zone defenses, runs, droughts, stars making plays and plays that make stars.

In my opinion this game was about wake up calls. The first (and in the long run may be the most important if it lasts), was that Mark Blount was awake and functioning effectively for a good portion of this game. He started out against Former Celtic Tony (Batman or El Busto) Battie scoring on FT's after being fouled on a back down in the post. The C's led 5-2 with 10:22 left. Blount then scored on a 12ft jumper from just off the elbow at 9:12. He dunked on Battie to make it 12-6 at 8:55 and this was when the relatively slow start to the quarter ended in terms of offensive tempo. Let the running begin....

A Turkoglu 3pter at 5:03 make it 26-23 (I warned you they got it revved up). Paul Pierce.....well he had one of those games. He was mostly relegated to trying (and not really succeeding) to score against a tight defending Doug Christie and doing the small stuff that helps win games. He had a nice dunk after getting around Christie at 4:15 to make it 28-25 but his night would be largely quiet in the scoring column.

Blount continued to show a pulse when he cleaned up a partially blocked GP layup attempt for an easy hustle 2. 30-25 C's with 3:52 left. Francis got it to 30- 29, but Raef broke his mini-run with one of several big 3pters on the night to make it 33-29 with 2:39 left and the Magic got a timeout. Pierce picked up his 2nd foul at 2:23 and the C's led 33-29. However the Magic, who shot 68% in the 1st quarter, made a run and took the lead from the Celtics with 1:10 left and the Magic now leading 36-35.

Kendrick (the Perk-o-later) Perkins came into the game and went right at Kelvin Cato for a layup, keeping the C's to within 1 at 38-37. A fast break led to a Jiri Welsch two-hander to put the C's ahead 39-38 with :33 left and that's how it ended.

2nd quarter

Tom Gugliota (Googs) started the 2nd quarter and had a productive 4 minute stretch for the C's, playing good team ball, hustling and disrupting the passing lanes with his long arms. Googs was even nice enough to miss a shot so that Ricky Davis could have a follow-up dunk to make it 48-40 C's with 8:42 remaining.

Random Information Break: Assistant Coach Jim Brewer works with the Celtics Big Men and is not only a Former NBA Champion with the Lakers (last season of his career) but also Doc River's Cousin. He also is one of the coaches who works with Celtic Rookies Perkins and Allen for at least 20 minutes before every game. So now you know for sure: the rooks are getting individual coaching attention towards thier development.

PP hit a runner in the paint with 6:40 remaining to make it 56-46 Celtics. Part of a great all around effort by Raef, came at 5:21 when he took one for the team and put his body in front of a charging Batman. However, the Magic forwards weren't to be denied as the Magics' future "franchise" Dwight Howard dunked on the Celtics on 2 consecutive possessions spurring a Magic run. 58-55 Celtics with 4:10 left in the half. RD hit a 15ft pull-up jumper at 3:40 putting the C's ahead 60-55. The Magic then scored in the post on the C's, ending in a Batman dunk at 2:47, closing the Celtic lead to 60-59. Timeout Celtics.

Paul Pierce hit a 3pter coming out of the timeout and with 2:34 remaining the C's led 63-59. Howard got another dunk (he shoots a high FG% for a reason ya' know) off a rebound and gave the Magic the lead 64-63 with 1:27 left. Gary Payton responded on the ensuing possession and the C's retook the lead 65-64 with 1:10 remaining. RD shot FT's to make it 67-64 but defensive specialist and part time 3pt sniper Doug Christie, hit a 3pter. Most annoying about the finish to the half was that the Magic got an extra possession off an offensive rebound inside :30 left that led to the Christie 3pter. (color me unhappy about that)

At the Half: 67- 67

Orlando jumped out to a 71-67 lead but that would be followed by one hell of a lull in action by both teams. Raef broke the dismal Celtic scoring drought at 8:03 with a dunk, making it 73- 69 Magic. That's right, we went almost 4 minutes into the quarter without scoring.....our defense would see a similarly painful lull in the quarter as well.

Orlando, mostly in part to the current Franchise's effort, ran out to a 79-71 lead with 5:15 left. Blount kept the C's in it with a 7ft turnaround on the baseline to make it 79-73 with 4:40 remaining. PP then was called for travelling (I still haven't determined if he did or not, but I'm guessing there are going to be alot of differing opinions. Mike didn't seem sure) and then got a Technical foul for complaining about it at 3:58 with the C's still trailing 80-74, after Chistie hit the FT. A Franchise alley-oop pass to Howard (Subliminanal message: another dunk) at 2:58 gave the Magic thier biggest lead of the game: 84-74. RD responded with a 3pter on the next trip down and the C's trailed 84-77. GP then connected with a cutting PP for a layup and the C's now trailed 86-79 with 2:00 left in the 3rd.

Random Information Break: A Willie May interview with "Big" Al Jefferson revealed that the injured PF believes he'll be ready and cleared to start practicing next week and believes he will be game ready within 10 days.

Blount hit another 12ft baseling jumper, this time face up and the C's got closer at 86-83 with 1:26 left. The 3rd ended with the Celtics trailing the Magic 88-83.

Through 3: Celtics - 50% FG Magic - 55% FG

4th quarter

A Turkoglu 3pter was key in a Magic start that saw them get out 93-85 by the 10:28 mark. At this same game break, Celtic Rookie Delonte West reported into the game. West almost immediately saw himself on the short end of a 3 on 1 fast break, but thankfully 2005 All-Star Game Starter, Grant Hill turned the ball over on a travelling call (I don't mean for this play to make light of Hill's nomination, either. I think it's great that he's getting some attention for his good start and perseverence to get back. It's a nice story and I'm happy for him.) West then hit a 3pter on his first FG attempt (his 2nd attempt was an airball, but who cares!?). This put the Celtics 6pts back, 94-88 with 9:40 remaining.

Another wake up call involved playing defense. As in we needed to play some this quarter..... Waltah, who played a tremendous role in the Celtics 4th quarter run, came over the top of another Celtic defender for a weak side help, cheap seat swat on Former Celtic Andrew DeClerq at 9:10. The Celtics then fast breaked thier way to a Jiri layup and FT to make it 94-91 with 8:29. "I Love" Waltah hung in the air after 7:57, when the Celtic spark-plug tied it at 94 ALL. The Fleet and Tommy Heinsohn roared. In Tommy's exuberance, he even declared "If ya don't love Waltah, Go Home!"

GP came in for Delonte at 6:53. It was an encouraging 4+ minutes for the celtic rookie pg who's recovering from an injury. RD hit a cutting Raef with a long, but bullet quick bounce pass underneath for a reverse layup and the C's retook the lead 96-95 with 4:52 remaining in the contest. Turkoglu hit another 3pter at 4:13 to give the Magic a momentary lead at 98-96 but an RD alley-oop pass to Raef made it 98 ALL with 3:57 left. A quick outlet from RD on a break opportunity saw GP delivering to PP for an easy lay in and FT opportunities, making it 100-98 Celtics with 3:08.

The Franchise fouled out on the play. In fact, as a little color to the moment, as soon as he knew they called it on him, he put his hands on top of his head and walked to the end of the Magic bench and sat atop a Gatorade bucket in disbelief that he wasn't going to be around to affect the outcome.

The next Celtics possession saw Raef on the end of a swing pass that got him a 3pter. The Celtics now led 103-98 with 2:27 left. GP stole the ball and streaked down the floor only to miss a defended layup. No worried though: a hustling RD was there for the clean-up dunk to make it 105-98 with 1:56 remaining. RD owned the 4th quarter, which is starting to become another wake up call, this one to the team: We've got potentially 2 big-time 4th quarter closers now.

"I Love" Waltah rained down once more and put the Magic out of thier misery at 1:02. The Celtics now led 108-100 and would finish it 112-100.

Final: 112-100 Celtics Win.

Player of the Game - You call it!

Tonight's Usual Suspects:

Gary Payton: 17pts/3rbs/8assts

Raef LaFrentz: 19pts/5rbs/2assts

Mark Blount: (Please Lord, don't make me burn in hell for this Blasphemy) 13pts/3rbs/2assts/1blk

Ricky Davis: 16pts/5rbs/5assts

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