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Celtics Roll Into Orlando for Afternoon Matchup


 Boston Celtics (34-7) at Magic (27-18)

Sunday, January 27
1:00 PM ET
Game #41, Road Game #19
Sirius 122
Amway Arena
Chat    l    Game Thread   

Magic Coverage    Believing in Magic   l   Third Quarter Collapse    

This is the third matchup between the two teams this season.  The Magic handed the Celtics their first loss in Orlando on November 18, when they beat the Celtics 104-102.  The Celtics came out on top on December 23 when they beat the Magic 103-91 in Boston.  IN this game, KG, Pierce, Rondo and Ray Allen all had over 20 points. Both teams have slipped since their torrid starts.  The Celtics are just 5-4 in their last 9 games and the Magic are 13-15 since their  14-3 start.   This will be the rubber match between the two teams with both teams seeking  to gain the advantage.   Since this is a team the Celtics may likely see in the playoffs, they need to win this one. 

The Magic are 7th in the league in scoring with 103.4 points per game.  They are shooting 36% from beyond the arc and rank second in the league in 3 pointers made and attempted.  They have connected on 10 or more 3's nineteen times this season and have made at least 5 threes in 44 consecutive games, including every game this season.  Look for the Magic to try to continue that streak against the Celtics.   The Celtics have been very lax defending on the perimeter and they need to concentrate on that in this game. 

The Magic are a good defensive team, holding opponents to under 100 points 21 times this season and they won 17 of those .  Howard leads the league in double doubles and Rashard Lewis leads the league in 3 pointers attempted and is second in 3 pointers made.   KG will  need to defend him closely both inside and out. 

This is another afternoon game on the road.   The last one in New York worked out ok for the Celtics and hopefully this one will as well. The Celtics haven't been playing very well and are due for a good game.  The big question in this game is whether the abdominal strain will have any lasting effects for KG. He is planning to play, but has been icing the sore area.    The Celtics can't afford to lose him, but they can't afford to play him if it means further aggravating the injury.    Hopefully he will be ok and the Celtics will finally have a good game and come away with a win.

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Carlos Arroyo
SG:  Ray Allen vs Maurice Evans
SF:  Paul Pierce vs  Hedo Turkoglu
PF:   Kevin Garnett vs  Rashard Lewis
C:    Kendrick Perkins vs Dwight Howard 
Celtics:   James Posey, finger, probable
                  Scot Pollard, ankle,  day to day
                  Brian Scalabrine, flu, day to day
                  Kevin Garnett, abdominal strain, probable
Magic:     Tony Battie, torn rotator cuff, out 
                  Jameer Nelson, strained tendon, day to day
Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett  6'11"  PPG 19.2 | RPG 9.9 | BPG 1.4
Rashard Lewis     6'10"  PPG 18.4 | RPG 5.1 | BPG 0.4
Kendrick Perkins   6'10"   PPG 7.5 | RPG 5.7 | BPG 1.3
Dwight Howard  6'11" PPG 22 | RPG 14.9 | BPG 2.6
The Magic like to score in the paint and it will be up to Perk and KG to defend the basket and keep them out on the perimeter.   Perk doesn't play as well against quick and mobile centers like Howard and so will need some help from KG to defend against him.   If KG is still nursing the abdominal strain that took him out of Friday's game , the Celtics could be in big trouble. 
Honorable mention
Paul Pierce   PPG 20.3 | RPG 5.6 | APG 5.1
Hedo Turkoglu    PPG 19.1 | RPG 6 | APG 4.3
Turkoglu has scored in double figures 41 times this season and leads the team in 4th quarter points. Turkoglu is shooting 37% from beyond the arc and if left open will make the Celtics pay.    Pierce will need to stay with him on defense and will have to try to take it to the hoop against him to make him work on the other end. 

 Keys to the Game
Limit Turnovers.  The Celtics committed 23 turnovers against the Wolves and that is being way too sloppy with the ball.  The Celtics need to limit turnovers and take better care of the ball against the Magic because they will convert those turnovers to points.

Defense    The Celtics will need to play better defense against the Magic than they have been playing recently.  The Celtics may be able to get by the Wolves with weak defense, but they won't get past the Magic playing that way.   KG and Perk especially have to try to limit the damage that Howard does in the paint.  They also have to defend the perimeter much better than they have been recently as the Magic shoot 36% from beyond the arc.  The Celtics must get back to playing the tough defense that they are capable of.   

Be Aggressive  The Celtics need to come out strong and play aggressively for 48 minutes.  They can't coast against a team like the Magic.  They have to be aggressive on the boards because every rebound they give up will give, the Magic have a chance to convert into points. 

X Factor
Bench Play
The Magic is a deep team and the Celtics will need to get contributions from their bench on both the offensive and defensive ends.    Having James Posey return would be a big boost in this area. 

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