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Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic: 1/27/08 - Preview

Match Ups

Rajon Rondo vs. Jameer Nelson
Ray Allen vs. Keith Bogans
Paul Pierce vs. Hedo Turkoglu
Kevin Garnett vs. Rashard Lewis
Kendrick Perkins vs. Dwight Howard

According to the preview on the Magic started out 14-3. However, they've gone 13-15 since then. Of course that same preview seems to think the Celtics are 27-18 and the Magic are 34-7 (see Tonight's Matchup box).

In the past two games Jose Calderon and Sebastian Telfair have scored 24 points and 18 points respectively. That's not all Rajon Rondo's fault. However, either he's not entirely healthy or not as good defensively as Celtics fans like to think. Regardless he's up against a point guard that gets to the rim consistently and has had success against the Celtics in the past. On the flip side Rondo has been great against the Magic. He went 8-9 from the field in their first meeting and then outdid himself the next time they met.

Dwight Howard - Every other week I take part in a "pick your top ten MVP candidates and top 5 ROY candidates" activity with a group of bloggers. After I sent my picks in last night I realized that Howard was not on my list. He's been in my top three in the past. How does that happen? It probably has something to do with the Magic's struggles and Howard's woeful free throw shooting. Emphasis on woeful. He was awful from the line (5-16) the last time these two teams met.

Rashard Lewis - I'm starting to get the sense that Magic fans wish their $118 million man was a bit...tougher. I'd love to know how they feel about Lewis' chances in a 7 game series against the Pistons.

Hedo Turkoglu - Out of all the Magic he has impressed me the most in the previous two games against the Celtics. That's partly due to the fact that I already knew Howard was a force of nature. Meanwhile, I thought Turkoglu was a good shooter. Well he can fill it up from deep as expected. But he also goes to the rim as well now. I really like his improved game.

Kendrick Perkins - The question: Who led the Celtics in scoring in 2 of the last 3 games? The answer, with apologies to Allen Iverson in hopes of avoiding any copyright infringement: Kendrick Perkins. However, Perk's offense will be nowhere near as important as his defense and ability to avoid early foul trouble today.

Closing Thoughts

In their initial match up the Magic gave the Celtics their first loss of the season in a physical game that initiated a minor war of words, via the Internet, between fans of both teams. In fact it seemed like a new rivalry was developing. However, when the Magic returned to Boston a month later the Celtics handled them and the budding rivalry calmed down a bit. Now, with the season series tied 1-1 and the ABC spotlight I'd like to see Boston come away with a victory. And even with the Celtics' recent struggles (6-4 over the last 10) I'd argue that a victory would mean a lot more to the Magic.

Don't forget to check out Third Quarter Collapse for more information on the other side.

Seriously this is the last point, I swear

I'm not entirely crazy about the Celtics playing a Sunday matinee on the road. Hopefully the national stage will be enough to overcome some sluggishness.

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