The Glen Davis double dip of clutch shots was a sweet, tasty desert, but the meal itself left a lot to be desired. The first half was defined by bad defense and Paul Pierce carrying us on offense. Both teams were just trading baskets at one point and it gave me an overwhelming sense of dread for the 2nd half. Thankfully the now cliched third quarter collapse came to the rescue and gave us a little bit of cushion. We'd need every last inch of that cushion as the team only hung onto this win by the tips of its manicured fingernails.
A look back at the box score still has me scratching my head. How did Orlando mangae 13 more shot attempts than us? The Celtics didn't turn the ball over that much more than the Magic (13 - 8) and we actually outrebounded them 44 - 38. Fouls were pretty close (28 - 24) and we even had one more block than them. Actually, scratch that: Perkins himself had more blocks (5) than the Magic (4).
The announcers made a big deal about the Magic (who live and die by the 3) hitting only 5 of 27 deep shots. However, the Celtics hit only one of 10 shots from downtown (Pierce hit the only one he took, and that was from a foot beyond the arc). Credit the Magic D for smothering our shooters. House, who can get a shot off with a milimeter of space, couldn't find that milimeter last night. Ray Allen had more space but came up empty again and again.
All in all the game seemed very odd, and not in a good way. Don't just take it from me - here's what Matt Moore had to say about it.
The Celtics shot 53% from the field, shot only one fewer free throw, got 39 from Pierce and Allen, got 21 from Glen freaking Davis, managed to not foul anyone out, and got a way with a world of flops.
The Magic shot 40% from the field, 19% from the arc, even though they had open looks all night, SVG played Rafer Alston when he was a -14734834347347384374 for the game, did not play Gortat more than 9:32, Howard had foul trouble, Hedo had a wretched night, and Redick was 0-5 from the arc.
And the Boston Celtics needed a desperation, 18 foot jumper from Tons of Fun to win the game.
Not that I'm complaining too much. As they say, a win is a win is a win. Winning ugly the mark of a good team. However, without KG and Powe this team can't afford to temp fate too often. The defense is tired. Foul trouble cripples Doc's rotations. Too much scoring burden is being put on the starters. If you think Orlando is going to shoot 18.5% from 3 point land again you are kidding yourself.
I hate to be a kill-joy, but the bottom line is that they simply have to start playing better if they expect to advance to the next round. And if/when they get there, it goes without saying that they'll need to play near-flawless ball to keep going. Otherwise this is just another moral victory.