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Advancement On the Mend?

3 @ 2
Thursday, May 14, 2009
7:00 pm ET
Amway Arena (Orlando, FL)

The fourth quarter of Game 5 was gut-check time, and the Celtics answered the call. Trailing by as many as 14 points in the final frame, Boston rallied behind a hot streak from Stephon Marbury and pulled out a monster four-point victory to give them the 3-2 series lead.

If Tuesday night's victory was any indication, the Celtics are not going to win ballgames if they fail to get stops. The hot story of the fourth quarter may have been the return of "Starbury," but that's not the top reason for the victory. Ray Allen and Marbury can hit all the shots they want, but the Celtics do not have a series advantage without the defense to back the offense. The key of the comeback was that Boston buckled down and got multiple stops.

From the timeout Doc Rivers took at the 8:49 mark of the fourth quarter to the final buzzer, Orlando was held to just 11 points. Those stops opened up room for transition success, and the "50-50 game" was severely in Boston's favor throughout that stretch. That was the difference, and that's what the Celtics need to do for four quarters every night. As long as they take care of the defense and the hustle, the offense will follow.

Tonight, Orlando will have their backs against the wall on their home floor. With Boston in the driver's seat, Game 6 is a win or go home situation for Dwight Howard and the Magic. Will they get the job done and force the Celtics to play their fourth Game 7 of the past two postseasons, or will the men in green play inspired basketball on both ends of the floor and set up a date with Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals?

Let's hope for the latter. Go get 'em, boys!

Regular Season Record: 62-20
Eastern Conference Seed: 2
Conference Quarterfinals Result: BOS 4, CHI 3

Projected Starters

Series Leaders
PPG: Paul Pierce (19.8)
RPG: Kendrick Perkins (11.2)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.0)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (2.0)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (2.2)

Regular Season Record: 59-23
Eastern Conference Seed: 3
Conference Quarterfinals Result: ORL 4, PHI 2

Projected Starters

Series Leaders
PPG: Rashard Lewis (20.8)
RPG: Dwight Howard (16.4)
APG: Rafer Alston (5.0)
SPG: Rafer Alston (1.8)
BPG: Dwight Howard (2.2)

Injury Report
Kevin Garnett (right knee - out)
Leon Powe (torn ACL - out)
Jameer Nelson (torn right labrum - out)

Keys to Victory

  • Attack, Attack, Attack
  • Sense of Urgency
  • Close Off Penetration
  • Control the Defensive Glass
  • Take Care of the Ball
  • Avoid Foul Trouble

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