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Celtics Hoping Leprechauns Trump Magic


Orlando Magic (0-0,4-2) at Boston Celtics (0-0,4,3)Round 2, Game 1
Postseason game 8 Home game 5
Monday, May 4
8:00 PM ET
PreGame, PostGame CSN HD
TD Banknorth Garden

Game Thread l Chat

Now is when the battle at the end of the season for 2nd and 3rd place takes on added importance. The Celtics won the battle for the second seed and so round two of the playoffs between the Celtics and the Magic begins on the Celtics' home court. And game 7, should there be one, will also be on the Celtics' home court. N

The only other time these two teams met in the playoffs was in 1995 in the first round. Orlando won the best of 5 series 3-1 with their only loss coming at home.
Orlando is 7-10 all time in the first game in playoff series. They are 6-3 at home and 1-7 on the road. The Magic come into this series with plenty of playoff experience on their team. Their players have a total of 341 playoff games under their belts.

The Magic averaged 96.2 points in the first round against the Sixers. They are shooting 47% from the floor and 35% from beyond the arc. It doesn't seem as though the Sixers put a premium on defense.

The Celtics and the Magic tied the season series 2-2 but lost the 2 games in which Kevin Garnett didn't play (or played limited minutes). The Celtics ranked 1st in 3 point percentage during the regular season and the Magic ranked 7th. The Magic was second in 3 point attempts and shot over 800 more 3 pointers than the Celtics did.

The Celtics are coming into this series on one day rest. The Magic have been off since closing out their series on Thursday. The Celtics have to be tired after the marathon series they just went through but both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have stated that they would rather keep going instead of sitting around. It worked for them last year and hopefully it will work for them in this one.

The Celtics had a good tune up for this series against the Bulls. Ray Allen seemed to get better and better as the series went on. The bench finally got it together and gave the Celtics a big boost in game 7. Rondo, Big Baby and Perk have been playing on another level. Now that they are rid of the Bulls, hopefully the Celtics can build on that series and be even stronger in this one.

In spite of having home court advantage, the Celtics are considered the underdogs in this one. Most "experts" are picking the Magic to win this series with some of them even picking the Magic in a sweep. Let's hope this gives the Celtics extra motivation to bring their A game and prove them all wrong.

Today's Refs: Mark Wunderlich, James Capers, Kenny Mauer

Probable Starting Matchups
Rajon Rondo PPG 19.4 RPG 9.30 APG 11.6 EFF + 30.14
Rafer Alston PPG 15.2 RPG 2.50 APG 4.8 EFF + 14.17

Ray Allen PPG 23.4 RPG 3.10 APG 2.1 EFF + 20.29
JJ Redick PPG 5.8 RPG 1.30 APG 1.5 EFF + 6.00

Paul Pierce PPG 23.1 RPG 6.90 APG 2.0 EFF + 18.86
Hedo Turkoglu PPG 11.8 RPG 4.70 APG 3.3 EFF + 10.83

Glen Davis PPG 18.1 RPG 6.70 APG 2.6 EFF + 18.29
Rashard Lewis PPG 19.2 RPG 6.00 APG 3.5 EFF + 19.00

Kendrick Perkins PPG 13.3 RPG 11.60 APG 1.3 EFF + 22.43
Dwight Howard PPG 24.0 RPG 15.80 APG 1.0 EFF + 34.00

Stephon Marbury
Mikki Moore
Eddie House
Gabe Pruitt
Bill Walker
JR Giddens
Brian Scalabrine
Tony Allen

Kevin Garnett (knee) out
Leon Powe (knee) out

Courtney Lee
Tony Battie
Marcin Gortat
Adonal Foyle
Jeremy Richardson
Anthony Johnson
Mickael Pietrus
Tyronn Lue

Jameer Nelson (labrum) out
Courtney Lee (fractured sinus) questionable - has been medically cleared

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Rafer Alston
This is going to be like a matchup between Speedy Gonzales and the Road Runner. Both are very quick point guards and both are playing very well. It will be important for Rondo to continue to be aggressive in this series as he was in the first round.

Kendrick Perkins vs Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard is the heart of the Magic's offense and defense. When he is on his game, it is impossible to stop him. Perk has been playing great defense and the Celtics will need him to try to stop Howard with single coverage so that they don't open up the Magic's deadly outside shooters. The Celtics need Perk to continue his strong play in this round in order to keep Howard off the boards and away from the basket. The biggest key to this series is to keep Perk out of foul trouble. Dwight Howard will get star treatment from the refs and we can only hope they will treat Perk fairly.

Honorable Mention
Just about every position is key in this series.
Paul Pierce vs Hedo Turkoglu
Turkoglu always seems to have a big game against the Celtics. Who can forget his game winning shot vs the Celtics last season? Turkoglu is their clutch shooter down the stretch and Pierce's defense is going to be tested in trying to stop him from taking over especially from long range. Turkoglu has been up and down in the playoffs but he is sure to find his range when the stakes are raised in this series.

Ray Allen vs JJ Reddick
Courtney Lee, the Magic's starting shooting guard has been medically cleared to play but is questionable for this game. In his place, the Magic will start JJ Reddick. Reddick started game 6 against the Sixers after being used sparingly or not at all in the first 4 games. He came through for them with 15 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the arc. This may be the most advantageous matchup for the Celtics to go to since Reddick is a shooter but not known for his lock down defense.

Big Baby Davis vs Rashard Lewis
Big Baby has been playing above and beyond anyone's expectations for him in these playoffs. Rashard Lewis is going to be very tough for him to guard because Lewis can play on the block or on the perimeter and is very quick so Big Baby is going to have to up his level of play yet another notch. During the season, Lewis averaged 21.5 points on 51% shooting against the Celtics.

Bench vs Bench
The Celtics bench struggled through the first 6 games of the first round but came through big time for them in game 7. Hopefully they have awakened and will continue to contribute. The Magic go 4 deep into their bench on most nights and averaged 15 ppg in the first round. They have a strong bench and the Celtics' bench will have to step up and play like they did in game 7 to match up.

Doc Rivers coached the Magic from 1999-2004
Tony Battie played for the Celtics from 1999-2004
Mickael Pietrus, Adonal Foyle, and Patrick O'Bryant were teammates in Golden State
Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis were teammates in Seattle
Keith Bogans and Rajon Rondo are former Kentucky Wildcats
Keith Bogans and Eddie House were teammates in Charlotte
Anthony Johnson and Scal were teammates in New Jersey
Anthony Johnson played for Doc in Orlando
Clifford Ray was an assistant for the Magic and mentored Dwight Howard in his first years in the league.

Keys to the Game
Defense When the Celtics clamp down on defense and play the way they are capable of, they are tough to beat. We saw this kind of defense in game 3 and for spurts in game 7, especially in the second quarter. The Celtics have to commit to this level of defense if they want to get out of this round. Defense wins championships and the Celtics need to play it.

Ball Movement When the Celtics move the ball and find the open man their offense clicks on all cylinders. When the ball stops and there are too many iso's and too much dribbling, the offense gets stagnant and the Celtics struggle to score. They have to trust their teammates and move the ball.

Focus The Celtics have to keep their focus. They can't lose their cool and they can't pick up dumb fouls. They have to focus on defense and team play.

Rebounding The team that wins the battle of the boards is the team that usually wants to win the most. Rebounding requires effort and desire and when teams exhibit both of those qualities they will usually win the rebounding battle, win the fight for loose balls and for hustle points.

Rust vs Rest
The Celtics are coming into this game on just one day rest. The Magic have been off since Thursday. Will the Celtics continue to roll while the Magic come in rusty? Or will the Magic be rested and ready to go and the Celtics come in worn out from the struggle they had against the Bulls?

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