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Keys To The Series

Lots of previews coming out the last couple days and everyone seems has their own "keys" to the series.  In order to avoid duplication (and you know, having to come up with my own) I'm just going to feed off of what other people wrote and react with my own thoughts.  I'm pretty sure this is why "journalists" think of bloggers as lazy, but oh well.

First of all, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the SBN blog Third Quarter Collapse - an Orlando Magic blog (one can only hope that the team's performance reflects the blog's name).  Here are a few of their keys with my thoughts added.  (For full effect, go read their post and come back here)

Keys for the Magic

Involve Dwight Howard in the Pick & Roll - In the last game this strategy destroyed us.  Give that man a running start at the hoop and you can forget about it.  Highlight time.  Gotta hope the Mad Scientist Thibodeau has something cooked up special for Dwight and the pick and roll in particular.

Get Dribble Penetration - Yeah, that was the other thing that killed us the last game.  It is tough to stay back when they shoot so well from outside, but if they get into the lane, our defense has to pick between conceeding the layup or leaving Howard room to roam.  Gotta stop them at the point of attack.

Get Production from Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu - All you need to know is in this chart posted by TQC:

Rashard Lewis 18.2 PPG FG% (45.5%) 3P% (42.7%)
Hedo Turkoglu 17.1 PPG FG% (42.3%) 3P% (36.9%)
Rashard Lewis 16.5 PPG FG% (39.9%) 3P% (32.9%)
Hedo Turkoglu 16.0 PPG FG% (38.5%)

3P% (32.0%)

Get the Opposing Bigs in Foul Trouble - Perkins has the impossible task of having to defend Howard all day without getting into foul trouble.  The only other hope is that maybe Baby can push him far enough away from the basket to be less effective, but that's a slim hope.  So no ticky-tack fouls for Kendrick please.

Contain Rajon Rondo - Yeah, good luck with that.

Keys for the Celtics

For Boston's side of the equation, I turn to Steve Bulpett.  Again, go read the article first, he makes great points.  See my reactions after the break.

1. AVOIDING A FOUR FLUSH - Rashard Lewis is a tough matchup at the 4 spot.  Scal is going to have to help out Baby off the bench.  I would normally say that Baby could try to exploit the matchup on the offensive side, but Howard is such a good help defender that I don't think that will work much.

2. A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW - Can we expect Rondo to rack up more triple double averages?  Well, it isn't fair to expect that from him, but there's reason to hope he can.  Like Rose, Alston isn't much of a defender and he isn't half the player Rose is offensively.  So at least in theory Rondo will be better rested.  (As long as he can stop the dribble penetration)

3. TUG ON SUPERMAN’S CAPE - Yeah, good luck with that.

4. CATCH SOME RAY AGAINST THE FLORIDIANS - The prospect of JJ Redick playing defense on Ray Allen and Eddie House has me salivating.  If they sub in Pietrus, they'll be limited offensively.

5. GET BACK, GET BACK, GET BACK TO WHERE YOU ONCE BELONGED - We love it when Rondo gets offensive rebounds, but he needs to keep an eye on transition defense because the Magic can run.  It might benefit us to slow down the game and turn it into a half court series.

In Conclusion

Have Rondo and Ray torture the Magic guards, keep Perkins out of foul trouble, and execute Tom Thibodeau's defensive schemes and we should be alright.

Update: Marc Spears also has an Eastern Conference advance scout's take on the Magic:

One Eastern Conference advance scout described the Magic as a finesse team with four shooters surrounding Howard. He added that Turkoglu and Lewis rarely post up and often leave the lane to Howard. The scout added that the Celtics could have success by single covering Howard and not leaving the perimeter shooters open.

"To me, the key to beating Orlando is keeping them off the glass," the scout said. "Dwight leads the league in rebounding, but, as a team, they're one of the worst in the league. If Dwight isn't getting the rebounds, you can, because Rashard and Hedo aren't physical. Don't double-team [Howard]. That's why they don't run plays for him. They get on [coach] Stan Van Gundy because he has no plays for Dwight, but he gets scoring off the fast break, rebounds, and slashing down the lane. But he's not dominant in the post like Moses Malone.

"Orlando has 3-point shooters at four positions. Stay with Rashard and Hedo at all times. Dwight can get 25, but he's not going to get 30 that often. He'll get his makes and get to the foul line, but don't let them shoot threes."

Bottom line, they are good, but they have flaws that we can exploit.

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