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Celtics Take On Magic For Festivus 'Feat Of Strength'

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In the photo above Kevin Garnett wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. Sweet guy, right?
In the photo above Kevin Garnett wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. Sweet guy, right?
Boston Celtics (23-4, 10-3 Road) @ Orlando Magic (17-12, 10-5 Home)
Time: 2:30 PM EST (9:30 PM Bethlehem Time), Saturday, December 25th, 2010
Venue: Amway Arena
Officials: TBO
TV: ABC, Radio: WEEI
The Line: The Celtics are currently riding a 14 game 'loss-less' streak. This is the first time the Celtics are facing the Magic since they beat them in the playoffs last spring. Last regular season, the Magic were 3-1 against the Celtics.

Game Thread | Chat
Well, today is the day we've all been waiting for. Assuming you're on the East coast, you've opened your presents, you've given away the gifts you bought for other people, you've mentally noted who gave you good gifts and who gave you bad gifts so you can even the score next year, and if you're really lucky, you're playing with a brand new nerf gun. In a few hours you'll eat dinner (after which follows the Airing Of The Grievances and Feats Of Strength).
However, we just have this little thing to handle in the meantime. The Celtics are facing off against the revamped Orlando Magic, in what should be one of the most challenging contests for the Celtics so far this season. Aside from the Mavericks, the Celtics have not faced better competition so far, and the Magic are riding high after demoralizing the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. Rondo has already been ruled out for this afternoon, but that is the lone piece of unexpected bad news for the C's. The other good news is that Jermaine O'Neal is, for the first time in nearly 20 games, is listed as 'probable'. This game has the potential (I don't want to jinx it) to be the first game all season that both "O'Neals" are healthy(ish) in the same game!


The Celtics are currently 1 and 1 in Christmas Day games during KG's reign, including a very convincing win against the Magic last Christmas. The Magic would love nothing more than to ruin the Celtics win streak and build upon their impressive win against the Spurs. Big, measuring stick game for both teams, expect high intensity from the players on the floor, but a passive interest from the rest of the world because the media darling Miami Heat and under achieving LA Lakers are playing hopscotch or something later.

Probable Starting Lineups:

Boston Celtics

.

ROLE PLAYER MPG FG% 3p% FT% REB APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG

.

PG Nate Robinson 18.9 46% 40% 82% 1.5 2.4 0.33 0.11 1.26 2.2 8.3

.

SG Ray Allen 36.6 49% 42% 89% 3.4 3.3 1.07 0.07 1.44 1.5 17.2

.

SF Paul Pierce 35.2 49% 35% 86% 5 3.4 0.93 0.7 1.78 3 18.2

.

PF Kevin Garnett 32.3 54% 0% 86% 9.9 2.2 1.67 0.74 1.52 2.1 15.3

.

C Shaquille O'Neal 22.3 67% 0% 56% 6.5 0.8 0.44 0.78 1.44 3.4 11.3

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6 Glen Davis 28.9 49% 20% 78% 5.7 1.1 0.81 0.48 1.19 3 11.9

.

7 Jermaine O'Neal 17.7 44% 0% 69% 3.6 0.4 0.14 1.43 1.29 3 5.6

.

8 Marquis Daniels 19.6 49% 27% 70% 2.3 1 0.93 0.48 0.78 1.4 5.3

.

9 Semih Erden 14 59% 0% 60% 2.5 0.5 0.21 0.58 0.83 2.5 4

.

10 Von Wafer 5.6 39% 25% 100% 0.3 0.3 0.09 0.09 0.32 0.5 1.7

Injuries And Stuff: Kendrick Perkins (OUT), Delonte West (OUT), Rajon Rondo (OUT), Semih Erden (QUEST - ILLNESS), Jermaine O'Neal (PROB)

Orlando Magic

.

ROLE Player MPG FG% 3p% FT% REB APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG

.

PG Jameer Nelson 30.8 46% 40% 80% 2.9 7 0.83 0 2.42 3.2 14.5

.

SG Jason Richardson 32.1 47% 41% 77% 4.4 1.4 1.04 0.11 1.11 1.9 18.5

.

SF Hedo Turkoglu 26.1 43% 41% 76% 3.9 2.7 0.75 0.54 1.32 3.2 9.5

.

PF Brandon Bass 23.1 52% 0% 84% 5.3 1 0.31 0.41 1.45 1.8 11

.

C Dwight Howard 35.6 58% 0% 56% 13.2 1 1.19 2.33 3.56 3.4 22

.

6 J.J. Redick 24.3 45% 41% 86% 1.9 1.8 0.5 0 0.79 1.4 9.5

.

7 Gilbert Arenas 33.3 39% 32% 84% 3.3 5.5 1.29 0.5 3.25 3.6 16.2

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8 Quentin Richardson 23 37% 32% 86% 4.2 0.9 0.58 0.12 0.77 1.4 6.7

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9 Ryan Anderson 9.9 38% 29% 81% 2.3 0.2 0.27 0.45 0.64 1.2 5.2

.

10 Chris Duhon 19.5 44% 33% 55% 1.2 2.9 0.33 0.08 1.67 0.8 3.6

injuries And Stuff: Malik Allen (DTD)

Match-up Of The Night: O'Neals Squared V Dwight Howard

Both of the major trades the Magic just pulled off distract from the main issue: The Magic need Dwight Howard to be a superstar to win games against contending teams. Through the month of December the Magic are 4-8, with some pretty bad losses to pretty bad teams in there. The condition is exacerbated in the current incarnation of the Magic's roster (most people agree the Magic will make another move to obtain a legit backup center), because Marcin Gortat, arguably the best backup center in the league, was traded in the recent roster renovations. The Celtics on the other hand will have two competent big men in Jermaine O'Neal and Shaq, meaning that for extended minutes tonight the Magic will be completely outclassed down low. If the Magic want a shot of building on their recent win against the Spurs, then they need Dwight Howard to maximize his minutes on the floor.

The Celtics on the other hand are nearly assured the win if they can limit Dwight's scoring and rebounding. Unfortunately that will be a tall order, as the Spurs (although it should be noted they were on the 2nd night of a back to back) allowed Howard 29 points and 14 boards.

Three Keys For The Good Guys:

1) A Gilbert Story- Gilbert Arenas is currently coming off the bench for the Magic, but his role looks like it will be increasing on a game by game basis. This is where Delonte West would really come in handy, as he's pretty much born to defend Gilbert Arenas. If he was a jeopardy question (or is it answer?) he would be "A 6'4 guard that is a little bit crazy, very passionate, and perfectly suited to defend Gilbert Arenas" While I think it is irrational to fear a backup aging combo guard with limited quickness that shoots less than 38% from the field..I do.

2) Run, Run, Rudolph..but not the Magic- The Magic beat a tired Spurs team by hustling and getting transition points. Even Hedo Turkoglu stopped partying long enough to get some lay-ins in transition. Transition points are easy buckets, and they're created by energy+turnovers. The Celtics cannot allow themselves to lack energy, or commit too many turnovers.

3) And so this is...defense?- The Magic of 2008-2009 were a stalwart defensive team with an unconventional but effective offense They had chemistry, and a supporting cast that complemented each other. That is, luckily, no longer the case.The Magic literally have nobody who can cover Paul Pierce. They used to have Matt Barnes AND Mikael Pietrus, with either one able to defend Pierce for long stretches without needing major team defensive adjustments. Heck, even Hedo used to be able to attempt guarding Pierce. Well, no none of those guys are around. Hedo Turkoglu has as much in common with his 2008-2009 season as the Karl Malone in that Skechers commercial has with 1999 Karl Malone. The team will be relying completely on Dwight Howard to fix the mistakes major defensive liabilities like Gilbert or Hedo will create while they're on the court. Boston needs to be aggressive, and getting 3 fouls on Dwight Howard before the half would be an icing on the cake

Well, that's about it! Happy Birthday Jesus! Merry Christmas everyone!! Enjoy te videos below! Get in that spirit!