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Williams and Pietrus Sparked Orlando's Fourth Quarter Runs

After Jason scores, it's your turn. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
After Jason scores, it's your turn. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Getty Images

I'm sure you remember the Celtics building double-digit leads early in the fourth quarters of both Games 1 and 2. I'm sure you also remember the Magic chipping away and practically overcoming those leads in both games. But did you notice exactly how the Magic initially cut into the leads in both games? How the kickoff to the comeback in Game 2 was practically identical to that of Game 1? Let's revisit:

With 8:42 left in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Celtics led, 79-63. Dwight Howard had the ball in the post, and Rajon Rondo (I'm like 99% sure it was Rondo, but it could have been Ray Allen) went down to double-team him, leaving Jason Williams wide open above the three-point line. Howard made the smart play by kicking the ball out to Williams, who buried a three, cutting the Celtics' lead to 79-66. On Orlando's next possession, Mickael Pietrus spotted up for three on the left wing, and just like that, Boston's lead was sliced from 16 to 10. The Magic would proceed to outscore the Celtics 23-9 for the remainder of the game and ended up losing, 92-88.

Flash forward to the fourth quarter of Game 2. Rasheed Wallace had just buried a three-pointer in the corner in front of Orlando's bench with 11:40 to play, putting Boston up 81-70. The Celtics had a great opportunity to blow the game open, BUT...On Orlando's very next possession, Dwight Howard had the ball, was roaming across the paint, Rondo went to double-team him again, and once again he kicked it out to Williams who buried a three-pointer from the top of the key, bringing the Magic back within eight, 81-73. Then, on Orlando's next possession, guess what happened? Pietrus struck again. This time his toe was just on the three-point line, making his basket worth just two, but it brought the Magic back within six, 81-75 with 10:40 to play. The Magic outscored the Celtics, 17-14, for the remainder of the game and ultimately lost, 95-92.

So, let's recap: In both games, the Celtics lead by double digits early in the fourth, Dwight Howard gets unnecessarily double-teamed, he kicks it out to Jason Williams for a three, Mickael Pietrus follows with a bucket of his own, and the Magic proceed to outscore the Celtics the rest of the way.

This is just an eerie coincidence, right? Because, quite frankly, if you picked up on this happening in Game 2, it felt like deja vu, because it was practically identical to what happened in Game 1. But there's no way the Magic planned that, correct? It's not like Stan Van Gundy told his guys in the timeout: "We're going to run this play, assume Rondo's going to double Dwight, even though he appropriately hasn't all game, and then Dwight's going to hit you for a three, Jason. And then after we get a stop, it's your turn to hit, Michael." 

Yeah, there's no way that happened. This has to be a coincidence. But a kind of strange one at that. 

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