The Celtics are going to win the Eastern Conference Finals. This isn't a matter of "if" so much as it is "when." Personally, I want a sweep. I want the Celtics to "get the brooms out" and "finish it in Boston."
You would think that the Magic would be the ones with more at stake tonight but I don't see it that way. This Orlando team is battered and humiliated and beaten. They don't have any real motivation to win because it only prolongs the agony. It might save a little face, but not much. And it would send them back home to hear it from the home crowd when the Celts finish them off. So in theory they could be playing for pride but maybe not.
The Celtics, on the other hand, might seem like they don't have much urgency to win tonight, but I have a few reasons why they might have some more incentive to finish it off. Rest is still a good thing for this veteran team. They had a long layoff between games 2 and 3 and that seems to have worked out well. I'm not too worried about rust. The Lakers blinked first by losing to the Suns, but few have any real doubts that we're headed for a Celtics - Lakers rematch. A little extra time studying tape and letting Doc and Thibs formulate a strategy to frustrate the Lakers like they've frustrated the Heat, Cavs, and Magic would be valuable indeed.
Losing only gives the Magic a chance to wear us down. We don't want to prolong this series any longer than necessary. Let's finish it out tonight.
I'll keep saying it: The Magic are a good basketball team. They didn't show it in game 3 (at all) but that happens (and it happens a lot to Celtic opponents). They have some great weapons and if they hit their shots they can beat anyone. They just caught the Celtics at exactly the wrong time. The Celtics are peaking at exactly the right time. They would very much like to keep that momentum going right on through the Finals. A win tonight would be a nice way to keep it going.
Bonus Link: SBN's Orlando blog asks their readers the following question: Would You Prefer that the Orlando Magic's Season End Tonight? - Orlando Pinstriped Post That's gotta hurt.