All NOTHING in the face of a return to the statistical mean.
The Magic played the way they’re supposed to tonight. They’ve struggled to hit this gear all playoffs. Tonight was the first time the Magic shot the ball the way they’re capable of, where they created the kinds of shots they can create with their passing. They didn’t just accept any shot. They asked themselves, “Can we get a better shot?” and often the answer was yes. Yes, they can.
There was a three-headed monster of failure for Boston defensively inside tonight. Kendrick Perkins was outclassed, with guys just out-talenting him. Davis was outsmarted, with the Magic whipping his head around and always putting him in the wrong position. And Pierce was outworked. If you watch the replay, most of those super-explosive dunks that the Magic got? Yeah, Pierce was staring at them before they dunked, but unwilling to get posterized. Pierce had trouble with both Hedo and Pietrus tonight,like it was just rough for him to try and defend these young whippersnappers.
One of the things I love in a defender is a willingness to get burned if he knows he’s doing the right thing. It’s something I love about Battier. He’ll let you nail shot after shot in his eye and go back and play you the same way if he knows that it’s the best way to play you. JJ Redick did that tonight. Allen was bursting a little more off screens, getting shots, and knocking them down. But he didn’t deviate. Didn’t try and cheat on an off the ball screen. Didn’t get frustrated, just did his job and made him work for it. Meanwhile he got off his shooting slump and then made some smart passes to get buckets.
Rashard Lewis had a bad game and this still ended this way. Nice to have depth.
Anybody else want to talk about Stephon Marbury coming out of his slump and being a contributor?
Anybody else want to talk about Glen Davis being a legitimate offensive option?
I loved what Marvelous said about Courtney Lee tonight. “I think that when Eddie House got in his car to leave his house this morning that Courtney Lee was there guarding him.”
So much for Orlando fading under the pressure.
Winning is one thing, but the Magic responded every time the Celtics made a run. Particularly Hedo Turkoglu pretty much just acted like it was a last second shot every possession, and nailed it. I’ve said it a lot. Every possession is sacred in the playoffs, and Hedo acted like it.
With 9:20 in the third quarter, the Celtics had cut it to three. Hedo comes off a screen and drives left. Davis comes over to try and strip it. He misses, and Davis is so sloppy with the help, he’s badly out of position when Hedo dishes to Lewis for a three.Â Next possession, Lewis abuses Davis for the 700,000th time this series, goes right around him for a teardrop.
Later in the third, around the 4:40 mark, Boston hedges on a screen. Rondo runs all the way from the right corner to the left block to try and intercept a pass to Howard. He even jumps in the air anticipating it. The ball instead goes right back to where he was, to Alston, who immediately makes the extra pass to Hedo. Three. Boom. As Hedo releases, Alston’s momentum carries him to the left wing three point line. Where no one at all is.
JJ Redick torched Ray Allen for five points in the third. Make no mistake. No double off the ball screens, no trickeration. JJ just beat Jesus.
Brian Scalabrine is supposed to be the instant-offense, defensive spark guy for Boston. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.
Boston had more rebounds. They won the turnover battle. They had more free throws. And yet. That’s good offense, right there.
Pietrus went right at Paul Pierce tonight and won the matchup. I mean, right at him.
If anyone’s wondering why Ray Allens’ wearing a monocle tomorrow, it’s because the Orlando Magic ended up nailing about ten threes in his eye. He had his fair share, but it seems like everytime Ray’s sprang out to close, the shooter connected.
The LA Lakers are tall and better at basketball than this Rockets squad.
Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.