Celtics defeat Orlando: The word around the web
In one of the best regular season games so far this year, the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic by a score of 109-106 on Monday night and only further proved their worthiness of the top spot in the East. Despite the usual slow start for the Magic, the game would go on to be a highly contested showdown that was not short of its usual chippiness. There were 26 lead changes throughout the game and the largest lead for either team was a mere 10 points (Boston) early in the night.
In the end though, Boston’s big three would prove to be too much for Orlando’s still improving defense. Immediately after a huge Hedo Turkoglu three pointer gave Orlando a 101-99 lead, Ray Allen drained a leaning corner three that put Boston back on top.
”Look, to me the biggest shot was Ray Allen in the corner, that was an unbelievable shot. We defended the shot, he made a dead run going away from the ball, and to knock that in, that’s an unbelievable shot and that’s why you’ll see him in the Hall of Fame.” – Stan Van Gundy on Allen’s 3-pointer to put the Celtics up 102-101 with 2:15 remaining
Then, with the game tied at 104 and only 38 seconds remaining, Paul Pierce pulled up at the top of the key…pump faked Jason Richardson into the air…nailed the shot…and drew the foul. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before. That 3-point play would put Boston ahead for good and would spell L-O-S-S for the Magic.
In the end, the Celtics played like the more veteran team and deserved the win. Despite the close game, the Magic still have a long way to go. However, if there is a positive to take from tonight’s game it’s that the Magic didn’t bow down emotionally at any point tonight. That is a huge step forward.
Let’s take a look what those around the web are saying about last night’s game:
Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk felt that Dwight showed he was the best player on the court.
Dwight Howard was a beast and clearly the best player on the court. The big man exploited his matchups with both Glen Davis and Shaquille O’Neal. He used a variety of moves, including the Tim Duncan-esque bank shot. Howard was 10-of-19 from the field and an impressive 13-of-18 from the free throw line.
For Kurt Helin of NBC Sports and ProBasketballTalk, KG was the difference:
The real difference was Kevin Garnett, and not just the dramatic game-sealing steal. The Celtics just play with a different, more intense energy when he suits up. He’s back and the Celtics get the win. Not a coincidence.
The Celtics blog, Red’s Army thinks that Dwight needs to get a mean streak:
Dwight Howard needs a mean streak. He laughs way too much, especially in close games. Moments after his 4th quarter “exchange” with KG, he was trying to joke around with Garnett. KG responded with a blank stare.
Let’s also point out that, well, Kevin Garnett is an asshole. I would much prefer that Dwight stay composed in those situations and not let the antics of KG get under his skin. Dwight’s smiling grins sure didn’t prevent him from dropping 33 points on KG, Shaq and the Drunken Seal Glen Davis.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, along with J.J. Redick, pointed out that it was disappointing road trip:
And so was a disappointing road trip for the Magic, who have lost three of their last four games.
“We played really well offensively,” said Magic guard J.J. Redick. “Again, we just couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch. It was probably the theme of this trip. The three games we lost were all close games, and it all came down to us not being able to get stops at the critical times.”
The bottom line is that it was a great game overall and the teams are now MUCH more evened out then they were during last year’s playoffs.
The Magic are back in action at home on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. Tickets are still available from as low as $23.