Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics- 8:30 ET ESPN
The Orlando Magic’s Game 2 performance can be summed up with mental breakdowns. From Vince Carter not focusing at the free throw line throwing up to bricks in the critical moments to J.J. Redick dazed and confused calling allowing about four seconds to expire before calling a timeout in the backcourt. Simply put, the Magic gave the Celtics not only Game 2, but the entire series.
There’s no doubt the Celtics smell blood and they’ll be going for the kill in Game 3. They understand exactly what opportunity is at hand now that the series has shifted back home to Boston and don’t think the fans won’t be fired up as well. Offensively Paul Pierce will lead the usual charge and nothing could be any sweeter than if Rondo’s able to put up 20+ points. Rondo’s scoring outage is a really important motor to the Celtics success and I expect Rajon to bring his “A-Game” in Game 3.
For the Magic it goes without saying that Rashard Lewis has been a complete joke all series long. In Game 2, Lewis played a team-high 41 minutes and only contributed 5 points. Obviously that’s a big problem but the biggest issue in Game 2 was that nobody was able to “cover up” Lewis’s lackluster play. Nelson and Carter both struggled from the field and for some reason I can not understand why Stan Van Gundy didn’t give Pietrus more than 15 minutes of action. Mickael Pietrus is my key to a Magic Game 3 victory, not only is he counted upon to bring some production off the bench, but he also can be the man who steps right in to fill Lewis’s scoring load.
As for Dwight Howard, the team’s catalyst, he’ll need another strong outing especially on the road. What concerns me so far in this series is Howard’s ability to play at both ends of the floor. In Game 1 he was a non-factor on offensively but tallied 12 rebounds and 5 blocks. Then in Game 2, he went off for 30 points but only snagged 8 rebounds and didn’t even record a block! Where in the world did the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year go?
Of course, that question isn’t referring to Dwight Howard’s vacation plans but it soon could be if the Magic can’t win Game 3. Celtics execute their game plan and get overall better team contributions leading them to victory.
Celtics- 97 Magic- 93