Unless you’re an extreme optimist or really do believe in magic, chances are you have the Boston Celtics in this year’s NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic are in a 3-0 hole and Boston is just one victory away from their second trip to the finals in two seasons. The Celtics can punch their championship tickets Monday night in Boston with a win in game four of the seven game series. Saturday, the Celtics coasted to a 95-71 pasting of mistake-prone Magic. After ripping off eight riveting playoff contests, the Magic have gone cold, dropping three straight. Their chances of coming back to take the Eastern Conference are slim to none with the way Doc Rivers’ Celtics are dazzling.
The Celtics opened the game 14-0 to steal the stage from the Beantown tipoff. Boston cruised to a 20-5 uncontested run in taking a 27-12 first quarter lead at TD Garden. The Celtics completely dominated Orlando with championship-style defense. Boston forced 11 Magic turnovers in the first half and smothered their Easter n rivals with 51.2% shooting. The Celtics’ offense dished out 14 assists before the intermission and saw six players finish in double digits by the end of the game. Glen Davis led the balanced Boston shooters with 17 points off the bench. Paul Pierce recorded 15 points and nine rebounds and Rajon Rondo ruled the show in assists, with 12. Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace also contributed with aggressive numbers. Allen had six assists and 14 points, while Wallace whipped Orlando from beyond the arc with pair of treys off the bench. Wallace notched 10 points as the hungry Celtics won without their injured swift shooter, Kevin Garnett.
The defending Eastern Conference champion Magic were propelled by Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter on offense. The 28 year old Nelson was 3-of-9 from downtown and tallied 15 points. Carter also bucketed 15 in the loss. Dwight Howard virtually vanished and was a nonfactor for the Magic. The 6’11” Howard had a team high seven rebounds but managed just seven baskets. The Magic shot over 83% from the charity stripe but were continually outhustled down the court and beaten in the paint. Rashard Lewis went 2-for-8 from the field and scored a disappointing four points. Lewis missed all four 3-point attempts. Orlando found themselves down by 28 points in the third quarter and trailed by as many as 32 at one point in the final session. Davis provided the energetic spark for Boston and Orlando couldn’t match his celebrated athleticism. The Celtics out-rebounded their opponents 43-36 and were colossal in converting from long range. They annexed a ridiculous 12 steals and made the Magic look miserable in handling the basketball. Orlando never led during the lopsided game three affair as their front court couldn’t put anything together.
Parting Points: Sad song of the day - “It’s For You”- The Fray
Let the French Open begin!