Superman couldn’t defeat a super team. Dwight Howard’s 30 points led a rejuvenated Orlando Magic team to an impressive Game 2 effort. But as predicted, the former NBA Champion Boston Celtics came away with the 3 point victory.
There are plenty of positives to take away from the Orlando Magic’s Game 2 effort. But the bottom line is they squandered two home games, and whether they admit it or not, should start to panic as they head to Boston.
Quarter 1 Recap
In the infancy (9:12 mark) of the game Orlando earned their first lead of the Series 10-9. Boston’s Paul Pierce scored the Celtics first 9 points. Vince Carter who has been an offensive force for the Magic picked up a crucial 2nd foul with 6:34 to play, sending him to the bench. 4:26 Dwight Howard pounds his first dunk of the series. 3:40 Paul Pierce earns his second personal foul and likewise is designated to the bench. Orlando’s JJ Reddick came off the bench to lift the Magic with 9 points in the quarter. The Celtics led by as many as 11 before the Magic closed the quarter on a 16-4 run to hold a 1 point lead 28-27.
1st Half Recap
Paul Pierce re-entered the game at the 9:34 point. Vince Carter would start the 2nd and earn his third foul at 5:12 to play. At 4:16 Superman Dwight Howard flexed his powers on the head of Paul Pierce to earn an obvious and foolish flagrant foul. Magic fans should pray Howard doesn’t get suspended by the NBA for the next playoff game, as he should.
Boston outscored Orlando 26-23 in the quarter to carry a 2 point 53-51 half-time lead.
Orlando bested Boston in the first half stats shooting 45% FG to Boston’s 44%. Orlando was 4 for 8 from 3-point land compared to just 4 for 12 for Boston. And the Magic made 13 of 17 FT compared to Boston’s 13 of 18. The 28 fouls handed out in the first half was a good indicator the game would be hard fought to the finish.
3rd Quarter Recap
Boston grew a 78-70 third quarter lead with a 13-1 run helped by the Magic spending 6½ minutes without a field goal. Three notable bizarre incidents occurred in the quarter. At the 8:00 minute mark Referee Joe Dirosa who appeared to have a quick trigger when T-ing up Vince Carter after a poor foul call, threw the basketball at heckling fan just above the scorers table. While we don’t know the intent, it certainly was uncharacteristic for any official to do. 45 seconds later Magic fans got a scare with a potential left hand injury to Vince Carter who fell awkwardly. He would return in the 4th.
4th Quarter Recap
11:10 Celtics tie largest lead of the night 81-70. 7:44 Perkins fouls out for Boston after 10 points and 5 Rebounds. 6:05 Magic close the deficit to two points 83-85. 3:36 Magic take the lead 90-89. 2:44 Celtics reclaim the lead 91-90. 34.7 seconds remaining Boston amasses three point lead 95-92. 31.9 seconds remaining Paul Pierce fouls out of the game. Vince Carter misses both free-throw attempts. Celtics hang on to win by 3 points.
Game 3 Prediction
In the storied Boston Celtics dynasty, the 2010 Celtics wrote yet a new milestone earning two back to back playoff road wins to start a series, for the first time ever.
The fact that Boston had to do something they had never done before as a franchise to earn the game 2 win is little consolation to Magic fans.
Positives for the Magic: Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were a combined 6 for 22 FG for a total of 14 points. The Celtics defense was not able to contain Dwight Howard and his 30 points. The Magic regained their 3-point sharp shooting touch with 39% compared to just 33% for the Celtics.
Negatives for the Magic: It didn’t matter that Ray Allen had an off night, which is typical for him after a large offensive output in a previous game. The fact that Kevin Garnett hasn’t dominated offensively yet, still doesn’t matter. Instead, Celtics Raja Rondo and Paul Pierce combined for 53 points and 13 assists. The Celtics have too many weapons and too many ways to beat the Orlando Magic.
As predicted, each battle would be hard fought, yet in the end Boston would emerge victorious. After correctly predicting the Celtics to win by 3 points in Game 2, I predict the Celtics to win Game 3. This is a must win game for the Magic, and if the Celtics can have a 2 possession lead or more in the fourth quarter, it will cause the Magic to play from a position of panic. Celtics will win Game 3 by 12 points.