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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I am a homer but the Magic still don't scare me

After barely surviving against the Chicago Bulls in a marathon seven game series, the Boston Celtics predictably laid an egg in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last night at the Garden against the Orlando Magic.

The C's finally closed out Chicago on Saturday night and only had one day of rest before Orlando came to town. They didn't use that as an excuse for last night's sorry showing but I will.

And you know what? Boston couldn't have played much worse (down by 28 points early in the third quarter) but they cut it to four late in the fourth and had a pretty realistic chance to win.

Orlando held on 95-90 and Game 2 is tomorrow night at the Garden.

Dwight Howard was all over the place for the Magic with 16 points, 22 rebounds and three monster blocks. Rashard Lewis added 18 points and seven boards. Hedo Turkoglu scored 15 points. The biggest surprises were J.J. Redick, who scored 12 and Mickael Pietrus, who came off the bench and dropped 17 points. If Boston can shut down those two scrubs a little more, they should be in really good shape over the rest of the series.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 23 points, Rajon Rondo had 14 points (on 2-of-12 shooting and 10 made free throws), 10 rebounds, eight assists, seven turnovers and three steals. Glen Davis scored 12 points before fouling out. Kendrick Perkins notched six points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.

Just like Game 1 vs. Chicago, Ray Allen was M.I.A. with nine points. Another good sign for the series is that the Boston bench had 26 points. Brian Scalabrine scored 10 points and Stephon Marbury added eight points in a quick flurry.

Tomorrow night is pretty much a must-win for the Celts as they have to salvage one game at home before they go to Orlando.

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