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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The ship be sinking!"-Charles Barkley

Much of what makes sports so great is the unexpected. Still, it's also hilarious when a playoff series goes exactly as anyone would have predicted.

The Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics Eastern Conference semifinal series has been the latter.

The Celts played awful for 3.5 quarters last night at the Garden and still won 92-88 to win Game 5 and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Boston can close it out tomorrow night back in Orlando.

Orlando was up 14 points with eight minutes and change left in the game. Ten points with five minutes left. It didn't matter, that team is tissue paper soft. Their style of play is not conducive to success in the playoffs and after last night's game, they were all pointing fingers at each other which prompted Sir Charles' spectacular line (above).

Big Baby continued to play the best basketball of his life. He had a game-high 22 points and seven rebounds. Paul Pierce added 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Ray Allen (13 points) continued to struggle but in typical fashion, he made a huge shot: a 3-pointer late in the fourth that gave Boston its first lead since 8-6.

The Celts' young guys did not play well. Kendrick Perkins had six points and 11 rebounds while Rajon Rondo was held to six points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Other than the comeback, the story of the game was Stephon Marbury. He had 12 points (all in the fourth quarter) as he gave his team a huge lift when it needed it most.

Orlando got 19 points from Rashard Lewis and 12 points and 17 boards from Dwight Howard. Hedo Turkoglu added 18 points and seven assists while Rafer Alston notched 16 points and six assists but he missed a late 3-pointer that would have been vital.

The biggest number to point to for the Celtics was their perfect night at the free throw line: 21 for 21. The Magic were just 10 for 12 as they continued to settle for jumpers (6 of 24 on threes).

Like the Bruins, the Celtics have all the momentum in this series and I expect them to win tomorrow night in Orlando. Granted, the margin of error is razor-thin for this group and they never seem to make it easy on themselves but they broke Orlando's will last night. You can't overlook that fact.

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