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Monday, May 18, 2009
So this is how it ends?
I guess we were all just lying to ourselves when we thought the Boston Celtics (minus KG and Leon Powe) could actually advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where LeBron and the Cavs surely would have wiped the floor with them.
Reality was a bitter pill to swallow last night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Garden as the Orlando Magic stomped the Celtics, 101-82.
The defending NBA champions are out and when you think about it, how did they even make it this far?
Playing an eight-man rotation, the C's outlasted Chicago in seven games then had a 3-2 series lead vs. Orlando before losing the last two.
It's a testament to Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kendrick Perkins, Ray Allen, Glen Davis, Eddie House, Doc Rivers, etc. that Boston made that much noise.
Whether it was being a homer or just not believing in the Magic, I really thought the C's would win going into last night but they simply ran out of gas.
The Magic were also 13-of-21 on 3-pointers and Boston could not get enough stops on defense, coupled with hoops.
Hedo Turkoglu led Orlando with a game-high 25 points, 12 assists and five rebounds. Rashard Lewis added 19 points and Mickael Pietrus once again dominated off the bench with 17 points. Is he really that good? Boston made him look like an All-Star in the series.
Rafer Alston had 15 points and Dwight Howard notched 12 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
After an awful series individually, Ray Allen was the only Celtic to show up last night offensively. Allen had a team-high 23 points. Pierce only managed 16 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Davis added 13 points, Rondo went for 10 points, 10 assists and six boards while Perk added eight points and 15 boards.
Orlando started off on a roll and led 27-17 after the first quarter. Boston cut it to 45-38 at the half.
The C's had one last gasp as they outscored the Magic 23-21 in the third but Orlando had a 13-1 run in the fourth that sent the Garden crowd to the exits.
Orlando meets the Cavs while the Lakers (who blew out the Rockets in a Game 7) host the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.
More than anything, the finality of last night is the most painful thing. Once we knew KG wasn't coming back this postseason, we were resigned to our fate of not winning another title this June. Still, with triple-headers (Celts, Bruins and Red Sox) filling our weeks for the past month, it's crazy that now we don't have anything except the Red Sox for the next few months until Pats training camp and preseason heats up.
Nobody will cry for Boston fans since we've been spoiled for the past decade but it is still a rough patch for what had been an awesome spring.
With the Big Three returning and healthy (fingers crossed), the C's have another great shot at a title next season. Rondo and Perk made so much progress in one season, it's almost hard to believe. The biggest offseason questions revolve around whether to resign Big Baby (YES!) and Powe (depends on how his knee looks). This team has another run in them, I think that was proven by their heart this postseason.