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Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Orlando Magic still do not scare me

We all enjoyed the Boston Celtics' 14-game win streak but it came to a crashing halt yesterday afternoon as they went ice cold in the fourth quarter and lost 86-78 to the new-look Orlando Magic at the Amway Center.

At least it happened on Christmas so you either didn't watch, didn't really pay attention or were too drunk on egg nog and gift giving to care.

As bad as both teams played for most of this game, this was one that the Celtics (23-5) let get away. Other than going down 13-0 in the first quarter (which they quickly answered with a 13-0) spurt of their own, they led for almost the entire game until they couldn't hit a shot or make a play in the fourth quarter and the Magic (18-12) suddenly couldn't miss.

The reason I don't fear the Magic is that we beat them in the Eastern Conference Finals last season and that was with a severly limited Kevin Garnett (22 points). Everything that Orlando does is built around Dwight Howard (6 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks) but he still is in his infancy as far as post moves and his offensive game (outside of dunks) is concerned. Shaq fouled out in 13 minutes yesterday and zombie Jermaine O'Neal returned and we still completely shut him down.

Paul Pierce added 18 points and Glen Davis had 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

For the Magic, Brandon Bass (21 points, 9 rebounds) was the spark for them when Howard was in foul trouble and generally couldn't get anything done offensively. Hedo Turkoglu had 16 points and Jameer Nelson added 12 points.

Off the bench, J.J. Redick (11 points) and Ryan Anderson (10 points) did a solid job.

In all the games that Rajon Rondo has missed, it is easy to point to this one as the game in which they missed him the most. Nate Robinson (7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 of 15 shooting) was miserable and without Delonte West, the Celts offense was out of whack.

Boston led 20-19 after the first quarter and 46-36 at halftime. The Celts were up 63-57 after three quarters before they fell apart in the fourth (29-15 Orlando).

The Magic shot 39.4% which is normally grimy but it was more than enough yesterday. Boston shot a pitiful 34.6% and even worse, the Magic hit seven more 3-pointers (11-4). Orlando had six more rebounds (45-39) and six more blocks (9-3).

The Cs will try to start a new win streak on Tuesday when they travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers.

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