Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Game review: Celtics (23-5) 86, Magic (22-8) 77


Thanks to a tremendous Boston defensive effort and ice-cold Magic shooting, especially in the first half, the Celtics, without Paul Pierce, were able to hold off a late Magic charge and come away with the victory.

The Magic had maybe their worst first half in franchise history, but actually started off quickly in the first five minutes, jumping out to a 12-6 lead, before the Celtics got going and cut the Magic lead to 19-18 after one quarter. Things really got ugly for the Magic in the second quarter. The Magic led 25-20 with under 8 minutes remaining, only to see the Celtics go on a 18-2 run the rest of the quarter and lead at the half 38-27. The Magic missed 15 of their final 16 shots of the half, and shot 10 of 40 overall in the first half, 4 for 22 in the second quarter, scoring just 8 second quarter points. The Celtics extended their lead to as much as 49-35 in the third quarter before the Magic cut their deficit to 61-53 going into the fourth quarter. The Celtics continued to maintain between a 7 and 10 point lead through the fourth quarter, until the final 2 minutes. The Magic scored 6 points in a row to cut the Celtics' lead to 76-72 with 1:22 remaining. The closest the Magic were able to get was 78-75 with 1:02 remaining, but the Celtics scored 8 of the final 10 points for the final margin of victory.

Magic leading scorers

Vince Carter: 27 points (10 of 20 FGs, 6 of 7 FTs), 5 rebounds, 4 steals
Rashard Lewis: 19 points (5 of 14 FGs, 6 of 7 FTs)
Mickael Pietrus: 9 points (3 of 7 FGs)
Jameer Nelson: 8 points (3 of 11 FGs)
Dwight Howard: 5 points (1 of 7 FGs), 20 rebounds, 4 blocks, 7 turnovers

Overall Game Statistics

FG%: BOS 42.5% (31 of 73) ORL 33.3% (26 of 78)
3 PT FG%: BOS 26.7% (4 of 15) ORL 19.2% (5 of 26)
FT%: ORL 83.3% (20 of 24) BOS 71.4% (20 of 28)
REB: BOS 48 (10 offensive) ORL 43 (9 offensive)
AST/TO: BOS 19/21 ORL 7/18
BENCH: BOS 19 ORL 9

Other game notes and stats:

-The Celtics' Rajon Rondo nearly had a triple double, finishing with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists to more than offset his 8 turnovers
-Four other Celtics finished in double figures, led by 18 points from Ray Allen and 16 points from Tony Allen, starting for the injured Paul Pierce; Kevin Garnett added 10 points
-Rasheed Wallace added 11 points and 8 rebounds off the Celtics' bench
-The Magic bench shot a combined 4 of 19 from the field, including 0 for 6 on threes
-Matt Barnes (5 points) and Ryan Anderson (4 points) were the only Magic bench players to score
-Nelson led the Magic with 3 assists, as the Magic had only 7 total assists on 26 field goals
-Other than Carter, the Magic shot 16 of 58 from the field
-Other than Lewis, the Magic shot 2 of 18 on threes
-Brandon Bass and Anthony Johnson did not play for the Magic
-The Magic now trail the Celtics by 2 games for the top spot in the East

Here is the complete box score and recap from nba.com

10 Comments:

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    This was a disappointing loss considering that Magic has been at home for a long time to be able to clean up the deficiencies in their game. There are a few things which come to mind:

    1 - Bad shooting. One of those nights that they could not make open shots or make easy lay-ups. What are you gonna do?
    2 - Dwight's mental flaws. He allowed Perkins to get under his skin once again causing unnecessary fouls and bad offense under the basket.
    3 - On the positive side, 1) VC had a good game; 2) Magic fought to the end; 3) The defense was good overall; and 4) since we won on BOS's home court, this game had only the weight of one loss, and not a statement game of any kind.

    Magic should forget about this game and since they will have 5 days at home before they play again, they should get enough practice to address the deficiencies, and get everybody, especially the starters in sync.

     
  • At 2:45 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    It's funny, the Magic beat Boston earlier without Jameer Nelson, and now, Boston beats the Magic without Paul Pierce.

    33% shooting from the Magic, including 19% three point shooting; 18 Magic turnovers, and being outrebounded by 5 rebounds... not exactly a recipe for a Magic victory. Their assist/turnover ratio of 7/18 was really bad.

    The Celtics played tremendous defense, but to be honest, the Magic are not going to win any games where they shoot 5 of 23 on three pointers. When was the last time the Magic won a game when they made 5 or fewer three pointers.

    Boston really knows how to play Dwight Howard defensively. In 80 minutes against Boston this season, Howard has made just 3 field goals. When they can stifle Howard so much offensively, and the Magic's three pointers aren't dropping, that's bad news for the Magic.

    Coach Van Gundy admitted after the game that he has to find more ways for D12 to get involved on offense for the next time they play the Celtics.

    As Matt noted in his comments, there were positives for the Magic in this game. Usually, when a team holds the opposition to 42 1/2% FG shooting and causes them to commit 21 turnovers, that's a win.

    The Magic need to do a much better job of controlling Rajon Rondo next time; he had a heck of a game for the Celts.

    The Magic bench played maybe their worst game of the season, with only 9 points. Barnes provided a lot of energy when he was out there, but was cold-shooting like most of the rest of his teammates.

    Hopefully, the Magic will follow through on the last paragraph of Matt's comment. The five day break from games should refresh the Magic and get them ready for the New year.

     
  • At 4:28 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I made an error in my previous comment... the Magic shot 5 of 26 on threes, not 5 of 23 as I had stated.

     
  • At 7:08 AM, Anonymous EILEEN FROM OVIEDO said…

    I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY COACH VAN GUNDY DIDN'T PLAY ANTHONY JOHNSON AT ALL, THOSE OTHER POINT GUARDS WERE TIRED FOR THE MAGIC-PISTONS GAME, AND NEVER PLAYS BRANDON BASS, HE'S STRONG, GOOD SHOOTER AND TAKES THE BALL TO THE BASKET, SOMETIMES I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE COACHES MOVES, SOME OF THESE PLAYERS ARE LEFT IN A LONG TIME, TOO LONG AND THE COACH JUST KEEP USING THE SAME PLAYERS WITHOUT BRINGING IN SOME OF THE 3RD STRING.ALSO WHY DON'T THESE GUYS GET AGGRESSIVE AND GO TO THE BASKET AND FORGET TRYING TO MAKE SO MANY 3 POINTERS, APPARENTLY IT ISN'T WORKING AND THEY ARE COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER ON 3 POINTERS, LET'S GO TO THE GLASS GUYS, GET SOME GUTS!!!!

     
  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 10:51 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    It is funny that a bunch of morons have written an obituary of Magic's season after an off night. These armchair generals, and I dare to add others including Magic Johnson who foolishly cared only for watching LeBron and Kobe to go at each other and a semi-retired Sahq to show his face back in LA, should note the following:

    1 - Magic had an off night but yet if they had made only 5 more 3s (at 38.4%)- and forget about horrible 2-point shooting - they would have won the game. In fact, I would say that, if Rashard had made the 3-pointer when the game was at 78-75 who knows how the game would have developed afterwards?
    2 - Perkins has foolishly claimed that he has found the way to defend Dwight. That is the same with the rest of the league who just play close to Dwight and keep pushing and fouling him until he gets frustrated and start throwing up bricks even close under the basket. So the issue is Dwight's frame of mind not a nobody in Perkins who was never considered for any accolades in defense. As coach Van Gundy mentioned we have to get the ball to Dwight in ways which are harder to defend, and I may add, that Dwight needs to learn to pass a lot more when his path to the basket is blocked by pesky defenders. In fact, Dwight likes a bit of space to operate, and when teams play him close he tends to turn the ball over; we did not help him much on some the balls that were thrown to him last night causing the deflections and turnovers.
    3 - Magic has beaten BOS on its home-court not only in the play-offs but this year, as well. This team is far from its peak since it has recently got its projected starting five in place. There are still plenty of corrections to be made to get the team in sync defensively, and that has taken the focus away from the offense. But this team can shoot the lights out on any given night.
    4 - I disagree with those who say take the ball to the rack if your 3s are not falling. Magic is the best 3-point shooting team in the league, and they have to take open 3-point shots, becuase if they don't all teams will collapse in the paint and make it difficult to drive anyway. There should be a fine balance between shooting and driving, but no matter what, Magic is going to shoot when they are open and that is how it should be due to the efficiency of the shooters that they have.

     
  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I have to correct a bad calculation in item # 1. I meant 4 more 3s at 34.6% for the win. 3 more 3s at 30.8% would tie up the game, or probably enough to win it considering that we did not have to foul at the end.

     
  • At 6:45 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Eileen, thanks for your comments, and let me try to address a couple of them:

    Sure, Coach Van Gundy could have tried Anthony Johnson for a few minutes, but I doubt that would have made any difference in the outcome. With Nelson back, Jason Williams is the backup at PG, and as a result, Anthony Johnson is relegated to third string and probably won't be seeing much action unless a game is a blowout. Johnson played more than rtespectable as the backup PG when Nelson was out injured.

    Regarding Brandon Bass... SVG does not like to use him at the same time with Howard on the court, because Bass doesn't have the three point range that Lewis and Anderson have which spaces the floor more for Dwight. Depending on matchups with the opposition, Bass can play some as backup center, as he has on several occasions this season. The fact that Bass hasn't been part of the regular Magic rotation lately speaks volumes as to the magic depth.

    Regarding that the Magic aren't aggressive enough... I liked the fact that Vince Carter went to the hole several times in the second half and drew fouls, and that also opened up the outside as the defenders collapsed on Carter, as when he passed to the open Rashard Lewis who drained a three late in the game. Basically, the Magic are going to shoot their share of threes, because they shoot them so well normally, but when they see an opportunity to drive to the basket, they need to try and take advantage.

     
  • At 5:25 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    Mike, I agree that BB doesn't spread the floor the way Lewis and Anderson do. But on a night that the 3's obviously aren't falling, something else needs to be done.

    Of the 5 starters for the Magic, 4 of them are very capable 3 point shooters. Which is 2-3 more than most teams have. You'd have thought someone would have hit with some consistancy.. One of the TNT talking heads last week said something to the fact of: When the Magic aren't hitting their 3's they aren't going to win very many games...
    And to some extent I think that is true. Against lesser teams without a dominate big, Dwight can have his way in the paint even if our 3 point shots aren't falling.
    But the Celtics have learned how to frustrate Dwight. And look how the Cav's were able to control Gasol and Bynum on the Lakers. Even Dalembert gets under Dwights skin and he starts commiting silly fouls and turnovers..
    Like Matt said in a previous post, we need a Enforcer in there. If for no other reason than to take some of the pressure off Howard and use his 6 fouls to knock some heads together..
    The Magic might be able to get away with it in the regular season, but when the playoffs start, they are gonna throw everything but the kitchen sink at Howard, and if our 3's aren't falling, we are pretty much screwed.

     
  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Ken:

    I agree that BB could be used more, and who knows may be all we needed in that game was a couple more rebounds and defensive stops which BB could provide. However, I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the coach on match-up issues.

    I think more than anything, Dwight needs to shrug off the close contact defense and hard fouls which he does not like. Whining by him or his coach would do no good, yet on the contrary would portray him as a nagger; that did no good for Shaq in the way games were officiated, and I tend to think it's the same with Dwight. Additionally, I see that when Dwight is frustrated, he tends to lower his shoulder or use his elbow to fend off defenders unnecessarily. That ought to stop.

    As I mentioned before, defense was a concern but it is getting better although probably at the cost of less focus on offense in practice. We got the projected starters back together, and without any unpredictable injury, the team should be able to peak in time. We will evaluate the team again by the end of January, and issue balanced score cards for the players and coaches.

     

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