Celtics/Magic matchups and preview
Here are the playoff statistics for each team at their respective positions, with the Celtics listed first. Of course, individual matchups will vary at different points in the games between the two teams.
PG... Rajon Rondo: 18.0 ppg, 11.1 asts, 6.3 rebs
Jameer Nelson: 20.5 ppg, 5.2 asts, 2.6 rebs
A terrific matchup here, with a healthy Nelson one of the reasons why the Magic are better than last season's Eastern Conference champs, while Rondo starred against Cleveland. Nelson is the decidedly better outside shooter between the two, which could give the Magic a slight edge.
SG... Ray Allen: 17.4 ppg, 3.0 rebs, 2.8 asts
Vince Carter: 16.9 ppg, 4.5 rebs, 2.4 asts
Carter came alive and played well in the second round after a sluggish performance in the first round against Charlotte, while Allen has had a good playoffs.
SF... Paul Pierce: 16.3 ppg, 5.1 rebs, 3.5 asts
Matt Barnes: 7.4 ppg, 4.8 rebs, 1.6 asts
Barnes will not defend Pierce, as Carter will get the call while Barnes defends Ray Allen, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
PF: Kevin Garnett: 17.6 ppg, 8.3 rebs, 2.3 asts
Rashard Lewis: 16.4 ppg, 5.5 rebs, 2.6 asts
Garnett is healthy and playing well, while Lewis has had a solid playoffs and is shooting well. Garnett is the better defensive player which gives the Celtics a slight edge.
C: Kendrick Perkins: 6.3 ppg, 7.3 rebs
Dwight Howard: 15.4 ppg, 11.2 rebs
Perkins has given Howard problems in the past down low defensively, so it will be interesting to see how Howard does offensively and if Perkins can get him in foul trouble, but D12 played well in the Atlanta series after being frustrated by Charlotte.
RESERVES... Tony Allen (7.5 ppg, 2.4 rebs), Glen Davis (7.4 ppg, 3.7 rebs), Rasheed Wallace (5.1 ppg, 2.2 rebs), Nate Robinson (3.0 ppg), Michael Finley (1.4 ppg)
Mickael Pietrus (10.2 ppg), J.J. Redick (4.8 ppg), Marcin Gortat (3.9 ppg, 4.5 rebs), Ryan Anderson (2.9 ppg, 3.6 rebs), Jason Williams (1.8 ppg, 1.5 asts)
Boston's reserves really stepped up against Cleveland, while Pietrus continues to play well in the playoffs for the Magic, just like last season. Other Magic reserves have not seen as much playing time in the playoffs as the regular season, so their averages are down somewhat. Still, the Magic reserves have the slight edge, with Gortat playing well on the occasions Howard has been in foul trouble.
According to sportsbook.com, the Magic are -260 favorites (wagering $260 to win $100 plus the original wager) to win the series, while the Celtics are +210 underdogs (wagering $100 to win $210 plus the original wager).
This article from Wil Bradley of Bleacher Report details six reasons why the Magic will remain Eastern Conference Champions.
Here is a preview of the Magic/Celtics series from Yahoo! Sports.