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NBA Playoffs Celtics Magic Game 4: Magic fight off the icy cold hands of Celtics to stay alive

May 24, 2010, 11:48 PM EDT

dunky.jpgYou didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, did you?

Actually, for a second there? We all probably did.

The Orlando Magic staved off elimination Monday night with a gutsy 96-92 overtime win in Boston, avoiding a sweep and sending the series back to Orlando for Game 5.

It was the first time all series that the Orlando Magic that had so competently destroyed teams in the second half of the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs made an appearance. Knocking down threes, playing tremendous defense by contesting every shot and closing lanes, creating open looks with multiple rotations off the pick and roll, and competing at an NBA championship-worthy level. Oh, yeah, and Dwight Howard did his thing.

The Big Freak was dominant, pouring in 32 points to go along with 16 rebounds, and the two were connected. Five of Howard’s boards were offensive, and in overtime, he simply was too much for the drunken seal, Glen Davis, to stop. This after Glen Davis played a fine game, even nailing an 18 footer to get the Celtics back within one possession late in the third.

This one was an all-out fight, stop to finish, and nearly ended up with one. Dwight Howard popped Kevin Garnett in the mouth with a loose arm that may or may not have been drawn upward by KG (depending on if you prefer blue or green), and Garnett responded with a shove, drawing a technical. That brought the Celtics back into it and they went on to take the lead at one point.

The Celtics lost despite a brilliant game from Paul Pierce, who had 32 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals, including a vicious dunk late in the fourth where he blew past J.J. Redick like he wasn’t there. The one thing that’s been certain in this series is that neither Vince Carter nor Mikael Pietrus, nor Matt Barnes can stay with Pierce in any respect.

The Magic back court was a huge weapon Monday, with Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick combining for 35 points, knocking down 9 of 12 three pointers between the two of them. Redick’s defense on Ray Allen continued to be superb and gave the Magic another weapon and ball handler, even if Allen knocked down a few tough shots and Redick had a few turnovers in the process. The net gain was a positive, much better than Vince Carter who had three points, 3, in an elimination game.

After Garnett’s little tussle and outburst, he knocked down a huge jumper over Jameer Nelson, then made a face and a hand gesture and basically acted like Kevin Garnett. However, Garnett continuously passed up shots in overtime, creating turnovers and bad possessions.

So now the series returns to Orlando, and you can bet this won’t sit well with the Celtics. For as many things as went wrong for them Monday, they had a chance in overtime before Jameer Nelson started dropping bombs like the air force, and will look to not let the Magic any further up off the mat. The Magic have to take their success tonight and add to it, maintaining the intensity and somehow getting some level of contribution from Matt Barnes, Mikael Pietrus, or Vince Carter.

Otherwise, this will be what’s referred to as a gentleman’s sweep. Where you give the opponent one, you know, to be polite.

  1. Efueshe - May 25, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    HAHAHA I’m still laughing at the fact Jeff Van Gundy and Mama-There-Goes-Your-Man Mark Jackson were calling Baby “fleet footed” and “quick”… they left out “agile” and “moves like a gazelle”, two imperative traits of Big Baby Davis;D

  2. luffy - May 25, 2010 at 4:19 AM

    Lucky Break for the Magic team. I’d still prefer Hedo Turkoglu over Vince Carter. But what the hell, money talks anyways and Turk got greedy, now he’s looking dumb in that Toronto team. W/Chris Bosh about to leave, they might just be the next New Jersey next season…

  3. khn - May 25, 2010 at 7:35 AM

    Pierce had a good game, but I’m so tired of seeing him play iso in the 4th quarter; it doesn’t work. The Celtics win as a team not on iso.

  4. Anthony - May 25, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    It took the Magic three games to figure out they should push ball up the floor ahead of the celtics defense. They should have watched the tapes from last year.

  5. eugene - May 25, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    If intensity means hacking and blatant fouling, then I guess the Magic found renewed intensity. Howard played about as dirty as I’ve seen anyone play and it was ridiculous how bad the calls were in favor of the Magic. Think the refs must get incentives to keep the series going.

  6. Josh - May 25, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Eugene,
    Blatant fouling? You must not be seeing the same game, he’s using all the same tactics the C’s use. Garnett with his ridiculous consistent arguing with referees if anyone puts a hand on him.
    You think the referees have a hand in this? If anything the entire NBA would rather see the same ol, same ol’ Boston/L.A. match up than having Orlando in it. The way Orlando has played the past three games, I don’t blame fans for being upset. However, the Magic showed hustle, determination and an overall better strategy.
    It’s always the same teams in these championships for the past decade (then the Bulls prior to that), “smaller” market teams like Orlando, NJ (if they were good), MINN (again same applies), OKC (they are up and coming, with promise.) get screwed. I’ve been a huge NBA fan for years, but consistently hate pro sports as there’s no loyalty in it. (I understand the upcoming and likely pain the Cavaliers will likely feel this summer) Those “smaller-market” teams that get lucky to draft a great player are lucky to keep him for the initial 3-4 years, then they’re off to a “bigger” area.
    Pish posh to the refs not wanting to see the Celtics/Lakers…. same old stuff. *Yawn*

  7. Boston Hater since 1968 - May 25, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    Can someone tell me where did Vince Carter get the deer in the headlight look? I never seen a star choke so bad in a big series. P.S. Can someone in blue give Howard help on the boards? Have there ever been a sofer 6’10” guard ever in basketball history?

  8. Boston Hater since 1968 - May 25, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    Can someone tell me where did Vince Carter get the deer in the headlight look? I never seen a star choke so bad in a big series. P.S. Can someone in blue give Howard help on the boards? Have there ever been a softer 6’10” guard ever in basketball history than Rashed Lewis? Orlando need to get someone who doesn’t wear a dress in the frontcourt beside Howard. Pierce and Garnett both think that they are in Hollywood with their acting. One think is guarantee that Pierce will do his poor man Willis Reed imination on Wedesday. OOOh I’m hurt. Qentin Richardson was right. They are such fakers.

  9. Jeff in Florida - May 25, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    I am a Magic fan and I agree with you. Don’t worry the Magic will lose the next game.

  10. Jeff - May 25, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    V. Carter is good but will never be great. He’ll always be a softie all his life and will never be a leader. Magic made a mistake of getting him.

  11. Jack in CT - May 25, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    Basketball? Looked more like a street fight.
    We don’t play basketball anymore, Dorothy.

  12. wayne - May 25, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Magic can win if they use the full court press from the opening tip on. NY Knicks under Red Holzmen were very successful with it. Boston is old and by the end of the game will run out of steam. But the Magic must run, run, run when they have the ball & go full court press (not even allow the in bound pass)when Boston has the ball for all the game.

  13. wayne misner - May 25, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Magic can win if they use the full court press from the opening tip on. NY Knicks under Red Holzmen were very successful with it. Boston is old and by the end of the game will run out of steam. But the Magic must run, run, run when they have the ball & go full court press (not even allow the in bound pass)when Boston has the ball for all the game.

  14. Omnius - May 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Don’t make too much of the Orlando Mundane finally waking up and playing a tough game against the Geriatric Celtics. Sure was funny to watch the wizened old geezers of Boston run out of gas in overtime. The Mundane may play one more good game at home to extend the Eastern CreamPuff Conference Finals but they won’t be able to play 3 more games like last night. Just waiting to see who will be the sacrificial lamb that gets slaughtered by Kobe and the Lakers, the defending NBA Champs!

  15. ill gee - May 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Vince Carter has ALWAYS choked in ALL platoff games… and this si coming from a Nets fan! he couldn’t help Jason Kidd no matter how hard he tried… He definitely won’t be able to help Howard who has a lesser B-ball IQ then Kidd! let’s be real about this!

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