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NBA Playoffs, Celtics Magic: Game 6 or bust for Boston

May 27, 2010, 9:13 AM EDT

Garnett_headdown.jpgGive credit to the Magic — a lot of teams would have just rolled over after losing three straight games and meekly surrendered their season. I’m looking at you, Atlanta. The Magic showed some fight, caught a couple breaks and won Game 4 in overtime.

Then they came out and threw a knockout punch. A haymaker. It connected right on Celtics jaw in Game 5. It seemed to give the Celtics a concussion, and I’m pretty sure Kendrick Perkins dropped an F-bomb when it landed and got ejected for it. For Celtics fans, that one hurt.

Except you can’t knock someone out with a second loss.

By rule, Boston lives to fight another day.

It is Game 6 or bust for Boston, it wants no part of a Game 7 back in Orlando. Friday night is the showdown.

Game 5 was just a perfect storm of things gone wrong for the Celtics. Orlando couldn’t seem to miss from three, hitting 52% of their shots, and Jameer Nelson was 4 of 5 from deep. JJ Redick stepped up to be everything Vince Carter is not. Celtics players kept getting in foul trouble. Dwight Howard played 40 minutes and collected just two personal fouls while being the most aggressive player on the floor. Ray Allen was cold (3-11). Jason Williams was breaking people’s ankles. Rashard Lewis looked healthy and was hitting shots against the Boston defense.

Game 6 will be different. The opponent’s rims always seem a little smaller in big games at the Garden. Ed Rush will not be one of the referees. Kendrick Perkins should be back (although predicting the whims of the league office is fraught with peril). Allen and Rajon Rondo will play better at home. Magic players may end up in some foul trouble.

But it comes down to defense. Always does with Boston.

Kevin Garnett must be inspiring and be everywhere, as he seemed to be at the start of this series. In the first three games the Celtics took away the Magic pick-and-roll and forced them to do other things, contested threes, and then turned defensive stops and turnovers into some easy buckets going the other way. Rondo was pushing the pace and probing the Magic. Wednesday night, it was Nelson doing that (and getting a couple easy buckets for the effort). In Game 6, Rondo has to stay in front of Nelson. He needs help on those picks, but he has got to recover and help defend the man who the whole Magic attack centers around. He needs to be back in transition. It is about the defense first.

Paul Pierce needs to step up, ditch the melodrama, and play like the 2008 Finals MVP. The Magic don’t have a good matchup to stop him. He had 18 points and got to the line 10 times in Game 5, but he needs to keep attacking plus shoot better than 3 of 8. He needs to be the unstoppable force. Finally, the Celtics bench needs to step up with better than the 5 for 14 shooting performance of Game 5 (once you take the hot but foul-prone Rasheed Wallace out of the equation). Tony Allen needs to hit shots. Sheed needs to keep hitting them, keep defending and stay out of foul trouble.

All of this can happen. The Celtics still lead this series, they still need just one win and they are heading home to a place that has been a fortress over the decades. Those banners hang up above because the Celtics win things like Game 6.

The Celtics are not in that much trouble. But they will be if they lose Friday night.

  1. F KOBE - May 27, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    F KOBE

  2. will dooley - May 27, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    Boston in 7 games. Bring back Ernie D.

  3. Levi - May 27, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I’m neither a Celtic’s fan nor a Magic fan. I enjoy good, team basketball. And we’re getting some of that in these playoffs, but still too much “it’s on my shoulders, let me fire it up” mentally for my money. And the Celtics’ homers complaining about DH’s elbow on Davis. C’mon!! If you’re standing under a taller man than you (and Davis was right under him) and the taller man is reaching up to bring the ball down, his elbows are going to come down on you!! It’s physics, you morons. Plain and simple.
    I can hear you now, ‘but what about this play or that play?’…. (insert expletives here)… ENJOY THE SERIES! IT’S FINALLY WORTHY! (Now you Cs fans stop thinking I’m a Laker fan due to the ‘worthy’ reference…)

  4. Jay Abramson - May 27, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I am a big Laker fan and I am loving the Magic right now. It would be ironic however if the finals ended up Magic vs. Suns. How quickly things can change in todays sports world.
    It just goes to show that none of these teams including the Lakers, can be considered great teams. There is just too much inconsistency and lack of focus from all of the final four teams.
    But at least the series are fun to watch now, got to love a seventh game for both series.

  5. Shrek Daddy - May 27, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    I agree with that – but i’m hoping only 6 for the Celts lol, man i hope.

  6. DudeDad - May 27, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    As a fan of none of the 4 teams remaining (my Wizards just missed out…LOL), I’m hoping for 7 games series all around! I do think that the C’s are in trouble…they do seem old and sluggish. Of course, like the NBA and the network that will host the finals, the worst scenario would be Suns/Magic….even then, I want a 7-game series!

  7. Michael - May 27, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Actually the Celtics have been down this road before.Up 3-2 and going home. They lost that game and game 7 to lose the series… against the Magic.

  8. Booner - May 27, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Jordan was a great basketball player but he was far from a class act? He was the most egotistical person alive, a serial philanderer (cheating on his wife for more than ten years), and someone who would stab anyone in the back to make himself look better.

  9. zerogee - May 27, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Really now, do you want Dwight to look down before he comes down with a rebound on the off chance someone happens to be in the area where they may be hit by an elbow? Davis was in the wrong place at the right time and was unfortunately hurt in the process. Intentional elbows are not excusable but lets be real the C’s are no angels in the department of playing dirty either. We did watch the same game where that crybaby Paul Pierce committed the foul and shoved off Redick like a bad habit then turns around to cry like a five year old school girl who had her Cabbage Patch kid stolen or do you suffer from selective blindness too? There are just as many questionable calls that went the other way. The C’s play just as dirty as anyone else would in this situation. It was the perfect storm last night and it worked out to Orlando’s advantage. It just as well could have gone the other way so quit crying Fontaines. Are you the e-version of Paul Pierce?

  10. [a] proxy - May 27, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Boston is showing fatigue. Boston still has the advantage, but that can easily change with the momentum in favor of Orlando. If Orlando gets hot, Boston is done. Then I will have official bragging rights for the rest of my life to say how both the Boston Bruins and Celtics both SUCK because they blew a 3-0 series in the 2010 playoffs. God would only be so kind to let this happen…lol.

  11. chilip33 - May 27, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    The Celtics are getting very, very tired and Dwight is young, strong and has decided not to be pushed around any more by the Celtic thugs.

  12. MattZ19 - May 27, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    your joking right? they lost by 21.

  13. kobe_sucks - May 28, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Kobe and his fan blow!

  14. kobe_sucks - May 28, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    First off, Boston wins today. Second, LA is a bunch of whining babies, fans included. Third, Boston will hang another banner. Fourth, Kobe is a sore loser and got lucky yesterday. The western Conference has nothing on the Eastern Conference. The teams in the east especially in these eastern conference finals are a lot tougher and more athletic than those in the West. Who has LA beaten? Thats why I believe when they C’s and Fakers meet possibly in the finals, LA will not be utterly destroyed. Bynum is slow footed, Pau looks like an ostrich and sucks at 2 foot jumpers, Kobe will continue to cry and act like Michael Jordan(GOAT) and Jordan Farmar will continue to look like Yoda. Boston will dominate them like they did in 08′. Kobe will score 15 pts. (like in the finals that year they lost) adn his squad will get smasehd by 30….mark my words. BOSTON CELTICS, UR 2010 NBA champions!!!!!

  15. kobe_sucks - May 28, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    hey chitown…….F KOBE!!!!

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