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NBA Playoffs, Celtics Magic Game 6: Celtics defend their way to Finals, West had better beware

May 29, 2010, 12:06 AM EST

Pierce_celebrates.jpgJameer Nelson came off the picks like he had done for the last two games, attacked into the paint like he had done for two games, tried to shoot like he had for two games.

And there were long arms in the way. Not fouling, but altering shots. His kick-out passes led to contested Magic threes that were missed. The Celtics seemed to be everywhere, contesting everything. It looked like the first three games. It looked like 2008. They held the potent Magic offense to 43 percent shooting, more importantly just 6 of 22 from three.

The defense got the Celtics the win. The defense got them past Cleveland then Orlando in the East. It put them in the NBA Finals for the 21st time. It should strike fear in whomever comes out of the West.

The Celtics brought much better defensive energy tonight, plus they got back to what their game plan had been all series — go ahead and let Dwight Howard get his, don’t let the three point shooters get going.

Howard had 28 points on 11 of 17 shooting. With the Celtics fans letting him have it — he has become public enemy number one after the hard fouls in Game 5 — Howard did his part. But the rest of the Magic did not. They are an inside out team that shot just 27.3 percent from three.

It was not all great defense. The Magic had their chances — they got some open looks. But when things went bad, the Magic went away from what they do.

“I think early in the game we got outstanding shots, and they didn’t go down…” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy in his post game press conference, televised on NBA TV. “Then we started forcing our offense, instead of trying to get the same shots we had. Then we had some defensive lapses, we didn’t get back on defense. They had 16 first half points.”

Then at the start of the third, two key Ray Allen three solidified the Celtics lead at 19. After that the Magic pressed, they gambled, and none of it worked. For the most part the Celtics stayed disciplined. The Celtics seemed to have defensive lapses in the second half, but the Magic could do nothing about it.

Next Thursday either the Lakers or Suns will meet the Celtics defense. Two very different, very difficult teams to stop. But after what the Celtics have done the last two rounds, it is those teams out West that should fear the Celtics defense (the Lakers have it seared into their minds what it can do). If Boston keeps playing like they have, knocking off the teams with the two best records in the NBA, there may be no offense that can keep them from having to find room for another banner.

  1. Hill - May 29, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    Celtics are going meet the Lakers in the finals, with essentially the same team. So why would anyone this this one is going to turn out any differently? Celts in 6.
    Bynum will be a great center in the future, but he is not ready to dominate just yet.

  2. Drew - May 29, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    I agree, Celtics in 6 if they meet the Lakers again. What would be different is that the Lakers have homecourt advantage this time around where they’ve been undefeated in the playoffs. But, I think the Celtics’ defense is as good, if not better this time. They’re also a much better road team this time around.
    The Celtics are the worst matchup for the Lakers with their bruising style. They’ll push the bigs off the block and they’ll get dirty.
    I disagree about Bynum. I think he’s reached about his limit. Injuries are already piling up. His passing ability out of the post is horrendous. He seems nonchalant and emotionless and lacks the physicality and competitive spirit to be a dominant player. If you put him on a less talented roster and made him the #2 guy, I think he would struggle a lot. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I don’t see it. Seems like a good kid, though.

  3. Drew - May 29, 2010 at 1:24 AM

    I agree, Celtics in 6 if they meet the Lakers again. What would be different is that the Lakers have homecourt advantage this time around where they’ve been undefeated in the playoffs. But, I think the Celtics’ defense is as good, if not better this time. They’re also a much better road team this time around.
    The Celtics are the worst matchup for the Lakers with their bruising style. They’ll push the bigs off the block and they’ll get dirty.
    I disagree about Bynum. I think he’s reached about his limit. Injuries are already piling up. His passing ability out of the post is horrendous. He seems nonchalant and emotionless and lacks the physicality and competitive spirit to be a dominant player. If you put him on a less talented roster and made him the #2 guy, I think he would struggle a lot. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I don’t see it. Seems like a good kid, though.

  4. Mark B - May 29, 2010 at 7:48 AM

    Third agreement,,,,,,, Celtics in 6 due to the crushing defense that has to weigh heavily mentally as well as physically when you see it night after night in a 7 game series.
    If the Lakers make it,(which they probably will) though they will realize the challenge the Celtics ‘D’ presents, through 3 playoff series the Lakers haven’t truly been pressured defensively quite like this. This fact will be daunting, as they will run into a vise grip-like defense, as opposed to what the Thunder, Jazz and Suns have thrown at them. It may be like a “shock-and-awe” wake up call, to which the Lakers haven’t seen in a while, and cannot be ready for.
    Whoever wins, they will be the last NBA Champion in history, as next May 21, Jesus Christ is returning to commence the Day of Judgment.

  5. Mark B - May 29, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    Third agreement,,,,,,, Celtics in 6 due to the crushing defense that has to weigh heavily mentally as well as physically when you see it night after night in a 7 game series.
    If the Lakers make it,(which they probably will) though they will realize the challenge the Celtics ‘D’ presents, through 3 playoff series the Lakers haven’t truly been pressured defensively quite like this. This fact will be daunting, as they will run into a vise grip-like defense, as opposed to what the Thunder, Jazz and Suns have thrown at them. It may be like a “shock-and-awe” wake up call, to which the Lakers haven’t seen in a while, and cannot be ready for.
    Whoever wins, they will be the last NBA Champion in history, as next May 21, Jesus Christ is returning to commence the Day of Judgment.

  6. Omnius - May 29, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    The Orlando Tragic just plain gave up in the first quarter. The Celtics defense looks good when playing against the Eastern Creampuff Conference’s poor offensive teams. Lakers will emerge from the Wild Wild West Shootout tonight in game 6, then they will shred the Celtic’s Ancient defense. Celtics would have been the 8 seed in the West, no match for the 1st seed in the West. Lakers in 6 games!

  7. Kansachusetts - May 29, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    2008 redux: Hot-gunning teams from the West capture everyone’s imagination. Most NBA fans and most sportswriters are star-oriented. Celtics rule.
    Omnius says: Lakers will emerge from the Wild Wild West Shootout tonight in game 6, then they will shred the Celtic’s Ancient defense. Celtics would have been the 8 seed in the West, no match for the 1st seed in the West. Lakers in 6 games!
    Omnius, I look forward to not seeing your comments after the Celtics host their 18th banner. Just like we’re not seeing comments from Heat, Cavaliers, and Magic fans anymore.
    By default, the West doesn’t play defense. Either the Suns or the Lakers will be stunned by the Celts and will fall in six.

  8. Drew - May 29, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    The Magic were one of the more potent offensive teams in the league and the Cavs weren’t bad either. They held the Magic under 100 in five of the six games, which is a pretty good accomplishment. I would hardly call them creampuff offensive teams. More impressive is how the Celtics were able to score so well against good defensive teams.
    Seeding means very little as history as shown us. It’s all about matchups and who is playing well at that time of year. The Spurs upended the Mavs, which on paper is a lopsided 2-7 matchup.
    The Celtics have the kind of rugged interior play which will bother the Lakers frontline and they have the bigs who can go out and chase Odom. That means Kobe will have to do an awful lot. We’ve seen when the Lakers don’t get enough interior production, they lose.

  9. deiong - May 29, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    hope they dont win, there the dirtiest team in nba history.

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