This was a pretty sloppy game overall. The Celtics used clutch free throwing by Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to close it out at the end 92-88. The Celtics played well defensively, but the Magic missed a ton of open shots. Orlando was held to 32 points in the first half and looked downright awful. Dwight Howard has to be the most overrated superstar in the league. He has no offensive game and doesn't really seem to care if they win or not. Sure, Perk is one of the best low post defenders in the league, but if your nickname is Superman you need to score more than 13 points on 3-10 shooting from the field. I've said all year that the Magic were a better team last year than they are this year. This game certainly did nothing to change my mind. That being said they still had a chance to win, and for us to win this series we will have to continue to play better.
The Magic closed within 3 at the beginning of the 3rd, but the Celtics blew it open and stretched the lead to over 20 by the middle of the quarter. The Magic went on an 8-0 run run in the 4th quarter and closed within 5 with 1:40 left. I was nervous because this would have been a crushing defeat. It reminded me of a lot of games the Celtics played in the regular season.
The JJ Reddick miss was huge because I think the Magic might've won if he had hit that shot. I'm not sure why the Magic waited so long to foul at the end. The Magic missed a ton of shots that could've brought them within striking range. Pierce's two free throws were huge and we got away with a foul on Howard, though chances are he would've missed that free throw anyway. The Nelson put back was crazy and we can't allow those types of plays to happen again.
For the Celtics, Pierce was great with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. Ray was the star of this game with 25 points. More importantly he hit big shots every time the Magic started making a run. There really aren't many better run stopping shooters than Ray Allen. I am so glad we didn't trade him. Rasheed played excellent defense on Howard and hit some big shots as well. Wallace, dare I say, has played pretty well as of late. Rondo didn't have one of his superstar games, but was still the quarterback on the court and dished out 8 assists. Rashard Lewis was a non-factor and missed several open three pointers. Vince Carter was the only Magic player that really showed up, scoring 23 points.
The Celtics are a better team than the Magic, just like they were a better team than the Cavs. Dwight Howard is a liability on offense and it's crazy to me that he hasn't improved more on that end. This was a huge win for the Celtics. If they can take Game 2 on Tuesday the series will be basically over. Pierce and Ray Allen both played well in the same game for the first time ever. KG was efficient and they got some solid minutes from Tony Allen, Davis, and Rasheed off the bench. I think it was a good thing the game was close. Now Doc can go back and tell the guys that they need to play better. The truth is, the Celtics dominated the Magic for most of the game and the rest of the series is looking really good. We just need to hope Dwight Howard doesn't turn into Hakeem Olajuwon overnight. Let's get another win Tuesday!