While the Boston Celtics have flat-out dominated the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals they were caught off guard last night when the Magic decided to show up. Sitting in the stands I got to listen to a man say, “he’s pretty good” while watching Jameer Nelson put up 23 points including two clutch 3’s in overtime (no, he didn’t call glass). I guess it was easy for everyone to forget that the defending Eastern Conference champs posted 59 wins this season and take the series for granted with a 3-0 lead.
The Magic had a great gameplan although I’m sure three points from Vince Carter was not part of it. The Celtics struggled to push the tempo and the Magic did a great job defensively in transition. This forced the C’s into a lot of isolation sets and limited the ball movement that is such a huge part of the offense. On top of that the Magic effectively set high screens for Nelson confusing Rondo and creating mismatches for Dwight Howard who finally lived up to his image. Howard controlled the glass on both ends and made you forget his eight missed FT’s.
It will be impressive for the C’s to end the series in Orlando, but I think the Magic force a Game 6 back in Boston. With that said the C’s have never gone to six games or more when holding a 3-0 series lead.