Payback is a $%&@
But the Orlando Magic would have none on this night falling to the Boston Celtics 91-83 in historic fashion.
Monday’s loss was hurtful and embarrassing. Orlando wanted to prove that Boston’s first win was a fluke because a team with 5 rotation players missing should never win by 31.
The Orlando Magic said all the right things before their second game with Boston this week. “This isn’t a statement game”, “We just want a win”, etc.
All the things that they were supposed to say. Then they let the truth be told in their play when they were winning and then again when started to unravel. This game did matter.
Entering tonight’s round 2 the Celtics were without Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Jermaine O’neal and lost Keyon Dooling (hip pointer) in the 2nd quarter for the rest of the contest.
For about 30 minutes the Magic were on the road to redemption but a tragedy of vast proportions occurred in the final 18 minutes.
Orlando jumped out to an early 32-16 lead at the end of the first quarter despite Dwight Howard only logging 3 minutes with foul trouble. Orlando kept the pressure on taking a half time lead of 58-37 behind crisp ball movement and rebounding. They were in complete control and looked like world beaters leading by as many as 27 and then…
Boston’s defense seemed to flip a switch while Paul Pierce championed the Celtics comeback charge on offense in the second half. I don’t know if the Celtics are still a championship team but they have plenty of championship fight left in them. Pierce has definitely got his swagger back lighting the Magic up for 24 points (19 in the second half), 10 assists, with 6 rebounds.
The game became very physical in the second half with Orlando shrinking at the chest beating style in which the Celtics play defense. Coach Van Gundy said ” We got frustrated with the physical play, we got frustrated with the officials and we just got totally out of our game…I think some things were deflating and we didn’t handle those well. We had a loss of composure and its a very difficult loss to take.”
At one point during the comeback Doc Rivers was so fired up he met Marquis Daniels at half court during a timeout barking words of encouragement. Rivers commented after the game “That was a character builder for our team, it really was…This is about as good as a team win that you can have.”
If Avery Bradley deserved a game ball in Boston’s first win over the Magic, then E’Twaun Moore deserved it for this win. Once Dooling went out Doc had no choice but to entrust his rookie with quality minutes and Moore responded. Great ball pressure with 16 points including 4-4 from the three point line made Moore a difference maker in the game. He hit the go ahead three that put the Celtics up 79-76 with 7:32 remaining, a lead they would not relinquish.
Both Howard and Van Gundy made comments that Magic players tried to do too much and stepped out of their normal roles. “We all gotta do a better job” said Howard “1 to 15, including me”.
Van Gundy forever self deprecating was quoted as saying “It almost defies logic that we would score 58 points in the first half with Dwight playing six minutes and then Dwight playing the whole second half we can’t score…I can’t take myself out of it. I have not done a good job in finding stuff that we can run offensively.”
It continues to be a record setting week for the Magic with this one being another they wish had not been broken. The 21 point comeback after halftime was the largest blown lead in Orlando Magic history. The team will try to get back on the right side of history tomorrow night against the Hornets.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com