6th Fan Blogger | Nick Matkovich
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May 6, 2009
The City of Orlando, the Orlando Magic and Minnie Mouse all wanted the Magic to play the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The Magic voiced their pleasure about the match-up after the Celtics defeated the Bulls in the seven-game, stress-inducing, sleep-deprived series.
According to several Magic players, the team wanted to face the Celtics because beating the Celtics means establishing oneself as the class of the Eastern Conference.
After all, to the Magic, defeating Boston means kicking history square in the shamrocks and dethroning the defending champs.
Yeah, that must be true. Would you also believe me if I told you men intently watch Erin Andrews only to find out all the bells and whistles of the Cover 2 defense?
Orlando wanted Boston because Boston is old and shallow. Not old and shallow in the Uncle Leo way, but old and shallow in the "Tony Allen is really going to play that many minutes and you expect us to win?" way.
Boston depends on Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins to handle the chores of Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe and Kevin Garnett. While the two have shown flashes of competence, they cannot fill the void left by Powe and the NBA's version of Dennis Leary. (Before we go any further, I did not forget to include Brian Scalabrine. I choose to ignore him as long as he wears his concussion-proof headband).
Things have gotten so sour that Stephon Marbury was given applause befitting Larry Bird after he hit his first lay-up in game one. I only say this because of the distaste that every NBA fan has for Marbury. He's Latrell Sprewell in a world of P.J. Carlesimo's. Please listen Bonnie Tyler! Celtics fans are looking for a hero to fill Garnett's void. Marbury offered them a glimmer of hope.
Marbury's confidence grew with each shot after his impressive lay-up. He hit his next three shots. Eventually, his confidence outgrew his range and Marbury missed his last two attempts. The glimmer quickly faded into gloom.
While it's always personally amusing to see a man market his clothing line on the side of his head, the crowd's reaction to Marbury's makes were cheers of salvation, not reassurance.
The adulation towards Marbury shows the unenviable position Boston is in. The team is scraping by, relying on big shots from Ray Allen and a triple-double from Rajon Rondo just to make it to a seventh game in round one. The two are very good players and Allen sometimes drifts into great territory, but the NBA Championship was not won solely on their merits last season.
So now Orlando wants Boston. This particular Boston team on creaky knees and trick ankles. How does a win against these Celtics validate anything? Isn't the Magic over-glorifying the idea of beating a second seed with fifth-seed talent?
This series should go no longer than six games, and I'd be a little bit surprised to see it stretch that many. Orlando has an inside-out game where Howard can control the Kevin Garnett Understudies and Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis can hit shots over their smaller counterparts.
It's important for Orlando to step inside the three-point arc to hit shots. The team is far too enamored with the idea of being a three-point shooting team. Lewis and Turkoglu are talented outside shooters, but they're not even the best in the series. That title belongs to Allen.
On defense, the Magic only has to worry about Howard picking up too many fouls. As is the case with most big men in their 20s, Howard thinks he can be everywhere on the court at once. If Boston swings the ball well enough and forces Howard to come over on the weak side, Rondo could force him into some fouls by driving to the basket.
However, right now it's a gimpy Rondo and a battered Celtics. All signs point to a Magic series victory in five.
History means little in this one.