Contender vs. Pretender

The Celtics slapped Orlando back to reality last night by doing one simple thing:  Playing playoff basketball.

Keep this in mind:  The Magic had 7 offensive rebounds in the first quarter.  They had 5 the rest of the way.  They were held to 38% shooting, and to season lows in points and points in a half.  And the Celtics did it all without hitting a single 3 pointer and only dishing out 9 assists… VERY atypical of the Celtics.

So Orlando’s problems go beyond Dwight Howard’s lack of polished game and no “go-to” guy.  This is a matter of their style.  They’re a bombs-away offense that struggles to produce when jump shots aren’t falling.  When a good man-to-man defensive team like the Celtics can keep a shooter covered no matter how many picks are set, they’re going to have trouble scoring.  That shot is either falling or it isn’t.

Orlando can get hot and hit contested shots.  They’re a team full of big-time shooters.  But that’s all they are.  A team like that is dangerous, but it’s not built to win a title.  The playoffs are different, and Orlando got a taste of it last night.

“It felt like a playoff game for a minute,” said Dwight Howard. “But we just have to step up to the challenge when we play a great team like the Celtics. We’ve been watching them play for a long time. They play with a lot of intensity, they play hard and we’ve got to be able to match it.”

Herald:  KG going to Phoenix, House isn’tLoss doesn’t diminish Magic’s positive buzz |  Globe:  Celtics up to their old tricks |    Orlando Sentinel:  Magic-Celtics treat TNT audience to sloppy ball |  SI:  What we learned from last night’s game Howard sets All Star voting recordBynum has 23 and 14 against Wiz |  Ben’s Suns Blog:  Phoenix should be more like Boston

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5 Responses

  1. Good to see Tiger Woods there to check out Pierce and the World Champs.

    7 in a row. Ride ‘em. When they’re hot, they’re hot!

  2. wow, the most impressive thing is that they didnt hit a single 3, and didnt even really care whether or not they did…they were taking it to the hoop…period, and thats what they should do on the second night of a back-to-back

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  4. I thought we dominated most of the game. Howard couldn’t get anything going and their 3′s weren’t falling. Our D’ was pretty good and our new go to guy for one game was BIG BABY! LOL I saw on couple plays when Pierce was doubled he was looking to pass to Baby. BBD had a good game but I am not going to get too excited. BBD has to do this night in and night out – He probably felt like he was back in LSU last night. What’s up with Turk’s neck? You know he is hurting today.

  5. Mchale & Miller push aside trade rumors – Miller is sche to make 9.1 this year and 9.8 next year – I don’t think we have enough to make the trade work also to match MM’s salary. Maybe Tony Allen? (Value has dropped), BBD or Powe? (We need them), Scal, Pruitt, Giddens and Walker? (Don’t think Mchale will go it) Draft picks? (We traded most our draft picks for Ray Ray and KG already). Seems unlikely anything will happen. See below from Hoopsworld.com

    Mike Miller, McHale Push Aside Trade Rumors
    Posted: 1/23/2009 6:48:00 AM
    Source: Don Seeholzer of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

    Timberwolves guard Mike Miller shrugged off a report from a New Jersey newspaper that the Nets might be interested in acquiring him before the Feb. 19 trading deadline.

    Citing an unidentified NBA general manager, the Newark Star-Ledger reported that the team has expressed an interest in the slumping shooting guard but that Minnesota is looking for a young player and a draft choice, “which the Nets are not willing to consider.”

    Miller’s reaction?

    “It’s always something around this time,” said Miller, who was acquired from Memphis in a draft-day trade last June. “I’ve played in the league nine years now, and all nine years there’s been something around the trading deadline. You just go out there and you play. Continue to work on the things you can control and go from there.”

    This has been a tough season for Miller, who has suffered two sprained right ankles and struggled with his shooting.

    Even so, he said he doesn’t want to go anywhere.

    “This is where I want to be,” he said. “It’s a work in progress, and we’re getting there. The best thing is to be a part of something like this because we’re playing well now.”

    Miller has come off the bench in the nine games since returning from his second sprained ankle, but McHale said the former starter remains an important member of the team.

    “Mike’s going to be fine,” McHale said. “A couple ankle sprains set Mike back a little bit, but his rebounding, his moving the ball, all the things he brings to our team, he’s a very unique player. You know, when that shot starts going, which it will, that will just add a whole other level to our team.”

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