Maybe that’s the reason the Celtics were responsible for handing Orlando its first defeat of the 2010 postseason. Kendrick Perkins and the C’s set a physical tone in the paint against Dwight Howard and the Magic en route to a 92-88 road win in Game 1, and NESN insider Julian Benbow thinks that physicality is a big reason why Boston scored the win.
“[It was] huge,” Benbow told NESN’s Cole Wright on Monday’s edition of SportsDesk. “Orlando was able to bully and push around a couple of teams — I think Dwight should a ridiculously absurd 84 percent against Atlanta because it had nobody to guard him — and all of a sudden, you get a team that’s going to push you around, be physical, get under your skin a little. Vince Carter even said, ‘I don’t think we were ready for the level they were going to play defensively.'”
Another big reason for the win? The anomaly otherwise known as Rasheed Wallace, whose recent resurgence has coincided with the Celtics’ winning streak.
Could Kevin Garnett‘s little pep talk be the reason for Wallace’s comeback?
“You can kind of see [Wallace] taking things more seriously and holding himself more accountable and wanting to get out there and play,” Benbow said. “I think if anyone’s happy, it’s Kevin, because he gets through to him — and the Celtics obviously get a player they need to come through in the sense that he’s a big guy and he’s going to be very important in this series.”
For more on why the Magic are just like Rip Van Winkle, check out the video below.