Orlando didn’t show up in Game 3, so it only seemed likely that they would for an elimination game. How could Dwight Howard and his Magic allow the Celtics to completely dominate the series and send them packing after four games?
He didn’t. Instead, Howard chipped in 32 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocked shots to make himself an impressive and unstoppable force to be reckoned with. With that, the Celtics allowed Orlando to get back in the series, and this time it’ll be Game 5 in the Sunshine State.
The Celtics do not want to allow these problems to continue any longer. Despite the fact that the C’s forced overtime and never were completely out of the game, they still couldn’t close things out on the court. It seemed that every time the Celtics would tie the game or get within a point, Orlando would come back with superpowers and regain the lead.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers chalked up the team’s misfortunes to each player trying to do too much.
"I thought everybody wanted to win the game," he said. "I thought everybody showed up to win the game, but I think at times, when you have a chance to do something — close out a series or win a big game — each guy tries to do it [himself]."
The Celtics had opportunities to end the series and advance to the NBA Finals many times in overtime on Monday night, but missed plays and miscommunication led to an Orlando victory.
"It didn’t seem like we were in sync offensively," Celtics guard Ray Allen said. "We’re kicking ourselves because we had great opportunities still."
If the ball was in Allen’s hands more, perhaps the Celtics could have won that game. He finished with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, draining five of seven 3-pointers. But both Allen and Paul Pierce’s efforts (32 points for the Celtics captain) were not enough, and now they’ll have to search for answers in Orlando.
"We just made it more difficult on ourselves," Rivers said. "But listen, no one said this was going to be easy. We've made it tough now. So that’s fine. We have to get on a plane, go watch film and get ready for the next one."
The Celtics have roughly 48 hours to get it right before tipoff on Wednesday night in Game 5. It would be ideal for the hometown team to get the job done once and for all at Amway Arena. Because Boston fans have all seen what happens when you allow a team back in a series after leading the series 3-0.
Let’s just make sure that doesn’t happen again.