Celtics Host Magic in Rematch of Eastern Conference Semifinals

by

November 20, 2009

Celtics Host Magic in Rematch of Eastern Conference Semifinals The Celtics will take the floor with a chip on their shoulder Friday night, as for the first time this season, they meet up with the Orlando Magic — the team that eliminated them from the Eastern Conference playoffs last spring.

It's a new-look Magic team thanks to a few additions and subtractions this past offseason, but it's just as formidable an opponent as ever. This matchup will be a clash of two of the East's titans as the two squads fight for the title as the Conference's top dog.

When and Where

Friday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Records

Celtics (9-3, 1st place in Atlantic Division)
Magic (9-3, 2nd place in Southeast Division)

Head To Head

These two teams were as evenly matched as possible last season. In the regular season, they split their four meetings, which set the tone for a high-octane postseason battled. In that Eastern Conference semifinals, the Celtics went up three games to two before Orlando's defense took over and captured the series for the Magic in seven games. The C's will be dying for revenge this time.

Skinny

The Magic have overhauled their roster in a big way. They shipped out two of their starting five to acquire swingman scorer Vince Carter, watching forward Hedo Turkoglu walk in the process. They then replaced Rafer Alston at point guard with a healthy Jameer Nelson — only to see Nelson re-injure himself this season. There are a lot of question marks still to be addressed, but Orlando is nonetheless still one of the five best teams in the NBA.

Projected Starters

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Magic

Point guard: Jameer Nelson
Shooting guard: Vince Carter
Small forward: Mickael Pietrus
Power forward: Rashard Lewis
Center: Dwight Howard

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics are 5-2 at home this season.

They are third in the NBA with 104 steals.

Rajon Rondo is averaging career highs in assists per game (9.0) and steals per game (2.6).

Paul Pierce leads the Celtics with 18.4 points per game. He is on pace to lead the team for the 10th consecutive season.

Kendrick Perkins is shooting 50-for-88 (56.8 percent) from the floor this season.

Ray Allen
averages 19.9 points per game against the Magic in his career.

Kevin Garnett is averaging only 5.9 rebounds per game at home this season.

Magic
Orlando is 7-2 against Eastern Conference opponents this season.

The Magic have attempted 317 three-pointers, tops in the NBA.

Dwight Howard is shooting 66.7 percent from the floor, by far the best in the NBA.

Vince Carter is 21-for-48 (43.8 percent) from the three-point line this season.

Jameer Nelson and Matt Barnes each have a team-high 12 steals.

Marcin Gortat
has 14 blocks this season.

Mickael Pietrus
is on pace for a career high in minutes per game (30.5).

Black and Blue

Celtics
Paul Pierce played Wednesday against the Warriors despite a sprained knee. He played 34 minutes and gave the Celtics 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Tony Allen is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.

Glen Davis
is out until December with a broken thumb.

Magic
Marcin Gortat has been under the weather this week, showing flu-like symptoms. He played Wednesday night against Oklahoma City, giving the Magic 24 minutes off the bench

Jameer Nelson needs arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Adonal Foyle has also undergone knee surgery recently. He is out indefinitely.

This Date in Celtics History

In 1985, the Celtics beat the Jazz, 115-106 in overtime. The victory would touch off a nine-game winning streak for the C's, who went on to win their 16th NBA championship the following summer.

Overheard

"It wasn?t anything bad. Again, I don?t think he recovered well in the game with Atlanta and I should have sat him out in the next game, I still think. But as we learned this week, you don?t get do-overs."
Doc Rivers, in Thursday's Boston Globe, on the minor injury sustained last week by captain Paul Pierce.

Press Box

Celtics
The C's stepped up and beat Golden State.

Boston is ready for Orlando's high-flying act.

Wyc Grousbeck remains confident about his team.

Magic
Rashard Lewis
carried the Magic past the Thunder on Wednesday.

This will be a statement game for the Magic.

Orlando has the depth to replace Jameer Nelson.

NBA
Should the Knicks gamble on Allen Iverson?

Peja Stojakovic was happy from downtown as he made seven 3's.

Five years later, it's hard to forget the Malice at the Palace.

Outlook

This game will be a tough test for the Celtics, who have fallen flat in their last two meetings with elite teams, first against Phoenix two weeks ago and then against the Hawks last Friday night. The Celtics need to prove they can beat a championship-caliber basketball team, and a victory over a Magic team riding a three-game winning streak would be a good sign. This one will be an emotional tilt for a Celtics squad that came up short against Orlando last spring.

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