Celtics Find Key to Success Against Magic: Thwarting 3-Point Shooting


Celtics Find Key to Success Against Magic: Thwarting 3-Point Shooting If you've watched the Orlando Magic over the course of this season, you know they've won countless games with their stellar shooting from long range.

If you've watched their past two games, you know the Celtics have done everything in their power to keep Orlando's shooters at bay.

In the regular season, the Magic attempted 2,241 3-point field goals, the most in the NBA. They made 841 of them, also tops in the league. That's good for 37.5 percent, an outstanding figure that ranked them third in the league behind only Phoenix and Cleveland.

In this series? They're 12-for-40, or exactly 30 percent.

Vince Carter is 1-for-3 from long range in the first two games of these Eastern Conference finals against Boston. Matt Barnes is 1-for-4. Mickael Pietrus is 1-for-5. Jameer Nelson, deemed by many the key to this series for the once-favored Magic, is just 3-for-12.

But the worst of all is Rashard Lewis, who's shooting just 4-of-16 in this series from the field and 1-of-9 from 3-point range, for a total of 11 points in two games. To put that in perspective, he averaged 14.1 points per game in the regular season.

But if you ask the Celtics what they're doing right against Lewis, or any of the Magic's shooters, and they don't really have an answer.

"Nothing," coach Doc Rivers said. "We just guard him. We're doing a nice job. But he's actually had some shots that he's not made, which we've shown them on film. So we have to just continue to play solid defense. I think the key to us guarding Lewis, or any of their guys, is the better we are on pick and rolls, the quicker we're back in rotations. If we're bad on pick and rolls, and we can't get back, then Lewis is wide open."

The man opposing Lewis at the power forward position, Kevin Garnett, also didn't have much to say about his performance against Lewis.

"I don't know," said Garnett, a former Defensive Player of the Year. "Just trying to keep a hand up. You know, [Glen Davis] and myself have the responsibility, but to tell you the truth, a lot of the focus is on Jameer and Dwight [Howard]. I'm sure he'll be really aggressive in Game 3, though, so I'm anticipating that."

The Celtics were abuzz to start this series about the importance of guarding against the 3. They've done an outstanding job of that through two games of these East finals, but they seem to be staying humble about their performance defensively.

"It's been good," Rivers said of the perimeter defense. "But they've had some 3s, and their numbers are going up as far as attempts, and we always view that as if attempts are going up, the makes will follow. And so we have to try to get the attempts down again. But overall, they've been very good."

As for Garnett? He's his own toughest critic.

"We can be better," he said. "You know, they shoot a lot of 3s, but as far as being satisfied, I'm not satisfied at all. We can do a lot better job than what we've been doing."

It's hard to say if the Celtics can perform any better against Orlando's shooters then they already have. But when KG is on the job, anything is possible. We all know that.

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