Celtics Look to Take Three-Game Lead Over Magic


May 22, 2010

Celtics Look to Take Three-Game Lead Over Magic A week ago, when the Celtics first started preparing for their Eastern Conference final matchup with the Orlando Magic, did anyone think they'd be talking sweep?

If anything, the C's worst fear was a four-game elimination, courtesy of Dwight Howard and company. But now, the shoe is on the other foot, and the Celtics are drawing closer to the unthinkable.

With a win over Orlando on Saturday night, the Celtics can move one step closer to the NBA Finals. Now's their chance to push the Magic's backs to the wall.

When and Where

Celtics vs. Magic
Saturday, May 22, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Head to Head

The Celtics were 1-3 in the regular season against Orlando, which certainly wasn't an encouraging stat going into these East finals. But with two wins in this postseason, the C's have evened the season series at 3-3. The only problem? They've still yet to beat Stan Van Gundy's squad in their home building. At the TD Garden, the Celtics were 0-2 this year against Orlando — they lost a close one on Nov. 20, 83-78, and they lost again at home on Feb. 7, 96-89. On Saturday, they get a chance both for a 3-0 series lead and for home redemption.

Key Matchup

Kevin Garnett vs. Rashard Lewis
Just as KG owned the Cavs' Antawn Jamison in the last series, he's doing the same to Rashard Lewis now. KG has regained his form in these playoffs as a premier post scorer, and when he's matched up against a perimeter-oriented power forward that can't bang it inside, he thrives. The Celtics have been able to limit Lewis' open looks from 3-point land, and Lewis is too small and has played too soft to get any shots inside. The result is complete domination of this matchup for KG, who's clearly the more physical of the two power forwards in this series. He's just got to keep it up.

Starting Lineups

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

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

Stat Sheet


  • Kevin Garnett had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds against the Magic in Game 2.
  • Kendrick Perkins scored 10 points in Game 2 on 3-of-5 shooting. He has scored in double figures four times in the playoffs.
  • Leaders in most minutes played this postseason in the entire NBA are all Celtics: Rajon Rondo (552), Ray Allen (486) and Paul Pierce (483).


  • J.J. Redick made all eight of his free-throw attempts in Game 2. He is 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) in the postseason from the line.
  • Rashard Lewis has scored just 11 points in this series on 4-of-16 shooting from the field.
  • Dwight Howard is shooting an NBA-best 63.4 percent from the field in this postseason.

Black and Blue


  • Kendrick Perkins has played through knee soreness for much of this postseason.


  • Matt Barnes has battled back spasms but played through the pain.


With a 2-0 series lead, the Celtics' goal should be a simple one: stay humble. They've won two games on the road and they have a chance to close things out on their home floor, but they can't do it unless they keep their wits about them. They won twice in Orlando, but both games could have gone either way. They've got to play strong team defense, avoid turnovers and foul trouble, and make their shots down the stretch. If they can't do all that, the Magic are perfectly capable of making a series out of this yet. The fat lady hasn't sung, and this series isn't over.

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