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The game that almost was.

March 26, 2009

What another game with the Magic last night.
For the second straight match-up, the game came down to the final seconds. Putting my Celtics fan hat aside for a second, it was another great game as a basketball fan. It was kind of where “amazing happens”.

Now the Celtics hat comes back on: what the hell was that? For the second straight time, the Celtics didn’t do anything to jump up and down about, played the first three quarters in slow motion, and then made an 11-2 run in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter. Don’t get me wrong: I am thankful for the team showing some heart, grit, and gusto in the homestretch… but get your act together, Celts. You could have played the same shut-down defense you did in the final minutes for the entire game. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in the Magic offense changed from the opening minute until the closing one.

The following are some notes in real time from last night’s game. Keep in mind, nothing after this point has been edited. All of the text below is from Wednesday night’s game. It is random at times, so just stick with it.


What a difference KG makes in the team’s defense. Especially in the first quarter: you tend to see teams rush through the offense and the defense when games have substantial meaning and/or consequence. It’s like the kinetic energy is uncontainable. In KGs few minutes, both sides of the court are set up by the Celts: people quickly rotate on defense and we are patient with moving to the ball on offense. Granted nothing is falling for us, but hey, at least people are getting set.

Its going to take more yelling than that to fix things right now.

It's going to take more yelling than that to fix things right now.

In previous match-ups against against the Magic, the Celt’s defense has done a great job of swarming three-point shooters all season, which eliminates a huge part of their offensive production. Tonight? Not so much. The Magic are shooting three pointers at will.

Perk has guarded Dwight Howard well all year. He forces him into quick shots.

I love our team’s defense with KG on the floor. It feels stable.

Rondo’s 16-18 footer: not as bad as everyone thinks. So lay off, cronies!

Who loves Ray Allen? Me! I don’t see how many guys on the Magic that can actually guard Ray Allen. Ray makes a living by moving without the ball, working well off screens, and not many Magic players are fast or strong enough to stay with him for 40 minutes. The Magic defenders especially lack the endurance to stay with him. Courtney Lee can’t stay with him. Hedo has to guard Pierce. Who does that leave? No one. Ray has to be the first option in this game to see if he can get hot.

Keys to the Celts beating Howard: Perk not getting in foul trouble and damn it Ray Allen gets more touches. By the way: is Dwight Howard on roids? Seriously…


Both teams are really aggressive tonight on the offensive boards– that could be the difference maker in the game.

Again: Rondo’s 16-18 footer is getting pretty solid. Defenders are challenging him and he is shooting… and hitting. 2-2 on these jumpers so far, which is a plus because none of his floaters or layups are falling.

If the Magic play this kind of defense for a 7 game series, then it is over.
But the big question: can they keep up this kind of defensive intensity? Who knows. The Magic are so touch-n-go on defense. Players rely too much on Dwight Howard to clean up their mess.

Perk: most improved player for 2009? Anyone??

My vote for last nights MVP for the Celts: Perk (hes under Howard).

My vote for last night's MVP for the Celts: Perk (he's under Howard).

Why is Rondo so slow on defense tonight? Alston has been burning him all night. What is happening? The problem is when Rondo gets burned then Perk has to leave Howard to collapse on Alston. When this happens, Howard becomes free for an easy two-pointer. Alston’s ability to see the lane is too good to let this happen repeatedly… but it has happened at least 4 times in the first half!


Great ball movement right in the first possession of in the second half: Ray moves into pick-n-roll from KG, KG blasts the ball to Rondo, Magic collapse, Rondo passes to Perk, Perk hits. That is what I am talking about: KG is so important to this team. Fluidity improves ten-fold when KG is on the floor.

The biggest problem tonight for the Celts: no one is catching on. There is no consistency on offense– no one is finding any rhythm. This is like scoring by committee… which is not the easiest way to win a game.

We cannot stop the Magic behind the arc. Defensive switches are non-existent. We have players moving back before the ball is in the Celts hand.

How is Alston outplaying Rondo?

The Magic are patiently moving the ball to get the shots they want: open three pointers and Dwight Howard dunking. At will, folks, at will. This is their offense, and we know this. Why can’t we stop it? This is the only way they can score (open threes and Dwight Howard within 5 feet): why can’t we stop this??


Perk’s shooting percentage is freakishly good, and no one ever gives him props. Ever. 59%. For a guy so many claim doesn’t have many moves, who cares… he doesn’t need many moves. He just needs to hit his 5-7 foot floaters and hooks when he needs to. Instead of trying to have an entire repertoire of offensive moves that somewhat succeed, how about specializing in a few moves that yield almost a 60% accuracy rate? I’ll take the latter. Perk plays his role so well. We need a new award: best role player in the NBA. Perk would HAVE to be a contender for this award.

I know Dwight Howard is huge, but 18 boards with 10 left in the 4th? Ummmm… box out the body instead of going for the ball? Yeah sounds like a good idea.

Guess who is really sick of seeing KG NOT playing??

Guess who is really sick of seeing KG NOT playing??

Someone needs to bitch slap Mikki Moore. Maybe KG can do that from the bench?
Seriously. If he makes any more stupid fouls (like he has been doing since wearing Celtic Green), I am going throw my TV out the window. This is the WORST pick up in the world.
Dear Danny: thank you for picking up a guy that only fouls people.
Before tonight, Moore had committed 55 fouls in just 14 games. That is an average of 4 fouls a game. Let’s say 3 out of those 4 fouls he averages a game are shooting fouls, and players at at the league average (78%), That means he is basically giving the other teams almost 5 points every game.
What the hell is wrong with him? Play defense with your god damn feet. Oh yeah, did I mention he is playing about 12 minutes a game? So M&M averages a foul every 3 minutes on the floor. Is this 4th grade rec league? Get your shite together, Moore.

All of the sudden in the fourth with 3 minutes left, the Celts are playing defense and stopping the open threes. Thank you.

I know Pierce hesitated at about the 10 foot mark, but why didn’t he just pull up for an open shot instead of taking it in to draw a foul or risk getting his shot blocked? Take the open 10 freakin footer!!!!!!

Celts lose (82-84).

Here is your standard Q/A conclusion that so many of you have become familiar with:

Would it have been nice to win this game? Of course.
Will the game be different with KG? Much.
Can the Magic sustain this kind of intensity for a 7 game series with KG playing 40 minutes, Pierce playing 42, Ray playing 44? Probably not.
Did Rondo have a terribly off night? Yes.
Did that make a huge difference? Too huge.

The Magic will feel good about their win… but their last 2 wins against the Celts have been close ones without KG. The Magic can feel good… but they have to be thinking about how different this will be when KG is in the lineup. I know it, you know it, and the Magic especially know it. I like the fact that the Celtics will see them again with something prove.

Protect this house– and by this house, I’m talking about the 07-8 title.
Protect this house.

Whats it going to take to not make this a distant memory?

What's it going to take to not make this a distant memory?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. randomguy permalink
    March 26, 2009 9:31 pm

    Yes it was a good game, and yes I am a magic fan. The simple fact is this, if you can claim that KG was out part of the game, I will say we played the entire game without Jameer Nelson, who without a doubt our best 4th quarter player. Second, you say Rondo had a bad night, and he did; on the reverse Hedo had a bad night too.

    It comes to this, In the playoffs you will have KG, and we will still be down Nelson

    • jontookem permalink*
      March 27, 2009 12:56 am

      Yes, the Magic are down J. Nelson for the rest of the season. But the thing is, R. Alston does a lot for this team to help keep the pistons firing. Alston is a pass first player instead of a shoot first player like Nelson. This gives more looks fo the 3 point gunners and for Howard to get more looks. That is not taking much away from the Magic. With a team that gets lots of its offensive production from hoisting up 3s, with J Nelson out Lee, Lewis, and Hedo get more looks from behind the arc.

      When KG is out, there is a substantial hole in the defense and on the boards and in scoring that just is not consistently filled by any one player. Yes a couple of players (Big Baby and Powe) can help make up for what KG gives, but unfortunately you can’t have 6 players on the floor.

      Plus I am going to let it slip that you’d even compare the impact of Jameer Nelson against Kevin Garnett. I’ll let that slide.

      I’ll also let it slide that the following players are OUT because of an injury:

      Leon Powe
      Tony Allen
      Brian Scalebrine

      These are very important role players. How long is the Magic injured list?

      I was calm at the beginning of typing this reply, and now I am getting a bit heated. I find the comparisons you made a bit outlandish, really. I don’t think that my Celtic Blinders are on either. But you should try to take a step back and really see what both teams are missing, and see why the last two games between these teams came down to ONE shot.

      It fell to the Magic the last two games, but it won’t in a seven game series with the chance of a title on the line.

  2. Vegas Scott permalink
    March 26, 2009 11:38 pm

    Absolutely agree about Perk. He remains the biggest reason I’m so confident we will win number 18. His value to this team seems to increase each game. Seeing him bodying up Howard and completely holding his own, made me feel very comfortable about playing the Magic in the playoffs.

    On a side note, how does Doc not play KG more in this game? Honestly, if I’m the Magic I’m probably the most upset by this. This was a complete F-U to the Magic. Doc basically came out and said, “well KG could play but we’re not valuing this game nearly to the extent you are.” Risky play I think, because we all know KG could have played 30+ in this game.

    • jontookem permalink*
      March 27, 2009 12:56 am

      Maybe we can start a campaign for Perk for Most Improved Player? More on this…

  3. March 27, 2009 3:28 am

    Nice recap

    I don’t think the Magic are legitimate contenders without Jameer Nelson, so I wouldn’t be particularly worried about losing homecourt to them … heck, they might not even make it to the second round if they end up matched against Detroit.

    The Magic haven’t looked good against Boston this season, too many flaws on display.

  4. randomguy permalink
    March 27, 2009 3:59 pm

    Good stuff, now I want to make this clear, I am not here to start a comment battle with anyone, in fact when it comes down to it, the Celtics are my 2nd favorite team in the east, and the only way I wouldnt root for them is if they are playing the magic or the spurs.

    Now going back to the KG situation, I do realize that KG being out has a big impact on the Celtics, and I am not trying to compare Nelson with KG is the broad aspect, I know that KG is the better player. What I am saying is that you compare both guys with their surrounding player, THEN I feel the impact on both teams is equal. Yes Alston was a great pick-up and he is doing great things with the team, but in the 4th quarter Jameer has something that most guys dont. Plus you can not deny the chemistry that exist between him and Dwight.

    • jontookem permalink*
      March 27, 2009 9:10 pm

      I hear ya, and there is no doubt that J Nelson is perhaps the second or third most important player on the Magic (along with Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard). But even so, the loss of J Nelson can’t be compared to KG. I guess you weren’t really saying that, but still, I just want to point that out. Very few players in the NBA can compare to KG’s presence on the floor. Some players absence who would reflect a hole left by a meteor would be guys like Kobe, Lebron, Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, and even Paul Pierce (some would disagree with that, I know).

      Anyway, thanks for leaving comments. I am sure I am just as wrong as I think that I am right. I think a second round match up is pretty inevitable, and whichever team makes it out of the second round still has Cleveland to deal with in the ECF. Please please check back during the playoffs and share your thoughts.

      Thanks for reading!

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