NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Vs Orlando Magic Preview
There are many factors that have to be taken into consideration when determining who will be the winner of this series.
We start off with the Boston Celtics.
The "New" Big Three
Pierce. Allen. Rondo.
The most important factor
Will the Big Three have the energy to produce big numbers throughout the entire second round series?
During the first round seven game series, Rondo averaged 45.3 minutes per game, Allen averaged 40.0 MPG, and Pierce logged in 44.4 MPG.
In addition, the Celtics played a record setting seven-overtimes during the first six games of the series.
Clearly, the Celtics are extremely fatigued. They had a serious battle with the Chicago Bulls and put an incredible about of energy into advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
Will the Big Three be able to post the same minutes per game during the second round? Of course not.
Will they be able to log around 35 MPG? Guaranteed. It's playoff time—they have to.
Next question: Will Kendrick Perkins be able to contain Dwight Howard?
Perk averaged nearly 38 MPG during the first round and is another player on the Celtics roster that could be fatigued. Despite how many minutes he averaged, Perk will still have to put up an enormous fight and put in an extreme amount of energy to attempt to prevent Howard from posting big numbers.
Will he be able to do it? Highly unlikely.
One key advantage that the Celtics will have for at least two of the games during the second-round series is the weak match up of J.J. Reddick guarding all-star Ray Allen.
Moving onto the Orlando Magic:
The Magic will face the Celtics tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on TNT, giving them a much needed four days of rest since their last victory.
We start off with...
The Courtney Lee factor
After getting hit by teammate Howard, Lee was forced to get sinus surgery to repair fractures in his left sinus cavity.
He missed the rest of Game Five and all of Game Six for the Magic, and is not expected to be back anytime soon.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Lee has been medically cleared to play, but it will be a while before he returns to action. They stated that he will definitely not play in Game One and is doubtful for Game Two.
Lee has been a huge x-factor for the Magic in the playoffs thus far, and will be missed on the court immensely.
Will the Magic be able to play win without Lee? Definitely. If they could win a playoff game without on the road Howard and Lee, they can accomplish anything.
We all saw players like Reddick, Rafer Alston, and Marcin Gortat step up their production in the absence of Howard and Lee.
But the most critical players that will inevitably lead the Magic to victory will be Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.
During the first round series, Turk shot a whopping 36.5 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the three-point line, while putting up only 11.8 PPG.
Shard shot 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the three-point line, with 19.2 PPG.
Turkoglu will be guarding Pierce during this series, while Shard will be matched up against Big Baby Glen Davis.
Shard will have the golden opportunity to run on Davis on the offensive end, but will he be able to over power him down low on the defensive end?
That question will soon be answered.
Regardless, Turk and Shard will be relied heavily upon to hit the crucial shots throughout the entire second round series, and will ultimately have to make these clutch jumpers in order for the Magic to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Before I make the prediction, I just want to say that I guarantee at least one big argument between the point guards, Rondo and Alston. They both play with great intensity and one confrontation is bound to happen.
Back to the prediction: The Magic win this series in six games.
They surely have the talent, they have had a great amount of rest, and they have the weapons (Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and most of all Dwight Howard) to surpass the defending champions and make their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals since the 1994-'95 season.
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