After taking an 18 point demanding lead at the end of halftime, the Orlando Magic managed to pull out their first victory in a close battle at the TD Banknorth Garden arena against the Boston Celtics.
In my previous article on the series preview for the Magic vs the Celtics, I mentioned how critical it was for the Orlando Magic's two forwards, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, to step up their production and attack the basket.
During the Monday night Magic victory, the two players did just that.
Turkoglu scored 15 points, including two three-pointers, five assists, three rebounds, and one steal.
Lewis dropped a team high 18 points on 8-18 shooting (44.4 percent), with seven rebounds, two assists, a game high three steals, and one block.
Shard really showed his true athleticism during the game by not just settling for jumpers and instead, putting his head down and attacking the rim.
On the season, the Magic averaged seven steals per game. In the first round of the playoffs against the Sixers, they stole the ball 7.2 times per game.
During tonight's game, the Magic played stellar defense stealing the ball a total of ten times and clearly improving their play on the defensive end of the court.
In the first half of the game, the Boston Celtics seemed almost frightened to take the ball to the hoop mainly because of the Defensive Player of the year, Dwight Howard.
Superman grabbed a game high 22 rebounds and swatted the ball three times, but the most important thing that Howard did was alter every shot that was taken near the rim.
Like it or not, the Orlando Magic played "Magic ball" tonight.
They made nine three-pointers and scored 42 points in the paint compared to the Celtics 22 points down low.
J.J. Reddick started the game, replacing the injured Courtney Lee, and really exceeded expectations shooting 2-4 from the three-point line, a clutch 4-4 from the charity stripe, and ending the game with 12 points.
Reddick managed to keep Ray Allen in check, who scored only nine points.
Mickael Pietrus also produced tonight, scoring 17 points on 7-13 shooting (53.8 percent), with two blocks, two steals, and three three-pointers made.
Overall, it seemed like each Magic player really played their role on the court tonight.
Like I said in the previous article, the Big Three (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo) must produce if the Celtics want a chance at winning this series.
At the end of the first half, Pierce had scored seven points, Allen had two, and Rondo had only two as well.
In addition, the Celtic's starting power forward, Glen Davis, settled for jump shots instead of playing his true game of attacking the hoop.
The Rashard Lewis and Glen Davis matchup was obviously in favor of Lewis tonight.
Boston truly did not look like the defending champions during the first half of the game.
Whatever was said in the locker room at halftime clearly worked. The Celtics came out firing, making a 36-16 run at one point during the second half.
They went from a blowout 28 point lead in the third quarter to a remarkable three point game during the final seconds of the game.
Unfortunately, at that point, it was just too little too late.
Next game tips for the Boston Celtics
Ray Allen will need to find his shooting touch as he only shot 2-12 from the field tonight, and 1-7 from beyond the three point line with a total of 9 points.
Rajon Rondo will have to reduce his turnovers (seven on the game).
Glen Davis will have to bully his way down low on the offensive end against the tall and lanky Rashard Lewis instead of settling for the jump shot.
The Celtics will need to start Game Two just how they did tonight, during the beginning of the second half.
If they can do that, the so called "dedicated" Boston fans will be able to keep the teams adrenaline pumping throughout the entire game and ultimately grab a key victory to winning the series.