Orlando-Boston: Keys for Magic Going into Game Three

Sean StancillSenior Writer IMay 7, 2009

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 8: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic blocks a shot by Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden on March 8, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics lost 86-79. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Orlando Magic narrowly defeated the Boston Celtics in Game One and they were hoping to escape with a 2-0 lead heading back home to Amway Arena.

However, their plans were spoiled as the Celtics thoroughly dominated just about every aspect of the game to tie the series.
The "Master of Panic" Stan Van Gundy will adapt and devise a new strategy for his team, complete with new sets, plays, and ideas with attempts to take the next two games in the series.
But they must take it one game at a time and with that being said, here are the keys for the Magic going into Game Three:

Getting the Ball to Howard and Establishing a Groove
The Magic did a poor job of getting the ball to Dwight Howard early on, and instead of attempting multitudes of jumpers Orlando should've fed the ball to Howard in the post and allowed the athletic giant to do the rest from there.
During the first timeout of the game, Hedo Turkoglu and Howard seemed to experience a grave miscommunication as Turkoglu was seen barking at Howard.
Howard also didn't get any touches in the post on the Magic's next two possessions coming out of the timeout. On their third possession, the out of rhythm center caught the ball in the post and missed a right handed hook off the front of the rim.
Howard also missed his first four attempts and finished by missing eight of his 13 shots to go along with five turnovers and zero blocks.
If Dwight can establish a rhythm on offense it will help charge him on defense and he will be able to feed off himself on both ends of the floor.

Early Production from Hedo and Rashard
Early in the second quarter, Turkoglu and Lewis combined to start a miserable one for eight, and only accumulated four points.
With Howard struggling to find consistency, the Magic cannot afford for all members of their "Big Three" to have deficiencies in any game.
The Magic were eaten alive in the first half and if they do not receive assistance from Turkoglu and Lewis then they are essentially handicapping themselves.
With a home court backing them, anticipate the duo to come out shooting back at Amway Arena.

Containing Kendrick Perkins
Perkins had 14 and five at the half and only committed one personal foul. Perk finished with 16-9 and sent away two shots.
Dwight Howard must use his size to push Perkins off the block while fronting him. Howard is tall enough and has more than enough leaping ability to knock away an entry pass to Perkins when he's in the process of fronting him.
Howard also gets help but he doesn't use it to his advantage.
Because of the inconsistency of Rondo's jump shot Alston is able to cheat and converge towards Perkins, but the Magic may not have that luxury if Rafer Alston is indeed suspended for his slap that connected with Eddie House.
Howard will eventually learn how to quiet Perkins and that may come as soon as Game Three.

Assigning a New Defender to Eddie House
Mickael Pietrus was ordered to guard Eddie House, which originally sounded like a good matchup on paper. Pietrus' length, strength, and height combined with his quick feet, and his reputation as a defensive stopper were prescribed as all the tools needed to combat the efforts of a role player of House's magnitude.
However, House's agility and lightning quick release overwhelmed Pietrus, as House erupted for 22 points in his first 18 minutes and made four out of five shots from the great beyond.
Throw in his four-point play and he had one of the great performances of any bench player in the last five years.
He finished with a game high 31 points, and the mark also set the series high between the two teams. 
There's no way the Magic can win with House erupting for over 30 points, while surrendering marvelous performances from Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, and getting little contributions from arguably their most important player, Dwight Howard.
As Stan Van Gundy often does, he will analyze the situation, adapt, and assign a new defender to House. My guess is that rookie Courtney Lee will be gearing up for the daunting task in Game Three.