Boston Celtics Attempt To Regain Home-Court Advantage

Tom LindContributor IMay 8, 2009

BOSTON - MAY 06:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics goes up for a shot against Dwight Howard #12 and Rafer Alston #1 of the Orlando Magic  in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 6, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts.  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 Elsa/Getty Images)

The big news from yesterday was the suspension of Rafer Alston for one game after hitting Eddie House on the side of the head. There are many reports out there on the significance of the suspension of Skip to My Lou and how it will hurt the Magic tonight for their game three matchup with the Celtics. The loss of Alston will have an impact, but it is the Magic who will probably benefit more, not the Celtics.

Think about it for a second. What exactly does Alston bring to the table for Orlando? He makes poor decisions on offense, like taking too many three-pointers, and his defense is almost non-existent.

The Magic will be better off with Anthony Johnson running the point, making better decisions and getting his teammates more involved. With Johnson running the point and rookie Courtney Lee back in the rotation, the Magic's offense should be more fluid.

Not that any of this will matter for the Celtics, because there is no one on the Magic that can cover Rajon Rondo.

This entire series lays in Rondo's hands and getting his teammates open looks by driving to the basket and feeding the open man. The game one loss can be attributed to his inability to get going in the first half and the Celtics subsequently trailing by 28 shortly into the third quarter.

If Rondo does what he has been doing throughout the postseason, the Celtics should easily win back home-court advantage this weekend. No one expects Eddie House to score 31 points again, but the C's do expect more than three points and 15 minutes from their captain Paul Pierce.

The key for the Celtics on offense is to continue to attack the rim and Dwight Howard.

Howard can only do three things well on a basketball court—dunk, rebound, and block shots into the stands—which also prevents his team from getting on the fast break.

Rondo did an excellent job of getting in the lane in game two and moving Howard around to get easy layups for Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins, who may be one of the few players in the league that can match Howard's strength.

But all this starts on the defensive end of the court for Boston. They are an excellent fast break team off of turnovers and missed shots, and when the Magic settle for shooting threes, this helps the Celtics get going.

If the Magic want to slow the Celtics down they need to be more aggressive and it starts with Rashard Lewis. He is being covered by the combination of Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Brian Scalabrine. He has clear speed, height and athletic ability advantages on both players, and if the Magic are to get their offense going and have any chance of slowing down Boston, he needs to attack the rim.