Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics: Game Three in the Books
They pushed the offense, scoring 117 points on 59 percent shooting, and executed spectacular on defense, stealing the ball 11 times and blocking five shots (all from Dwight Howard).
As I mentioned in my Magic vs Celtics preview, in order for Orlando to win games they need production from their two forwards, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.
With Rafer Alston serving a one game suspension, Turkoglu got the golden opportunity to run the point guard position. He ran the offense extremely well without making any "Turk turnovers," and ending the game with only one bad pass.
Turkoglu also scored 24 points on an excellent 8-of-12 shooting, including four assists, one steal, two rebounds, and two three pointers made.
On the other hand, Lewis ended the game with a game high 28 points, six rebounds, three assists, and one steal on 9-of-17 shooting from the field, and 3-7 from beyond the three point arc.
In my preview I mentioned the battle between Rashard Lewis and Glen "Big Baby" Davis was to be determined in the games ahead. Game three officially persuaded me that the matchup was clearly in favor of Lewis.
Lewis has finally outgrown living on the three point line for the entire season. He now attacks the rim with no hesitation and post's up whichever defender is guarding him with ease.
Standing 6'10", Lewis has the physique and the speed to outplay any power forward that defends him. In this case, Big Baby has the assignment to guard Lewis wherever he goes. It is now obvious that he cannot keep up with Lewis because of his quickness and his post up.
In the last three games against the Magic, Davis has received a combined total of 14 personal fouls. He ended the first game of the series fouling out of the game, the second with three fouls, and Thursday night's loss with five.
When Davis get's into foul trouble, the Celtics have no other option than to replace him with the goofy red-headed Brian Scalabrine (who did not play in the entire playoffs last season).
The matchup now between Lewis and Scalabrine remains in favor for the Orlando Magic. Lewis takes the utmost advantage of this situation and maximizes it to it's fullest potential.
As for the Celtics, it is very obvious that they have extreme lack of depth on their bench. In addition, their star players are relied on to play heavy minutes and that eventually takes a toll on their overall performance (especially after an outstanding seven game series against the Chicago Bulls, which went into a total seven overtimes).
Pierce, Rondo, and Allen all do not look like themselves in this semifinals series thus far.
Pierce is shooting 37.8 percent from the field, while averaging around 17.6 PPG (highly due to foul trouble in Game two where he played just 16 minutes and scored only three points) and Rondo is shooting a terrible 33.3 percent from the field, but has made up for it by averaging 10.6 APG (including an 18 assists performance), and 8.6 RPG in 37 MPG.
Allen is shooting a whopping 30.0 percent from the field and a pathetic 15.8 percent from the three point line. He is averaging just 13 PPG and is definitely the most fatigued player on the Celtics roster, playing 38 MPG.
Keys for Game four
The Magic have a huge advantage with their X-factor Courtney Lee back on the court. Lee is a superb defender and has an outstanding offensive presence as well. In his first game of this series, he scored 11 points with four rebounds, three assists, and one steal.
With Lee back in the lineup, Alston returning for Game four, and the series in their hands, all the Magic need to do is play their style of basketball.
They need to continue to post Lewis up on the offensive end, give Howard more looks on the low post, hit the open threes, and keep up their defense, or as Magic fans like to call it, "Leefense."
The Celtics will now have two days of rest before coming out for Game four. If they want to win they will need to come out firing from all angles. Head coach Doc Rivers will have to pray that Allen finds his stroke and that Pierce is able to play another 40+ minute game.
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