Despite Morbid Offensive Start, Magic Make Late Run To Force Game Seven
The Orlando Magic came into game six a little discombobulated.
Dwight Howard, as we all know, had his share of frustration during and after the game five loss to Boston.
However, Stan Van Gundy and Howard's teammates seemed eager to give their superstar more touches early in game six.
Howard scored the first eight points for the Magic, to go along with a blocked shot with 8:46 left in the first quarter. Howard didn't have any blocked shots in game five.
Howard was able to turn his criticism toward Van Gundy into production by getting the ball much more, going 5-for-10 in the first half of game six, equal to that of the entire game five.
The All-NBA first-teamer finished the night going 9-for-16 with 23 points.
However, the Magic started off the game slowly. There seemed to be no offensive flow from Orlando as Boston's Rajon Rondo tore the Magic defense apart in the first quarter.
The Boston Celtics continued to take control in the second quarter only to see Orlando go on a run to end the half with a score of 46-45 in favor of the Celtics.
Boston then came out of the half playing well, once again fueled by Rondo, and extended their lead to 10 in the third quarter. However, the Magic never game up, going on another late-quarter run ending the quarter down by one with a score of 62-61.
The fourth quarter was an example of what a fourth quarter in the NBA playoffs should be.
The quarter began as the third quarter ended—close.
You could feel the tension between these teams. With 10:42 left in the fourth, Boston's Eddie House fouled Orlando's Courtney Lee hard in the face, where he had recently sustained a fractured sinus, which led to tempers flaring.
Stephon Marbury of the Celtics and the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu began to scuffle following Lee's blow to the face, which resulted in a double technical foul for both Turkoglu and Marbury.
With 8:35 in the fourth, the Magic finally started to gain momentum by taking their first lead of the game.
They saw that lead blossom into five points with 6:34 left. However, Boston's Paul Pierce then began to show signs of life.
Pierce went on a 6-0 run by himself, scoring three field goals in a row.
Pierce and the Celtics continued to battle, but the turning point happened with 2:03 left in the fourth when Pierce missed a pair of free throws which led to a Rafer Alston floater, then to a huge three-point shot by Orlando's Turkoglu with 1:23 left in the fourth.
A pair of free throws with 49.0 seconds by Rashard Lewis sealed the deal for Orlando, leading to a 83-75 game six Orlando Magic victory.
As mentioned, Howard led the Magic with 23 points and 22 rebounds, 10 of which were offensive, Lewis had 20 points, and Alston and Mickael Pietrus each added 11.
When Howard was asked about his increased number of touches in game six compared to game five, Dwight Howard stated, "I got myself open."
The Celtics were led by yet another outstanding performance by Rondo, scoring 19 points, dishing 6 assists, and grabbing 16 rebounds. Pierce added 17, and Kendrick Perkins played well, scoring 15 points.
Orlando will head into Boston Sunday night for what looks like will be an exciting game seven.
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