2010 NBA Playoffs: How the Boston Celtics Avoid a Sweep by the Orlando Magic
Its no secret that the Magic are looking like contenders for the title with every passing basket. Many will argue that they have been faced against lightweight opponents; others will say they are dominant.
With the Atlanta Hawks dispatched in a "blowout" sweep, the Celtics will be looking to shut them down and advance past to the NBA Finals.
Dwight Howard will be key, but here are other factors that could make the Magic reach the NBA Finals in a really short 12 games.
I know getting swept after beating Cleveland is a long-shot, but NBA is where amazing happens.
Also, here are the reasons the Celtics can work harder and make it to the Finals.
Lets Keep Playing Defense!!!
Yeah, just imagine Mo Williams going for the up-and-under against Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett.
When it comes to the Celtics, defense is never in doubt. Sometimes it has been during the regular season, but in the playoffs, in only one out of their nine games have they been blown out.
The Celtics must play lock-down defense, the same that led LeBron James to 5-14 shooting in Game Five.
Even against Orlando, defense is more than a necessity; it should become an obsession.
Doc Rivers is a Master Tactician
The former point guard is a legend. Translating his opinions and thoughts to the players on the court makes him stand out. From calling timeouts and making his team play "D" or going on 10-0 runs, Doc Rivers can be the difference without even being noticed.
After James hit two three-point field goals to bring the Cavaliers to within four points, Rivers called a timeout. Around five minutes later, it was a wrap.
Remember Its Not About You
I'll go for a little paraphrasing here.
When Paul Pierce was asked about James being a non-factor, he said the difference was that the Celtics were a team. He was the leading scorer, but marginally.
He also stated that it was the Celtics strength that coaches have to consider everyone, and not just "someone."
This is a perfect example of why they can beat the Magic. Play like they have been doing all post-season.
Amazing is UNITY
Vince Carter, Nelson, Pietrus, Lewis for Threeee
It's hard to imagine a three-point party like the Magics-Hawks series, 15-37. 45 points from three's!
The perimeter has to be guarded every time, knowing fully well that a mistake could put you down by nine in three successive possessions.
Also, the Magic are by far the most complete team with Jameer Nelson, Mikael Pietrus, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and yeah, Superman Howard (That's his first name now).
Get D12 in Foul Trouble
Although many will argue that Orlando didn't really need D12 to beat Charlottte, but hello this is a championship team coming up.
Last year Orlando were a buzzer-beater by James away from sweeping the Conference Finals.
Dwight Howard dominates the paint by blocking shots, boxing out to get the rebounds, and even contesting shots from other players (help defense).
He leads the playoffs in blocks at 3.9 per game. That speaks volumes, although a few drives by Rajon Rondo could make him a spectator for the majority of the time.
Kevin Garnett is playing like Old Times
Well not really. It might be because Shaquille O'Neal is just as old, or he just rediscovered a lost part of him that was just not there during the regular season.
Whatever motive caused him to dominate like the old KG, the Celtics will definitely need him to beat Orlando Magic.
Averaging 19 ppg and 8 rpg should be enough or just right to push the Boston Celtics past the red hot Magic.
Kevin Garnett might need more than stats; mental stats like aggression, awareness, emotion could decide what promises to be a feisty encounter.
One Last Push For A Championship Is Our Motivation
Its not "magic" that the Celtics are aging - the reason why fans and pundits alike wrote them off from the start.
The Celtics made relatively light work of the Cavaliers after being handed the worst home loss in playoffs in their franchise history (and you must admit you thought it was over). That kind of composure and experience at the same time could be an x-factor in the series.
Veterans like Ray Allen also have to do what is right.
Remind Rondo His is Now In the
What more do you want from the new floor general? Assists? Points? Rebounds?
Rajon Rondo could be a true candidate for Finals MVP if Celtics go the distance.
Garnett, Pierce, Allen have had their moments. Rondo has had his moments every single game.
When you have a triple double - 29 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists - ranked among the best of all-time, you have to be considered a core component of the team. Watch out Nelson.