Date: December 25th
Time: 2:30PM ET
In the 2009 playoffs, the Orlando Magic bullied the Boston Celtics to a seventh game win. Many counted the Celtics out, pointing out their defensive deficiencies against a player like Howard, and how their age had closed their window for another NBA title.
All that changed in 2010. Boston had an easy win against Miami in the first round, but were expected to be man-handled by Orlando in the second. In their respect, pretty much every team except Cleveland was considered to be an inferior opponent for Orlando.
The Celtics came out firing and were able to beat the Orlando Magic in the first two games, right in front of thousands of Magic fans. Down two games, there was still hope the Magic could bounce back. It did not happen. The Orlando Magic were embarrassed in game three and beaten by 23 points. The player supposed to dominate the Celtics, Dwight Howard, finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
Then came games four and five, where the Magic were able to finally exploit the Celtics defense and use Howard effectively. Howard had amazing games and the Magic took both games by a comfortable margin. It only delayed the inevitable.
The Celtics adapted their defense and made everyone else in the Magic beat them. The game plan worked to perfection and the Celtics won game six at home by double figures even with Howard having a dominant game across the board.
Neither team has changed much since the off-season started. All the core pieces have stayed in place and only a few role players have moved around. This game will be ugly. Magic fans will not tolerate a loss in their home court. A win for Boston will further prove them worthy of another championship run. The game will be physical and referees will have their hands full with hard fouls and player taunting.
At the end of the day, the team with most composure will take the victory, and it will NOT be a close game. This is just what the two clubs need to battle it out again twice in less than 6 weeks with meetings January 17th and February 6th.