Boston-Orlando: Keys for the Celtics in Game Three

Sean StancillSenior Writer IMay 7, 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 last time the Celtics and the Magic played, the ending was bitter for the Magic as they almost faltered a 26 point lead in the last 15 minutes.

In game two, they didn't have to worry about giving away any lead; they instead were the victims of a blowout as the Celtics defeated Orlando 112-94 to knot the series at 1-1.

Though they delivered a major whopping to Orlando, the Celtics can easily improve in a number of areas in time for game three.

Here are the keys for the Celtics going into Game Three:

Maintaining The Lead

The Celtics had leads of 10-4, 12-6, 20-10, and led 26-21 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter the trend was 41-28, 45-30, and 54-37 (or 13, 15, and 17) before finally stretching their lead to as many as 19 points before intermission.

The point is, the Celtics were able to step on the throats of the Magic early on in the game before they had a chance to respond. Similar to how a boxer delivers a 1-2 punch or a flurry of uppercuts in an effort to knock out their opponent and keep him down.

A Resurgent Rondo

Rondo had eight points, 12 assists, and seven rebounds in the first half and finished with 15 points, 18 assists, and 11 rebounds. He emphatically threw down a one-handed dunk that sent the home crowd into a frenzy and secured his franchise-tying third triple-double of the postseason.

He also pitched in two steals and did a good job helping Dwight Howard low in the post.

This was a pleasant sign for Boston and there's always a chance Rondo will mimic similar numbers to these in Orlando.

A Resurgent Ray Allen

With Paul Pierce out of the game early with two fouls, the Celtics desperately needed Ray Allen to deliver in his absence. Allen took the reigns of the offense and drove the ball to the basket three times and converted on two lay-ups (one reverse) and two free-throws as a result. Allen ended up with eight first quarter points and set the tone for the remainder of the game.

Allen then opened the second quarter with a free-throw line jumper and Boston never looked back after that. He finished with 22 points on seven shots and came through for his team when they needed him.

Doing A Better Job On The Sharp Shooters

Redick scored nine of Orlando's last 11 points in the first quarter and made four three-pointers alone in the opening period.

Anthony Johnson came off the bench and knocked down his first three-pointer, which at the time cut the Magic's deficit to only four early in the second quarter.

Aside from the duo, the Celtics did a good job of disturbing everyone else's three-point shot and you can expect that trend to continue in game three.

Pierce And His Foul Trouble

Pierce has picked up three fouls in each game before halftime. He only played five minutes in the first half, and Boston can consider itself very lucky that Orlando was atrocious in the paint and that it got significant contribution from both Rondo and Allen.

With Boston needing to take the lead in this series, expect Pierce to use his head and stay on the floor much longer in their next meeting.

The series between the Magic and the Celtics will resume on Friday with the series tied at 1-all.

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