Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS) vs. Orlando Magic (59-23 SU, 45-33-4 ATS), 3:30 p.m. EST, Sunday, May 16, 2010, Amway Arena, Orlando, Fla. TV: ABC
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Celtics +6.5/Magic -6.5
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The road to the NBA Championship heats up on Sunday afternoon as the Boston Celtics face the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Celtics got here by shocking the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. They jumped out to a double-digit lead in Game 1 in Cleveland before blowing that lead and falling down 1-0. But they proved they could compete with the Cavs and would make it a tough series. In Game 2, the Celtics once again outplayed the Cavs and held on this time for a victory to earn a split in Cleveland. After getting blown out at home in Game 3, the Celtics rebounded with a Game 4 victory to tie the series up at 2-2. Then, in Game 5, the Celtics extended a six-point halftime lead in Cleveland to a 32-point dominant victory to take the air out of the Cavs. And then the Celtics ended the series in Game 6 on Thursday with a 94-85 victory.
The Magic have yet to lose a game this year in the playoffs. They swept the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round and then swept the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. The series with the Bobcats was tough, as the Magic had to earn a few close victories. But the series against the Hawks was not close at all. The Magic won 114-71 in Game 1, 112-98 in Game 2, 105-75 in Game 3, and 98-84 in Game 4.
Jameer Nelson is leading the Magic in scoring in the playoffs with 20.5 points per game and in assists with 5.3 per game. Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis are both averaging more than 16 points per game. Lewis is shooting 46.2 percent from 3-point range. Dwight Howard is only averaging 15.4 points per game but he really picked it up in the Hawks series after getting into a lot of foul trouble in the Bobcats series. He had 22 fouls in four games against the Bobcats. Howard is also averaging 11.3 rebounds per game and a shade less than four blocks per game. Mickael Pietrus is averaging 10.3 points per game off the bench and is shooting 51.2 percent from 3-point range.
Just like the Magic’s point guard is leading them in scoring, Rajon Rondo is leading the Celtics in scoring as well with 18 points per game in the playoffs. He is also averaging 11.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game, including a triple-double with 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists in a Game 4 victory over the Cavs. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are each averaging between 16 and 18 points per game. Garnett is averaging more than eight rebounds per game and Allen is shooting 42.5 percent from 3-point range. Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace have all played great roles for the Celtics in the playoffs. Allen shut down LeBron when he guarded him, Davis and Perkins did a nice job down low, especially against Shaq, and Wallace hit some huge outside shots in the Game 6 victory.
The Celtics are 8-3 ATS in the playoffs, including a 5-1 ATS mark at home. The over is 6-5 in their 11 playoff games, but it is 4-1 in road games. The Magic are 7-1 ATS in the playoffs, including a 4-0 ATS mark on the road, and are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games. The under is 5-2-1 in the Magic’s eight playoff games.
The Magic are 3-1 in four games against the Celtics this season. The Magic won the first one back in November in Boston, 83-78. In December, the Celtics won 86-77 in Orlando. In January, the Magic won 96-94 in Orlando. In the final meeting in February in Boston, the Magic won, 96-89. The two teams are 2-2 ATS against each other this season and the total has gone under in three of the four games.
The under is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these teams and 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Orlando. The Celtics are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings in Orlando. The underdog and the road team are both 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick: Boston is red hot right now. I don’t expect them to win straight up, but there is very good value here with taking the +6 to cover.