Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS) vs. Orlando Magic (59-23 SU, 45-33-4 ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Amway Arena, Orlando, Fla. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Celtics +4/Magic -4
Just when it appeared that the series was over, the Orlando Magic have a fighting chance.
The best-of-7 Eastern Conference Finals between the Magic and the Boston Celtics appeared all but over when the Celtics jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, including an absolute demolishing of the Magic in Game 3. But the Magic won Game 4 in Boston to stay alive. Now, the Magic go back home to Orlando for Game 5, where they have a chance to extend the series to a Game 6.
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The Celtics won each of the first two games of the series on the road in Orlando to take a 2-0 series lead. Although they only won the two games by a combined seven points, the fact that the Celtics won the first two games in Orlando put the Magic’s backs against the wall. Then, in Game 3, the Celtics just destroyed the Magic, 94-71. It was never even close.
But in Game 4, with the Magic down to their last chance to win a game and keep their season alive, the two teams battled down the stretch. The Magic had to win to avoid elimination and the Celtics wanted to end the series at home so that they didn’t have to go back to Orlando. With the game tied in the final seconds, Paul Pierce had a chance to win the game for the Celtics but he lost the ball and the game went to overtime. In overtime, Jameer Nelson made a couple clutch 3-pointers, including one off the backboard, to help the Magic hang on for a 96-92 win.
Dwight Howard had his best game of the series for the Magic with 32 points and 16 rebounds. He also added four blocks and shot 13-of-19 from the field, but he did miss eight of his 14 free throw attempts. Nelson had a great game with 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Rashard Lewis, who has been virtually invisible in the series with a total of just 15 points in three games coming into Game 4, scored 13 points, which was a huge boost for the Magic on offense. Matt Barnes had 10 points and seven rebounds, and J.J. Redick scored 12 points off the bench. Vince Carter really struggled, as he scored just three points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field, but luckily for him his teammates picked him up in this one.
Pierce led the Celtics with 32 points and 11 rebounds, but he was 0-for-6 from 3-point range, including a couple of wide open 3-point attempts late in overtime. Ray Allen had an excellent performance with 22 points, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range. Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo had nine points and eight assists. Kendrick Perkins had only four points and three rebounds, and the Celtics bench had a total of just 12 points.
The Magic shot 45 percent from the field and 10-for-28 on 3-pointers, while the Celtics shot 42 percent from the field and 5-for-18 on 3-pointers. The Celtics outrebounded the Magic by four and committed four fewer turnovers.
The Celtics are at their best when everyone is contributing, like they were in Game 3. Guys like Rasheed Wallace, Glen Davis, Tony Allen and Perkins have to step up and make contributions. If the Magic can continue to get performances like they did in Game 4 from Lewis, Barnes and Redick, they have a great chance to win again in Game 5. When Howard is dominating down low and multiple Magic players are playing well on the perimeter, it’s a lot tougher for the Celtics to shut them down.
The Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings in Orlando and 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings overall with the Magic. The under is 5-1 in the last six games between these teams in Orlando and 10-2 in the last 12 games between these teams overall. The underdog and the road team are both 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick: I like the OVER 186 in tonight’s game. Good luck!