Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic Game 6 Preview and Pick

Boston Celtics +7 at Orlando Magic -7 O/U 190 7 PM ET Thursday May 14, 2009 on ESPN

By Jason Green at

The Celtics lead this best of 7 series 3-2.

Tonight the Orlando Magic host the Boston Celtics and will try to even this series after blowing game 5 in Boston. In game 5 the Magic were up by 14 points with just under 9 minutes to play, but then the Magic fell apart. The Celtics came back and could not miss while the Magic could not hit anything. Stephon Marbury had 12 points in the 4th quarter and Dwight Howard did not take one shot in the last 6 minutes of the game. Even after the game Howard questioned Stan Van Gundy and his coaching in the 4th quarter.

The Magic have to regroup and get back to business tonight or they will be done for the season. Howard has to get the ball more, as he only scored 12 points in game 5 and was not a part of the Magic offense in the final period. Orlando is still favored by 7 points tonight, but all is not well in the Sunshine State after Tuesday night’s meltdown.

Basketball Bookies have the Magic as 7 favorites in this game with a total of 190. The Magic are posted at -220 as home favorites and the Celtics are posted at +180 as road dogs.

The Celtics won game 5 on Tuesday night 92-88. The high scorer for the Celtics in game 5 was Glen Davis going for 22 points on 8/16 shooting. For the game the Celtics shot 33/78 for a FG% of 42.3%. The high scorer for the Magic in game 5 was Rashard Lewis going for 19 points on 8/16 shooting. For the game the Magic shot 36/80 for a FG% of 45%.

This season the Celtics ranked 11th in scoring (100.9 ppg) and the Magic ranked 4th (101 ppg). On defense the Celtics ranked 3rd in points allowed (93.4 ppg) and the Magic ranked 6th (94.4 ppg). This season the Celtics had a rebounding differential of +4.5 rpg and the Magic were at +1.1 rpg.

This season the Magic were an NBA best 49-32-1 ATS and the Celtics were 42-39-1. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Magic were 36-45-1 and the Celtics were 41-40-1.

On the injury front Kendrick Perkins is day to day for the Celtics while the Magic are not reporting any significant injuries.

Howard has to step up and be a leader and demand the ball in crunch time, as he is the most dominant big man in the game today, but he cannot dominate if he does not have the rock.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis has stepped up without Kevin Garnett in the lineup averaging over 16 ppg and he was the high scorer in game 5. Howard not only has to get the ball more, but he has to keep Davis from having another big scoring game.

The Magic have to shoot the 3 ball better tonight, as that is their game. In game 5 they only shot 6/24 from downtown for a 3-pt FG% of 25%.

The Magic have to learn how to win close games and not give up big leads. In the playoffs they are 1-4 in games that are decided by 5 points or less.

Ray Allen did hit a big 3 pointer in the 4th quarter of game 5, but he has to shoot better tonight, as in that game he was only 3/11 from the field.

If Stephon Marbury can give the Celtics some offense tonight there may not be a game 7 in Boston. The Celtics picked up Marbury to do what he did last night, as he saved them in the 4th quarter of game 5.

Rafer Alston may be the culprit for the game 5 loss, as he not only did not get Howard the rock at the end of the game, but he also took some ill advised shots. He needs to distribute the rock better tonight and make smart decisions running the point.

Can Howard and the Magic regroup and force a game 7? They have to do just that tonight or the Celtics will be going back to the Eastern Conference finals.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Magic to trounce Boston tonight.