NBA Playoffs: Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics Game 3 Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Orlando Magic (59-23 SU, 45-33-4 ATS) vs Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, May 22, 2010, TD Garden, Boston, Mass. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Magic +3.5/Celtics -3.5
Over/Under: 188.5

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The Boston Celtics shocked the Orlando Magic by winning each of the first two games of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals to take a 2-0 series lead. The shock wasn’t just that the Celtics won the first two games, but that they won the games on the road in Orlando. Now, the Magic have to go to Boston with their backs against the wall. The Magic are certainly in a must-win spot on Saturday night when they have to win on the road to get back into the series.

The Celtics dominated for most of Game 1, taking a 22-14 lead after the first quarter, a 41-32 lead at the half, and a 74-58 lead after the third quarter. The Magic battled back in the fourth quarter to make it a game, cutting the lead to two in the final minute, but the Celtics held on for a 92-88 victory.

Game 2 was tight throughout, as the Magic held a 28-27 lead after the first quarter, the Celtics held a 53-51 lead at the half, and the Celtics led 78-70 after the third quarter. The game was close in the final minutes but Rajon Rondo made some clutch plays for the Celtics to give them a 95-92 victory, as Jameer Nelson missed a long 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

In Game 2, the Celtics shot 46 percent from the field and 5-for-15 from 3-point range. The Magic shot just 39 percent from the field and 7-for-18 on 3-pointers. The Celtics held a slight 38-36 rebounding edge and both teams committed 14 turnovers. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and 3-for-7 on 3-pointers. He also added five rebounds and five assists. Rondo had a great game with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field (no 3-point attempts), eight assists and five rebounds. Kendirck Perkins had 10 points and five rebounds, Kevin Garnett had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Glen Davis had eight points and six rebounds off the bench.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 30 points and eight rebounds. He shot 9-of-13 from the field and 12-of-17 from the free throw line. Vince Carter and J.J. Redick were the only other Magic players in double figures in scoring with 16 points each.

Howard, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds in Game 1, was more of a scoring threat in Game 2. But it still wasn’t enough to get the Magic over the hump. Howard needs to continue being as aggressive offensively as he was in Game 2, but he needs his teammates to step up. Carter is the only other Magic player playing well offensively because he is able to play one-on-one and score going to the basket. Carter has scored a total of 39 points in two games. The Celtics are refusing to double-team Howard, forcing him to dominate the game if the Magic are going to win. Many of the Magic players, primarily Rashard Lewis, who has a total of 11 points in two games in this series, rely on Howard getting double-teamed to free them up for open shots on the perimeter. Without those double-teams coming, Lewis can’t do anything. He can’t create his own shots. And Jameer Nelson can create his own shots, but Rondo is doing a superb job defensively on him. Nelson scored 20 points in Game 1 but only nine in Game 2. In the two games, he is shooting 40 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range.

Everyone has been stepping up for the Celtics. Even Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen and Davis are contributing off the bench. Pierce is playing like a star, averaging 25 points per game in this series. And Rondo has had at least seven assists in every game in the playoffs this year, including eight in each of the two games in this series. As long as everyone continues to play well like they have been, it’s okay for one player to have an off night each game, like Ray Allen did with just four points in Game 2.

The under is 4-0 in the last four games between these teams in Boston and 13-3 in the last 16 games between these teams overall. The underdog and the road team are both 7-0 ATS in the last seven games between these teams. The Magic are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the Celtics but 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in Boston.

Ryno’s Pick: I’m tempted to take the Celtics here as they have looked stellar but the truth is the value is actually with the UNDER 190 points here. Good luck!

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