Orlando Magic (59-23 SU, 45-33-4 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Friday, May 28, 2010, TD Garden, Boston, Mass. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Magic +3.5/Celtics -3.5
No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit to win a best-of-7 series. The Orlando Magic have a chance to be the first team to accomplish that feat, but first they have to win on the road in Boston in Game 6. If the Magic can get this road win, they will go back home to Orlando for Game 7. Winning on the road in a crucial game will be tough, but the Celtics are banged up and the Magic have the momentum.
After getting blown out in Game 3 to fall down 3-0 in the series, the Magic rebounded with an overtime victory in Game 4 to stay alive. Then, they went back home to Orlando and ran away in the fourth quarter with an easy victory in Game 5. Not only did the Celtics lose the game, 113-92, but Glen Davis, Marquis Daniels and Rasheed Wallace were all injured in the loss. Additionally, Kendrick Perkins was nearly suspended for Game 6. He was ejected from Game 5 with two technical fouls, putting him over the limit of six for the playoffs, but the NBA decided to rescind one of his technical fouls, so he won’t be suspended until the next time he receives one. Either way, the Celtics could be shorthanded in Game 6.
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After struggling offensively in the first three games, the Magic have now found their rhythm. They are getting better and better throughout the series. Finally, Dwight Howard is making shots near the basket and Rashard Lewis is becoming an offensive factor. When Howard is dominating, Lewis is hitting shots, and at least one of Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter is scoring efficiently as well, the Magic are tough to defend. When Howard was struggling to score one-on-one in the post and nobody was left open on the perimeter and Lewis wasn’t contributing, it was easy for the Celtics to defend the Magic, but that hasn’t been the case lately.
The big problems for the Celtics in Game 5 were rebounding and defending the 3-point line. They allowed the Magic to shoot 13-for-25 on 3-pointers and they were outrebounded by the Magic, 43-26. Nelson was 4-for-5 on 3-pointers, Matt Barnes was 3-for-4, and Mickael Pietrus and J.J. Redick shot a combined 4-for-7 from beyond the arc off the bench. Howard led the Magic in rebounding with 10. The leading rebounder for the Celtics was Kevin Garnett with only five.
The Celtics shot 43 percent from the field and 7-for-16 from 3-point range, while the Magic shot 52 percent from the field. The Celtics committed 10 turnovers while the Magic had 13.
Nelson led the Magic in scoring with 24 points, Howard scored 21 points, and Lewis and Redick each had 14. The Celtics were surprisingly led by Wallace, who scored 21 points off the bench on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers. Rondo had 19 points and six assists, Pierce scored 18 points, and Garnett added 10.
The Celtics need a little more production from Garnett, who has only scored more than 10 points once in this series. He needs to attack Howard to try and get him in foul trouble. Perkins is only averaging five points per game in the series. He also needs to do more offensively to help the Celtics.
After scoring a total of 15 points in the first three games of the series, Lewis has scored 27 points in the last two games (13 in Game 4 and 14 in Game 5). Redick has been great in the series for the Magic. He has scored at least nine points in every game and is averaging 12 per game. He has made exactly three 3-pointers in every game in the series and is shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc. Nelson is another guy who has stepped up, as he has scored at least 20 points in three of the five games in the series.
The Magic are 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games but 1-4 ATS in their last five games as an underdog. The Celtics are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as a favorite and 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games. The under is 10-3 in the last 13 meetings between these teams and 5-1 in the last six meetings in Boston. The Magic are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings in Boston. The underdog and the road team are both 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick: I think Boston might be in trouble here. I like the Magic plus the points!