- Brian Schmitz states the difference between Game 1 and Game 2 for the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics. In two words, effort and heart:
The Magic played like a team satisfied it is coming home with a split for Game 3 on Friday night.
They were the team that came out listless and fell behind early by a large margin — mirroring the Celtics' listless effort in the opener Monday night.
But the defending champs at least found enough gumption and heart to storm back to cut a 28-point third-quarter deficit to three points, hitting shots and making stops. The Magic never made a semblance of a run.
- Mike Bianchi explains why Orlando didn't bother to show up last night against Boston, despite having the chance to put the Celtics in a 2-0 hole:
Unfortunately, it is simply the NBA mind-set to relax when you're playing Game 2 on the road after you've already won Game 1 on the road. Yes, you want to win it, but it's not imperative. It's not desperate. It's not "the coach is going to get fired and arena construction is going to halt" if you don't.
When you've already won Game 1 and stolen home-court advantage, everything else is just whipped cream.
Of course, the Magic players and coaches will say they fiercely wanted this game, but they did not. Sadly, they did not. You cannot really want something and play this horribly.
- Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com gathers the thoughts of Rafer Alston after the game (regarding the Eddie House incident) ...
The Magic were completely devoid of energy as the second half got underway, their only outburst coming when Alston hit Eddie House in the back of the head with an open-handed slap after House buried one of his four 3-pointers (Question for Stu Jackson: If a player whacks someone in the back of the head, but his fist is not closed and he doesn't use his elbow, does that mean the crime is not suspension-worthy? I believe we have Thursday's gray-area topic).... and also provides an assessment of what to look for between the Magic and the Celtics as the series shifts to Orlando for Games 3 & 4.
"He shot an elbow at me, to my stomach, and it was just a natural reaction. But I have no hard feelings toward Eddie at all," Alston said. To the question of whether he's concerned he'll be suspended for Game 3 Friday, Alston said: "I'm concerned, but that's something I can't do much about now. If the NBA is cool and they look at the play in its entirety, they'll see that he threw the elbow first at my stomach."
This is a series, and it's coming with subplots and surprises that are building the drama. Act III will kick off the weekend, and Act IV will end it, then we'll begin the start of the next workweek with a better idea of whether the Magic are truly championship material and whether the Celtics' supporting cast will continue to be so key to their title defense.
- Tim Povtak of NBA Fanhouse sums up last night's proceedings:
The Magic, conversely, looked like they started the game content to leave town with split, preferring to save their energy for Games 3 and 4 in Orlando. They fell into an early, why-bother approach, obviously overwhelmed by the Celtics superior focus.
- Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxys
m provides his thoughts on the matchup last night between Orlando and Boston. This observation was interesting.
Turkoglu is going to have to force the issue in this series. If he’s passive, they won’t win, and he won’t get paid as much. It’s a win-win-lose-lose situation.
I've spoken about Hedo's poor playoff showing a few weeks ago and I'll have to agree with the assessment. Turk needs to pick up his play the remainder of the series if the Magic want to beat the Celtics. That's key.
- UPDATE: Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie chimes in on the game.
UPDATE 2: Dwight Howard offers his thoughts after last night's loss:
[...] we have to prove what w e’re made of and come back with some real fight in Game 3. We need our home crowd to give us a big lift, but really it’s on us. And in my eyes it’s on me. I have to get my guys going with my play because if I’m playing hard and dominating in the paint the guys will f ollow me.
Let’s hope that was just one bad game. It’s going to be a long, hard series and we’ll be back from this. Yall keep the faith in us because we need the help.
UPDATE 3: Peter May, in a special to Yahoo! Sports, surmises Game 2 between Orlando and Boston with the following thoughts:
Neither Howard nor Lewis left his feet as Rondo soared. Neither player in any significant way attempted to stop, defend, impede or prevent the dunk. Howard, who led the NBA in blocked shots and is the 2008-09 Defensive Player of the Year, simply watched Rondo as if he was a shooting star. Lewis actually backed off, moving away to make more room for Rondo.
That was Game 2 in a nutshell. The Celtics attacked, the Magic backed off.
[...] "This was not one of the more enjoyable days of my coaching career. They dominated from the get-go," Van Gundy said. "That’s the first time in a long time that we’ve got our butts kicked." [...]
Series are all about adjustments, but the Magic need to do more than adjust to make it a series. They need a heart transplant. They never challenged a Celtics team that was in desperate need of a win, a team that got exactly one basket (and three points) from a foul-plagued Paul Pierce.
- UPDATE 4: Matt Watson of NBA Fanhouse addresses the Alston/House issue.
- UPDATE 5: As does Sports Illustrated, which holds a roundtable discussion to discuss the merits behind whether or not Skip To My Lou should get suspended for Game 3 tomorrow. The prevailing opinions? Split on the issue - two writers say yes, two writers say no. I suggest giving the article a read.
- For a Celtics perspective on Game 2, check out CelticsBlog and Celtics Hub.
Make sure to check out this post every few hours for updates.