What They're Saying Before the Orlando Magic Face Off Against the Boston Celtics

  • The Boston Celtics are older, but they don't think their window of opportunity for an NBA title has closed
    Josh Robbins talks about the issue of age and health with the Boston Celtics and whether or not it will ultimately affect the team's chances to win a title.

    Much has changed since Christmas. Orlando lost eight of its next 15 games as it endured a confounding slump. Boston lost eight of its next 14 games as it dealt with injuries to Pierce, Garnett and swingman Marquis Daniels.

    But the Celtics (29-13) still have the second-best record in the East, and they now have everyone healthy except for Daniels, who should return from a thumb injury sometime in mid-February.

    "They've just got a lot of veteran guys on the team, very smart guys, but they still get the job done," Orlando's Rashard Lewis said. "They're still one of the top teams in the league, so you can't take that away from them.

    "I've got a lot of respect for that team, and if you don't have respect for that team, they'll show you. So, I think you can't look at them as an older team. They're still a team that's going after that trophy, and they very well have enough guys to go and win it."
  • Orlando Magic notes: Stan Van Gundy cares about the quality of 3-pointers, not the quantity
    Head coach Stan Van Gundy elaborates on the importance that the Orlando Magic, no matter what, need to take good shots.

    Are the Orlando Magic taking too many 3-pointers? For coach Stan Van Gundy, it's not a question of quantity. It's a question of quality.

    Van Gundy is a fan of the trey. He's seen statistics that say 3-point shots fall at roughly the same percentage as midrange jumpers. So, if 3-pointers are worth more, why not take them?

    But Van Gundy doesn't like contested shots from beyond the arc, especially if his guys could have driven the ball inside instead. On Wednesday, Van Gundy showed some film to his players to make that point. "I don't think our decisions on when to shoot, when to drive, when to pass have been consistently very good," Van Gundy said.

More after the jump.

  • Star turn for Celtics’ Rondo?
    Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe delves into the growth of Rajon Rondo, not only as a player but as a public figure.

    The selling of Rajon Rondo isn’t easy, though a selection to the Eastern Conference All-Star team would increase the visibility and perhaps marketability of one of the NBA’s top young point guards.

    The Eastern and Western reserves will be announced this evening, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he has gotten calls from a number of coaches who said they voted for Rondo. It would be his first All-Star appearance and the most significant indication that Rondo is garnering respect around the league.
  • This is where the elite meet
    Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe notes the significance of the Magic and the Celtics facing off against each other in the regular season.

    The philosophy in Celtics camp is that it’s only a statement game if you win. It’s only a litmus test if you pass. It’s only a measuring stick if you measure up.

    There are, they say, too many variables to take anything relevant away from a regular-season game - or, in this case, a stretch of three marquee matchups: at Orlando and Atlanta and at home against the Lakers.

    The Magic, tomorrow’s opponents, are the defending Eastern Conference champions. As they were on Christmas Day, when the Celtics went into Amway Arena without Paul Pierce and walked out with a victory. From there, the Celtics went out West and lost three straight games. And coach Doc Rivers would ask, "What, then, does that win in Orlando mean?’’
  • Accountability? Doc Rivers runs to it
    Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald comments on head coach Doc Rivers and accountability.

  • Magic still Green from Xmas
    Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes that Orlando is aware of what Boston is capable of on the court, especially after its meeting on Christmas Day.

    The Magic continue to have an interesting relationship with the Celtics [team stats]. Orlando knows what beating them last spring meant to its franchise, but heading into tonight’s meeting, the Magic remain aware of the hammer in the Green satchel.

    The Celts’ 86-77 win here on Christmas still rings in the Magic ears, so don’t expect the locals to buy into the notion that the Shamrock sky is falling.

    "Well, they’ve got the second-best record in the East and they’ve had some injuries, so I think all of that is a little bit overstated," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Obviously they’re a very good team and a very, very strong contender. They’ve had people out of the lineup; that’s going to affect you."
  • Celtics Joke About Physical Play Against Howard
    UPDATE (from Ben): Celtics coach Doc Rivers doesn't buy the Magic party line that referees don't respect Dwight Howard.
    "I literally get a kick out of all those Howard people saying everyone is being too physical with him,'' Rivers said. "The guy hits more than anyone in the league. If he's going to give it out, then ...? If you're going to run into guys, power into guys, I guess you do it one way, then they can't do it back? Come on.''

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