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Tonight's Game: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic - Open Thread

Going with wordmarks instead of logos in the chart today. Let's see if that can change our luck a little bit...

Boston Celtics wordmark
Orlando Magic wordmark
21-3 18-10
TD Banknorth Garden
6:00 PM
Sun Sports
Probable starters:
Rajon Rondo PG Jameer Nelson
Ray Allen SG Keith Bogans
Paul Pierce SF Hedo Turkoglu
Kevin Garnett PF Rashard Lewis
Kendrick Perkins C Dwight Howard

Just like the last time these two teams met, Jim of Green Bandwagon and I have exchanged questions for one another to answer. You can read my answers to his questions here. Here are my questions, in bold, followed by his responses:

1. Recently, former NBA guards Gary Payton and Travis Best have expressed an interest in joining the Celtics. Are you flattered or infuriated by their statements? And would you rather have Payton, Best, or another free-agent point guard on your roster come playoff time?
Their statements are not infuriating. In fact it is encouraging to see guys want to play in Boston. Call it the KG effect. Shortly after he came to town Eddie House, Scot Pollard (for better or worse) and James Posey signed on board. Even Reggie Miller considered it. Best and Payton are just the two latest veterans to show interest. Also it is clear that House is better at catching and shooting than playing the back up point, particularly against good teams. Furthermore, the Celtics have two open roster spots. Finally, deep down Celtics fans want Sam Cassell to get bought out and join the Celtics (Bill Simmons' idea originally I think). Yes he has the potential to disrupt chemistry. But so does Payton and Cassell still has something left in the tank. I just don't want to see Rajon Rondo get lost in the process. It turns out it is much easier to play arm chair general manager and demand the Celtics get a back up point guard than it is to actually name who it should be.

2. The Celtics have lost three times this year: a close one against the Magic, who were playing well at the time; an overtime game against LeBron and his Cavaliers; and a close one against the Pistons. Which loss was most infuriating? And does the possibility of facing any of those teams in a seven-game playoff series scare you?
I was at the Pistons game and was mildly annoyed to see Pierce take the possible game winner, because he did not have the hot hand and he left time on the clock. Meanwhile, the Cavs loss was frustrating because Ray Allen missed a couple of free throws towards the end of regulation and the C's offense imploded in overtime. But to be honest none of the losses are that big a deal to me, particularly the Magic one because it was on the road with Orlando playing very well. It's too long a regular season to get worked up about these things. That said, in a 7 game series I'd be terrified of the Celtics getting LeBroned (see Pistons last year) or getting picked apart by a veteran Detroit squad. I have a healthy respect for Dwight Howard and could see him ripping off a streak of 30-20s, but think the Magic are a year or two away.

3. Brendan of Believing in Magic started a bit of a flame-war when he called all the Celtics "punks" because of their constant hammering of Dwight Howard in the teams' first meeting this season. Is there bad-blood between Celtics fans and Magic fans? Or do you think that's all water under the bridge by now?
The whole concept of a flame-war is a bit beyond me and strikes me as something that gives blogging a bad name. I've had a few attacks on my work. In each case I either accepted the comments as warranted or been so thoroughly confused that it simply went away. I would be more likely to participate in a heated exchange with someone I knew well and thus it would not be a flame war. Bottom line some people really seem to enjoy that stuff. So I would not be shocked to see it again. Although it makes more sense for Celtics fans to get into with Knicks, Pistons, Lakers and – for myself only and for reasons I can't explain – Bucks fans.

4. I'm sure you've seen John Hollinger's Playoff Odds doohickey at ESPN. The simulator gives the Celtics a 10% chance of posting a record of 72-10 or better and a 61% chance of winning the NBA title. How much stock do you put into that?
I can't think of any situation in which the Celtics win 72 games. And I put absolutely no stock in the "61% chance of winning a title" talk. Two years ago the Pistons won 64 regular season games. Last season the Mavericks won 67. Look where it got them. Also I'd like to see the Celtics go on some real road trips and play a few elite Western Conference teams1 before I get too carried away.

1 - (Editor's note: the Celtics are 4-0 against the West, having defeated Denver, Golden State, the L.A. Lakers, and Sacramento. They have yet to play a Western team on the road, although they are about to embark on a four-game Western swing through Sacramento, Seattle, Utah, and Los Angeles.)