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Eastern Conference First Round: Magic vs. Raptors, Game Five

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Eastern Conference Playoffs, Round One
Toronto Raptors main logo
Orlando Magic main logo
Magic Lead First-Round Series, 3-1
Amway Arena
7:30 PM
NBA TV, Sun Sports
Probable starters:
T.J. Ford PG Jameer Nelson
Anthony Parker SG Maurice Evans
Jamario Moon SF Hedo Turkoglu
Chris Bosh PF Rashard Lewis
Andrea Bargnani C Dwight Howard
Series Central

The Magic hope to ride the momentum they built up in the second half of Saturday's inspired 106-94 victory over the Raptors to a win at home today, which would allow them to advance to the second round for the first time since 1996. It won't be easy.

The two keys to a Magic victory are as follows:

  1. Dwight Howard must stay active defensively. All 16 (!) of his blocked shots in this series have come in the Magic's 3 victories. We were 7-1 in the regular season when Dwight had 5 blocks or more, a figure that's ballooned to 9-1 in the playoffs. When he's asserting himself on the defensive end, we're damn tough to beat.
  2. Jameer Nelson must "get his" offensively while Keyon Dooling must prevent T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon from "getting theirs". In the Raptors' Game Three win, Ford and Calderon eviscerated us to the tune of 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 16 assists. Getting them out of their comfort zones will force Chris Bosh and a tertiary player (Jason Kapono? Anthony Parker? Carlos Delfino?) to carry the Raptors' load offensively.

Tip's at 7:30 on NBA TV nationally and Sun Sports locally. Let's make it a loud crowd in the Amway Arena tonight. But, more importantly, let's get a victory and become the first team in the league to officially advance to the second round of the playoffs.