Orlando Magic: Rashard Lewis declares showdown with Boston Celtics a second-chance 'statement game'
Josh Robbins states how the Orlando Magic have an opportunity to win against an elite team - the Boston Celtics - on the road early in the year.
The Orlando Magic disappointed themselves the last time they played an elite Eastern Conference team, losing on their home floor to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Tonight offers a chance for redemption — this time at TD Garden, the site of one of their greatest triumphs.
"It's a big game for us," Lewis said. "We're playing against one of the best teams in the NBA. I think it's a statement game, just like the Cleveland Cavaliers game was a statement game. They came in and beat us. It's going to be tough going into Boston, but at the same time, I think we're going to see where we're at."
Are We Ready For The Magic?
Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog wonders whether or not tonight's matchup pitting two Eastern Conference powers will live up to its billing, considering how both teams have started the regular season.
The Magic dropped some early games to the Pistons and Thunder and more recently to the Cavs, but they've been feasting on the bottom of the league in their last three wins, including a revenge win over Oklahoma City. For their part, the Celtics have been struggling ever since that [Timberwolves] game and have been only .500 in the last 6 games. Will this be a clash of the titans or a battle of who could care less?
The Magic are Getting Hyped and Stan Van Gundy is Whining
Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub thinks Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy should stop "whining" due to the perceived lack of respect for Orlando.
I rested my case against Stan and his overblown and ridiculous inferiority complex before the season, and nothing has changed. We all respect the Magic. We all believe they are a real threat to the title. They scare the crap out of me. We’re all aware Jameer Nelson was out with an injury during last year’s playoffs. So please, for the sake of my temper and your legacy, stop the silly whining. You’re better than that.I'm not picking sides but I'll just state that when Chris Ballard and Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated each pick the Orlando Magic as the team that will be the biggest flop this season, when SI writers unanimously tab the Magic as the third-best team in the Eastern Conference, when the NBAPET prediction system forecasts Orlando to finish 49-33, when Tim Povtak on behalf of Sporting News lists the Magic at #8 in its NBA Countdown, when a number of ESPN analysts predict Orlando to finish third in the East, when general managers and advance scouts think the Magic are a step behind the competition, when the NBA released its annual GM survey and 7.1% of the respondents believe Orlando will win its conference for the second year in a row, when a SLAM ONLINE writer predicts the Magic will exit in the second round of the playoffs, when Sean Deveney of The Baseline chose the Washington Wizards to finish ahead of Orlando in the Southeast Division before the regular season started, one can see why head coach Van Gundy feels the way he does. Yes, it goes both ways in terms of the perception of the Orlando Magic, but one can't blame Stan for speaking up about it at times. Does it get repetitive? Depends on who you ask, I suppose.
Orlando Magic notes: Mickael Pietrus practices Thursday
I thought this was a neat tidbit about Mickael Pietrus.
Pietrus said Thursday that one of his goals for this season is to make the NBA's all-defensive team. He helped his cause against the Thunder by helping limit Kevin Durant to 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
- Stay tuned later today when my colleague, Ben Q. Rock, previews the Magic and the Celtics by conducting a Q/A with the aforementioned Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub - a fantastic site I might add.
What They're Saying Before the Orlando Magic Face Off Against the Boston Celtics