This afternoon, the Orlando Magic will face the Boston Celtics for the 18th time since the 2007/08 season, when Celtics GM Danny Ainge first assembled the "Big Three" core of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. Orlando's point differential in the first 17 games of the series? +3. Yes, three whole points is all that separates these two teams in head-to-head play in the last two-plus seasons. And, really, when it comes down to it, what else do you need to know?
|2009/2010 NBA Season|
|February 7th, 2010|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Rajon Rondo|
|Vince Carter||SG||Ray Allen|
|Matt Barnes||SF||Paul Pierce|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Kevin Garnett|
|Dwight Howard||C||Kendrick Perkins|
|November 20th: Magic 83, Celtics 78|
|December 25th: Celtics 86, Magic 77|
|January 28th: Magic 96, Celtics 94|
Expect a physical, low-scoring game with both teams going on big runs to erase leads. An Orlando victory puts it back in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and assures it the playoff tiebreaker against Boston should they finish with identical regular-season records.
Let's see if Dwight Howard, who had been so woefully inefficient against Celtics centers Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace, can continue to improve against their defense. He score 19 points in the last meeting between the two teams, including 12 in the 4th quarter when the Magic staged what proved to be the game-winning rally.