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Orlando Magic Having to Play Catch-Up Against the Boston Celtics

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Orlando Magic fans looking for reasons to believe in an Eastern Conference Finals comeback against the Boston Celtics may point out that their team has lost the first 2 games by a combined 7 points. In a private conversation, one NBA writer listed that fact as a reason why Orlando can still win the series.

But, as usual, I do think we need to consider some context. It's not as though both games have been exciting, back-and-forth affairs. Here are some telling data from Stats By Numbers' boxscores for this series:

Team Time With Lead
Game 1 Game 2 Total
Celtics 47:31 41:15 88:46
Magic 00:00 06:28 06:28
Tied 00:29 00:17 00:46

When anyone says the Celtics are in control, they certainly refer to their 2-0 series lead. But they've also controlled both games, to a great extent. Boston has held a lead for 92.5% of the minutes played in this series. And though it's true that Orlando can stage a comeback, it's just as true that plenty has to change for that to happen. A poor start buried it in Game 1, while a lull in the third quarter of Game 2 helped Boston go on a 13-1 run to take a 70-60 lead. The margin for error against this Celtics team has been too low for the Magic to handle so far. We'll see if that much holds true as the series continues. Game 3 tips this Saturday in Boston.

And if you're curious, Orlando led for 83.1% of its first 8 postseason games combined as it swept the first two rounds, including 3 games in which it never trailed.