Friday, May 28, 2010

Celtics-Magic Game Six: On Switch Activated

The talk before this game was how this was Boston's Game Seven, the same way that Game Six against the Cavs was their Game Seven. But sadly for the Magic, the Celtics are never better than when they look terrible, because they've got the most pronounced on/off switch in NBA history. I didn't have a good feeling before the game started, and I didn't have a good feeling during the entire game, either.

Boston takes the early lead, but a Howard slam looks good; unfortunately, a defensive three is a point for Ray Allen from the line, and Paul Pierce adds another free throw on a foul to Jameer Nelson. Howard misses, but Rondo's jumper is terrible. Nelson misfires, and Rondo ges out in transition for the old-school three against Rashard Lewis. The Celtics point guard converts, and it's 10-4 early. Nelson feeds Howard for the flush, then draws a foul on Kevin Garnett, who is irate after getting caught with a ridiculous axe handle smash. I have no idea what Garnett is thinking there, and Rivers pulls him. Howard then slams on two straight possession to tie it, and, um, wow. 10-all. Glenn Davis has shaken off the concussion to return tonight. Pierce misses against Matt Barnes, then gets posted by Lewis for the make and lead. Allen answers with a three, but Nelson finds a clear path to tie it again. Pierce hits a three as well, and they are 3-for-3 out there. Lewis with a three and long miss that leads to Rondo drawing a foul like he's been shot. A lot of that going around in this series, really. We go to commerce with the Celtics up 17-14.

The Lemur comes back with attention to Boston Fan's super crying, because no other city has been annoyed by its teams. Pierce with an airball as Barnes does a nice job. Nelson throws an insane attempt that hits the top of the back board, which Howard collects and makes, somehow. Unreal play. He misses the free throw, and the Magic get another shot at it, but Nelson misses. Davis with a charge as Lewis gets nailed with the elbow; only Boston Fan thinks that a hard elbow is a legal play. Carter misses and Davis does as well. Pierce with a steal leading to a Rondo hoop. Howard misses from beyond his usual range. The replays show Carter as the culprit -- shocking -- and we go to commerce with the Celtics still up three.

Davis with two makes to push the lead to five; they are getting to the line. Howard turns it, and Davis scores at the cup; Magic looking weak, but Nelson hits a mid-range to stop the run. Howard blocks Allen in the mid-court. Pierce with an easy drive and finish as the Lemur fellates the coaching van Gundies. Nelson gets his second on an Allen flop away from the ball, and that's kind of crazy. Jason Williams in, and Lewis with a block to stop the momentum, but the baket has a lid for him on the other end. Rondo shoots at the end of a terrible possession, but Allen draws a hooking foul on JJ Reddick, and if you want to start talking about the Vast Referee Conspiracy To Ensure A Boston Final, I'm starting to wonder. Allen misses the karmic first foul, and makes the second, and the lead is 8.

Reddick misses the three, and Rondo feeds Pierce beautifully at the cup to continue the run. Magic offense looks bad, and Howard works to get to the line on a Pierce foul. Terrible miss on the first, make for the second. Rondo goes to the cup and falls heavily on a Williams foul, and he needs Pierce's Magic Wheelchair. As physical as the series has been, not sure that was one of the worst hits that he's taken, but if you spin on your drive and get pressure at the wrong time, it's not going to end well. Rondo limps to the line and makes both for an 11 point lead. He's also moving fine. Surprise, surprise. Reddick misses, Sheed boards. Rondo misses at the buzzer, and the first quarter ends with the Celtics leading, 30-19. Not looking good for a Game Seven right now.

Tony Allen in for Rondo. Reddick misses off a good Carter pass, and he's 0-for-3 now. Pierce to Nate Robinson for a miss, but the o-board happens and Davis eventually converts. Davis with a steal, but Tony Allen commits a charge on Reddick. The Lemur shows Stan van Gundy doing his silly voice; that has to help, right? Reddick with a make to cut it to 11. Sheed is blocked by Marcin Gortat, but the Celtics get another o-board, ending with Robinson feeding Davis, who misses an easy one somehow. Carter with a strong drive and gets to the line for a couple of makes and van Gundy fellates Robinson for no reason at all. Nine point game... and Robinson makes a three from the mouth job. Mark Jackson applies the final kiss and wet wipe as we go to commerce with a 12-point Celtic lead.

Carter with a make as Pierce goes down off a screen. Robinson to Garnett for an easy one. Howard with an obvious elbow to turn it; he also took steps. Woof. Howard sits as the Lemur decides to talk about players dancing, rather than the game. No, seriously. Reddick strips Tony Allen. Robinson called for a loose ball foul as Nelso slips. Carter misses, and Robinson doesn't. The Celtics are up by 15 as van Gundy gets gooey; he has been huge. Lewis turns, and that's six; Garnett with a tip, and the lead is 17. The Magic call time, and we're not far away from this being over, really.

After commerce, Nelson falls again on pressure from Robinson, and that's yet another turn. Robinson with a miss, and Reddick and Garnett go full luchadore into the crowd. A better crowd would be chanting E-C-W right now, really. Celtic ball, and Pierce makes to push it to 19. It's a wilding right now, and the Magic look beaten as Carter turns it, leading to Robinson drawing Nelson's third foul, a flagrant that really wasn't, but so be it. Robinson makes both to push the lead to 21, and with 30 minutes left in the game, I'm calling this one over.

Sheed misses. Howard with a nice move on Garnett and a make. Robinson makes again, and he's officially on fire; 10 points in six minutes. I'd like to start slapping myself for ever saying anything nice about White Chocolate in my picks column for this one. Carter tries to turn it but gets it back, and goes to the rim for a make and foul. Rondo still on the bench as Carter gets the make following commerce, and it's "down" to 18. Sheed with a bad three at the end of a bad possession, and the Magic get the team board. Sheed blocks Howard, big play, and Robinson makes it 20 again. Pierce fouls Howard near the cup, and the Orlando center hits both. Curious as to why Rondo can't get back on the floor, but Robinson owns this game right now, as Howard gets a weak call on his drive to the cup. That's his third foul, and seeing how he's been one of their better offensive ideas, it's a real issue.

All on Carter now with Nelson and Howard gone, and he can't do it. Shocking. Robinson with a miss, and Williams has a transition three, the first of the game for Orlando, to make it 16 with 3:27 left in the half. Rondo returns after commerce as the Lemur gives us more of the warmth and wisdom of Stan van Annoying. Pierce with a miss, and Gortat boards. Carter to the cup to cut it to 14, and the Lemur needs to get their on court mics away from Boston Fan. Ray Allen with a too-easy drive from a Perkins moving screen. Williams isn't a point guard this trip down, and misses while offending the basketball gods. Pierce gets it deep against Barnes and goes to the line. The Truth makes both, and the lead is back to 18.

Carter to Gortat, and Ray Allen takes a foul; had the Magic had this Vince more often in this series, they wouldn't be facing elimination. Gortat misses the first, makes the second, and it's 17. Allen misses, Lewis boards. Carter hits a three off a Barnes pass, and he's got 12 now; Magic with a pulse. Terriblle possessions from both teams, with a Lewis miss from the arc that would have mattered, and the baskets have lids right now. Carter goes to Hero Mode and gets Perkins' second foul with 12.6 seconds left. Vince now has five free throws in this game, more than the last three games worth. The Lemur fellates Vince as he makes one, and the lead is 13. Rondo misses for the final Celtics shot, and that's the half. If you are looking for drama, the fact that the Magic cut the lead with Nelson and Howard on the bench in the second is what you are clinging to, along with the idea that Robinson might stop being the best player on the floor. But it's a thin hope.

Howard misses; Garnett makes to start the scoring in the third. Howard with good patience and hits a hook over Perkins. Allen bails out the Cs at the end of the clock with a three; backbreaker. Howard can't make the bank over Perkins. Pierce to Garnett to Allen to ground, and the lead has grown by six in just over two minutes. Once again, the Cs are coming out big in the third quarter, and if you doubt Doc Rivers' coaching bona fides, consider how his team routinely turns the opponent into pudding after halftime adjustments.

Mark Jackson fellates Allen's mom and Stan van Gundy pouts like a three year old. Not sure I'm going to mind this series being over, really. Lewis misses from the arc, and Allen finally does as well. Carter misses in the post. Pierce's three makes it 22, the largest lead of the night, and my kids decide to quit on it; can't say I blame them. Pierce misses from the arc as he goes for a kill shot. Howard makes in the lane. Cs now running clock and getting nice looks late, as Rondo catches and misses at the cup on a Barnes foul. His first free throw is terrible, and so is the second. Nelson turns it at the cup; ugly. He's got 4 points and 2 assists tonight, but adds a three after a steal, and when he's the third best point in the game (after Rondo and Robinson), the Magic aren't winning. Garnett makes from mid-range to end the "run". Lewis with another bad turn. Rondo walks as he goes to Globetrotter Mode; the Celtics can only lose this, the Magic can't win it. Howard with a slam and Garnett foul, and there's no way that KG can stay with him. That's why Perkins matters. The free throw rolls in, and it's 16.

Reddick called for the foul as Allen pulls the chair on him, and that's just automatic points for the Celtics. Bad time for the Magic and Reddick to have his worst game of the playoffs. Nelson misses, Pierce gets his eighth board, and Nelson is taking the goat horns away from Carter... but Carter seizes them back with a dumb foul, his third. Pierce with two makes, and the lead goes back to 20 with 17 minutes left.

Garnett erases Carter at the cup with an uncalled goaltend, and Pierce goes into Tragic Diva Mode on a Howard hard foul. With admirable discretion, he avoids the Magic Wheelchair Moment, and makes both as Boston Fan serenades Howard. Howard saves a possession and Nelson hits. Pierce turns on Howard's defensive pressure, and Lewis feeds Howard for a slam as he waves to the crowd. Well, at least go down with flair. Rondo misses, and Reddick's three misses as Rivers calls time. Had the Dookie made that one... it wouldn't have mattered, because this game ended in the second quarter when Robinson destroyed Nelson and Williams.

The Magic are 3-for-12 tonight from the arc, while the Celtics are 8 for 14. Telling. Garnett with a make off commerce. Nelson misses a clean look off a screen by Howard. Allen with a make as Reddick is just horrible tonight; he also misses coming back, Pierce's 11th board. Perkins called for an offensive foul on the never to be taken seriously again Mickael Pietrus, and now that he's close on the technical ban, he's awfully quiet on foul calls. Tony Allen in for Ray Allen. Davis blocks Nelson, who then fouls Pierce, who pushes the lead to 24. This game is going to be so far off, even the Cs won't be able to blow this lead.

Carter with a running make. Rondo turns, the Magic miss from the arc, another turn, and Pietrus finally with a make. Pierce into end of quarter Hero Mode, and Pietrus flops to no effect as the Celtic swingman makes. Brandon Bass misses, and the quarter ends with the Celtics up 82-61. At this point, the coverage is more about hard fouls and possible injuries -- it's not like the Celtics have shown themselves to be very sturdy on their feet -- rather than who will win the series.

Pierce starts the fourth with a three with clock burn, even. It's Coronation Time. Lewis draws an arc foul on Sheed, and Allen fouls Carter out there as well. Carter with an effort tip. Sheed misses, but Allen boards, and Robinson has a quick dumb three that fails to burn clock and misses. Pierce with a foul on Howard. Pietrus with a bad three miss. Williams flops on a hard screen and takes forever to get up; great effor there. Miss leads to Howard getting to the line as Celtic Fan cheers Pierce for preventing the dunk with toughness. Howard misses both free throws, and Celtic Fan could not be happier unless he was taking a chair shot from Sheed. A bad possession burns clock as the Lemur fellates the Magic for not quitting the way they did in Game Three. Woo hoo!

Lewis with a make inside the arc, and it's 20. Davis misses. Perkins stops Howard on a drive, and that's textbook defense. Allen misses after commerce, but Reddick turns; the Cs miss in transition, but Nelson's pass to Reddick is terrible, and that's Yet Another Turn. Eight minutes until this is over. Garnett misses, but they run clock. Garnett fouls Howard quickly, and he makes one as Celtic Fan serenades him. Rondo and Pierce in for Tony Allen and Robinson. Reddick steals a Pierce pass and gets to the lane on a Ray Allen foul. The Dookie makes both, and it's 17. The Cs run 24 seconds of clock and get a Pierce three, their first points in 4.5 minutes, not that the drought matters. Howard with a catch down low and Pierce's fourth foul, but since they get one point at most from him going to the line, not exactly a winning strategy. The second is an o-board leading to a Howard slam, and the lead is 17. Rondo's three at the buzzer doesn't get iron, and with six minutes left... well, the Celtics just have to avoid turnovers, run clock and hit free throws. Honestly, it's not that hard.

Carter's three misses, and the Magic are now 4 for 17 there. Allen's three misses, but Pierce boards. Garnett misses, but Orlando can't control the board, and this is one minute off the clock. Allen misses, and Reddick fakes, goes back behind the arc, and makes to cut it to 14. There isn't enough time, and Pierce makes to ensure it. Reddick to Nelson for a hoop, but that took too much time. Pierce turns it, but Carter doesn't want the three, Nelson can't hit the three, Howard can't save the board, and Rondo makes in transition as Carter is hurt. Just in case you thought this game wasn't over. 16 point lead for Jackson's WWE wrapup, with about 200 seconds left. If it wasn't an elimination game, the starters would have been gone minutes ago.

Howard with a scoop; not sure why you don't foul him. Allen misses, and the Magic get the team board. Lewis misses a contested three as van Gundy tries to make the point that Orlando lost the series in Game One. Well, um, whatever; they lost the series because in four out of six games, they got their heads kicked in. Celtic Fan chants Beat LA, because that's the only team they are allowed to play in the Finals. I give up the diary as the Lemur goes into full We're Not Watching This Game Anymore Mode. Just can't get enough of that mode, really.

So the Celtics are your Eastern Confernce Champions, and they've earned it by taking out the best two teams. Hard to see how either of these teams get back here again next year; the Celtics have to get old and brittle enough to not do this again, and the Magic just got their hearts ripped out for all to see. Which means it's all about where a certain someone goes, but since I'm the only NBA fan outside of Boston, LA and Phoenix who isn't paying attention to that, I won't go there now.

Anyway... congrats to the once and always champions, and the 3-0 lockdown mark is still in effect. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it... ever was...

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