The Boston Celtics’ stifling defense proved too much for the Orlando Magic to handle in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, as Boston built a 16-point lead through three quarters before Orlando’s rally came up just short at the end.
It was a tough loss for the Magic but Orlando Pinstripe Post doesn’t see all bad things.
Coach Stan Van Gundy’s decision to pair Marcin Gortat with Howard at the power positions paid dividends, and helped the Magic win the rebounding battle, 45-38, after an early deficit. And Carter played as aggressively as he has in months; he pleasantly surprised anyone concerned that he’d loaf through this game and fire contested 19-footers the whole afternoon. If Van Gundy makes some simple adjustments, like using Howard away from the ball, and some of his players’ open looks start dropping, the Magic will be in good shape. He’s right when he says “[o]ur team doesn’t have to prove that they can fight back from adversity and all that crap.” It’s about execution and making shots. This afternoon, Boston had the edge in both those areas.
Meanwhile CelticsBlog is enjoying the victory but aware that there’s a long way to go.
Clearly the Magic were cold after such a long rest but we can’t expect that kind of break in future games. We’ll have to keep executing for 48 minutes. Still, you take the breaks you can and you take the wins you get in the playoffs.
Another great job by the Celtics on Dwight Howard, holding him to just 13 frustrating points. Credit to Perkins but also Rasheed and Big Baby (and anyone else willing to wrap him up for a foul).