We are on the eve of Game Three, and I am nervous. Typically one of the more confident Celts fans, I am the first guy to jinx my beloved team. With the way the Green have looked this series, it is very easy to be as confident as anyone. Hell, they have now beaten two of the NBA’s three best teams five straight games. They are playing team defense, shooting their mouth off to the camera, and shutting down the most dominant big man in the game.
Still, I just can’t help but think that the Magic have to have something left in them. Don’t get me wrong, I think with the way the Celts are playing right now, they are by far the better team. The Celtics are going to take this series (editor’s note: only the 94,999,384,352nd jinx on Celtics Town since the conclusion of Game Two — remember, if they lose, you don’t know where I live), but Orlando is not going to lay down. And the key to Game Three is going to be containing the Magic from behind the arc.
During the season, Orlando was the best three-point shooting team in the league, and it is a big reason that they got the 2 seed in the east. The Celtics have done a great job containing that 3-point shooting, and need to continue to do so in Game Three if they want to close this thing out at home.
You just can’t help but wonder when we are going to see the Magic that ripped off eight straight playoff wins, and 14 straight wins total over the last month. Jameer Nelson, when he is not busy dancing around like an ass-clown with Howard before games, can be lethal from deep, and is a top-10 point guard in the league. Rashard Lewis doesn’t make $126 Million for nothing (you know what, no, I take it back — I can’t even bring myself to compliment that sleepy-eyed lazy bastard). Michael Pietrus is typically pretty solid from deep as well, not to mention a fantastic defender. I just can’t help but wonder if they are going to go on a streak where they shoot 50 percent from the arc in one of these games.
On the other side of the coin, if the Celts play this game at their pace it should be much like Game One and Two, and hopefully with a hint of a nice dancing Italian on the big screen. When the Magic stay in a half-court offense, which they have done for most of the series, Orlando does not know what to do. Howard has zero post moves, Nelson cannot get past Rondo, and there is always a hand in Lewis’ face. Now if the Magic get going from 3 and on the fast break, that could all change. If these next two games are played in the 80′s and 90′s I gaurantee the Celts come out on top, but if it creeps up into the hundreds it’s anyone’s game. The Celts can win games in the hundreds, but cannot do it consistently. They are a defensive unit who slows the game down and executes at the offensive end.
I know I sound like a skeptic and trying to tell reasons why the Celts could lose this game, but lets be honest, I am just trying to make myself feel like I am not jinxing them. Seriously though, if I see Dwight Howard dance like a middle school shithead from Medford one more time before the game starts I am going to lose my mind. What’s even more crazy is the anouncers love it, “he is so happy go lucky, he is having such a great time.” Last time I checked, this is professional basketball, you are paid to do a job, and that job is to win. Dwight can have a great time all he wants, but in the end the winners always were focused and had a killer instinct.
Back to my original point. The Celts need to put a huge emphasis on stopping the outside shooting. Don’t worry about Dwight, I don’t care if he goes for 30 points and 15 rebounds — that is playing right into the Celtics’ hands. If he has 25 points paired with 25 from Nelson and 20 from Lewis, then the C’s are in trouble. If this game gets slowed down and we get Allen and Pierce going, then we are looking at a 3-0 lead and all the talk in the world about taking down Kobe Bryant. My prediction 92-85 Celts, and another bold statement. Also, Stan Van Fatty will probably crush a monster steak and cheese in the locker room.