After losing Game 3 by 23 points, and putting themselves in an 0-3 hole that no NBA team has overcome, Orlando appears to be a drowning team. Boston has come at Orlando in unrelenting waves of vocal defense, fluid offense, and total concentration.
Rajon Rondo’s now famous diving steal/ layup has become a microcosm of the series: Boston is outhustling and outworking a surprisigly blase Orlando Magic team.
This series has reminded me a lot of a boxing match. In Game 1, Boston punched the Magic in the collective mouth, sending them sprawling to the canvas. Orlando was not ready for Boston’s physicality, especially Dwight Howard who struggled with Kendrick Perkins’ physical defense and Rasheed Wallace’s judo-chops.
In Game 2, Orlando came back, cuts healed, energy restored, ready to avenge their round 1 knockdown. Boston and Orlando exchanged punches all game long, but, at the end of the game, Vince Carter missed two crucial free throws with Orlando down three and Kevin Garnett and Rondo proved to be too much .
After losing the second round–the second game– on points, Orlando came out for Game 3 and promptly took a 27-12 beating in the first quarter. All of the sudden, the cuts reopened, the Magic’s legs collectively wobbled and Rajon Rondo knocked Orlando down once again with what has become the highlight of the playoffs.
The Orlando Magic still haven’t gotten up off the mat. So what do I expect to happen in Game 4? I think Orlando will throw in the towel. Nothing the Magic have said or done since getting knocked down by Rondo suggests a miraculous comeback. The Magic appear to be a dead team– ready for golf, fishing, and the off season.
Rajon Rondo has turned his cell phone off for the entire playoffs so that he can focus 100% on basketball…Brian Scalabrine praises Tom Thibodeau and says he’d be a great fit in Chicago…Paul Pierce thinks the Orlando Magic miss Hedo Turkoglu…Dwight Howard told a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel that “there is no need for us to be down”