The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.
Jarrod Randolph, Boston Globe- “Nelson’s improved play was big for the Magic, but Dwight Howard’s performance — arguably the best of his career — was the key.The four-time All-Star was heavily criticized for his disappointing performance in Game 3. Everything from his “Superman’’ nickname to his superstar status was questioned. But the 24-year-old center showed that he’s much more than an athletic pitchman. His 32 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 blocks showed him to be a dominant force that the Celtics can’t stop once he gets going. ‘Even though we knew we were down, 0-3, you have to win four games to win a series,’ Howard said. ‘I just kept . . . after we lost [Game 3], I was like man, I feel so bad.’”
Christopher Gasper, Boston Globe- “For the first time in these playoffs, it was the other guys who had the dynamic point guard who imposed his will on the game and made crucial plays to quarterback his team to victory. There was no YouTube-worthy, Dave Cowens-channeling dive from Nelson, just a pick and roll clinic and clutch shots. Orlando’s adjustment to using staggered picks to free up Nelson left the Celtics staggered and relegated Rajon Rondo (muscle spasms) to an aching afterthought…Even Superman needs a sidekick, and it’s not a coincidence that Orlando got on the board in the Eastern Conference finals because they got an evening when Dwight Howard was on his game and his teammates didn’t disappear.”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE- “While disappointed in not getting the sweep, this Boston Celtic team has been through too many trials and tribulations this season to allow one loss affect them. ‘There’s no need to panic,’ said guard Ray Allen. ‘We like the position we’re in.’ Boston leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, with a second shot at closing out the Magic in Game Five on Wednesday. Winning on the road in the playoffs can be a daunting task – that is, for everyone not donning the Green and White.”
Boston comes into Game Five with a 5-2 road playoff record this year, with two of those wins coming in Orlando’s not-so-Magic kingdom.
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald- “And everyone in the building knows the Celtics flunked Game 4. That they still very nearly stole the game is perhaps the best evidence yet that they are the better team. But they didn’t play much like a team at all Monday. Coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t think his players trusted each other and that they all tried to win it themselves.”
Ron Borges, Boston Herald- “Whenever the Magic are done this season, so is Amway, condemned to a pile of rubble in favor of a new palace around the corner that has the requisite luxury boxes, club seats and income potential to satisfy the needs of the modern professional franchise. When the Magic left a week ago down 0-2, and then were obliterated in Game 3 at the Garden, the belief here in Disney World was that Amway’s doors had closed for the last time. The Magic proved more resilient than that, but there is where similarities enter into things again, and none of them resemble what happened to the Bruins. The Celtics lost Game 4 in OT but they did it without playing well. They did it with point guard Rajon Rondo [stats] in deep foul trouble, with Tony Allen playing like he was in the last episode of “Lost,” and with Rasheed Wallace playing like Distracted Rasheed not Delightful Rasheed. Yet it was still a life-and-death struggle for the Magic.”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston- “Rondo, who brushed off injury talk, said he simply played poorly at both ends of the floor and noted, ‘I have to do a better job of getting under the picks.’ Nelson’s ability to get into the lane didn’t just aid his own outburst. Considering that Dwight Howard was 3-for-3 on field goals generated off the pick-and-roll, it’s clear Boston’s need to help with its bigs allowed easy buckets for Howard around the rim.”