The defending world champions aren’t folding.
Not at all.
In a pivotal Game 5 Tuesday night in Boston, the Celtics came back from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Orlando Magic, 92-88, to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Without Kevin Garnett, the Celtics are just winning these games on sheer guts.
Paul Pierce looks gassed most of the time. Ray Allen isn’t shooting consistently and their bench has been suspect, but the Celtics are finding ways to win.
On Tuesday night, they got a big game from Stephon Marbury, who scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter.
To put it bluntly, Doc Rivers is giving Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy a coaching lesson.
How else does one one explain how the Magic can’t get Dwight Howard involved, can’t hold a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and are allowing Glen “Big Baby” Davis to look like the second coming of Charles Barkley.
And why did Van Gundy have J.J. Redick in the game trying to guard Ray Allen with the Magic only up two, 85-83. Didn’t he watch Allen hit clutch 3-pointers to help the Celtics get past the Chicago Bulls in the opening round.
Well, he got a chance to see it in person when Allen ran off a series of screens to shake free from Redick, who isn’t known for his defense, to hit a 3-pointer to put Boston ahead for good with a minute and 20 seconds left in the game.
By the way, Superman isn’t happy. Not at all.
That’s not good for the Magic heading into Thursday’s Game 6 in Orlando because Howard is upset about not getting touches. If he carries that negative energy into Game 6, the Magic will find themselves out the playoffs.
My guess is Orlando will win Game 6 to force a decisive Game 7 in Boston.