If Dwight Howard can't play with fouls in Game 3 tonight, the Orlando Magic can kiss their championship aspirations goodbye.
We’re about 90 minutes before the start of Game 3 in Boston where the Orlando Magic will try avoid going down 3-0 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
Here are three keys for the Magic to win this game and stay in the series because if they lose tonight, it’s over.
1. Get Rashard Lewis going. After averaging 17 points in Orlando’s sweep of the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semifinals, Lewis has scored 11 points total in the first two games of this series against the Celtics. At the same time, he can’t be standstill jump shooter. Got to mix his offensive game up.
2. Howard must keep cool. He’s been called for 42 fouls in 10 playoff games. His lowest foul total has been three and that was in Game 1 against the Hawks. Calls are going to go against him tonight, but he can’t let that frustrate him. Defense will win this game and the Magic need the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the game.
3. Contain Rondo. While the Big Three – Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce – are key components to the Celtics, point guard Rajon Rondo is the one who makes the team go. Jameer Nelson has to put pressure on him to play the defense and get Rondo in foul trouble. That is a sure-fire way to keep him from dictating the game.
The Magic are more talented than the Celtics, but Boston has had the edge in terms of point-guard play and bench play in this series and have the edge in championship experience.
Although Orlando made it to the NBA Finals last season, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Magic in five games. The Celtics beat that same Laker team in six games to win it all in 2008.