With the Boston Celtics’ series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Orlando Magic took possession of home court advantage throughout the NBA Playoffs. Orlando was able to maintain that advantage for approximately 48 minutes, as they dropped game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Celtics at home. Tonight, they look to rebound and draw even in their quest to return to the NBA Finals.
The Orlando Magic hadn’t lost a game in more than six weeks. Their practices had become filled with laughter and trick shots. Monday’s practice was different. The Magic were all business. “I can’t speak for everyone, but we may have been feeling ourselves too much,” forward Matt Barnes said. Barnes also added that he thought the loss was a wake-up call for his team, who has swept their previous two opponents.
One of the key elements to Boston’s win on Saturday was their ability to contain Magic center Dwight Howard. Howard, who has a history of struggling against Boston’s interior defense, encountered an old foe in Celtics center Rasheed Wallace. Wallace is playing his first season with Boston, and was part of the Detroit Pistons teams that knocked Howard’s Magic out of the NBA playoffs in 2007 and 2008. The two found themselves tangled up on several plays, mostly in favor of Wallace. “You can’t allow it to happen again,” said Howard when asked about his game 1 struggles. The Magic will need a big performance out of their Superman if they plan on coming out of game 2 victorious.
Orlando has not lost consecutive home games all season long, a trend they’ll look to continue when they take the floor at Amway Arena tonight. The Celtics, on the other hand, believe they’ve found their winning ways again and have the chance to deliver a knock-out punch. However, Coach Doc Rivers cautioned his team to not be overly excited about Saturday’s victory. He believes his team has handled winning poorly in the past, and wants them to maintain their focus against a game Orlando squad.
You can see the Celtics battle the Magic tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
images via Yahoo