AOL News has a new home! The Huffington Post.

Click here to visit the new home of AOL News!

Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Magic Fade, But They Don't Fear Celtics

May 4, 2009 – 11:30 PM
Text Size
Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

Dwight HowardForget the lead they lost. The only thing that really mattered was the win they got.

They have stolen the home-court advantage from the defending champs. And it's pretty hard to complain about that.

Yes, the Orlando Magic squandered a 28-point lead against the Boston Celtics, but they still left the TD Banknorth Garden – whatever that is – with a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven, second-round series.

Like my boss once told me, "I don't want to hear the labor pains. I just want to see the baby.''
Magic 95, Celtics 90: Recap | Box Score
Magic Lead 1-0 | Next Game: Wednesday @ Boston, 8 PM ET


If you listened to the post-game, television analysis by Charles Barkley and Chris Webber, you would have thought the Magic lost the game, drowning in sloppy play and bad shots in the closing eight minutes.

The Celtics closed to within three in the final minute, but they still lost 95-90, knowing now that if they can't recover quickly, the series could be over before they come back to Boston.

Unless Kevin Garnett can limp back into uniform, the Celtics could be history.

The Magic looked bad in the closing minutes, but it didn't look like panic. It looked like complacency, like they got lazy, like they really aren't that worried about the Celtics.

And they aren't. The Celtics couldn't guard Rashard Lewis. They didn't know what to do with Hedo Turkoglu.

There was no fear in Orlando's crash at the end. The fact is, they should have blown out the Celtics, who obviously still were hung over from their delightful and surprisingly competitive first-round series against Chicago. It took everything the Celtics had to beat the No. 7 seed. Like that's a great accomplishment.

When Game 2 starts Wednesday night, the Celtics will be trailing 1-0, and they still will have no answer for center Dwight Howard, who had 22 rebounds, chewing up and spitting out Kendrick Perkins.

"We can't be happy with the way it finished,'' Howard said. "We got complacent. And that's not good enough.''

The Celtics are without Garnett, but the Magic were without their starting backcourt. Jameer Nelson was lost for the season with a shoulder injury, replaced by Rafer Alston. Courtney Lee, their most athletic player, missed Game 1 and likely will miss Game 2 after surgery on his nose.

Latest NBA Playoff Photos

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic drives past Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dwight Howard;Glen Davis

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic tries to get by Kendrick Perkins #43, Paul Pierce #34 and Brian Scalabrine #44 of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** HedoTurkoglu;Kendrick Perkins;Paul Pierce;Brian Scalabrine

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics is surrounded by Dwight Howard #12, Mickael Pietrus #20 and Anthony Johnson #8 of the Orlando Magic in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Paul Pierce;Dwight Howard;Mickael Pietrus;Anthony Johnson

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Anthony Johnson #8 of the Orlando Magic celebrates his three-point shot against the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Anthony Johnson

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics collide in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rashard Lewis;Paul Pierce

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic talks with Rafer Alston #1 during a time out against the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Stan Van Gundy;Rafer Alston

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Rafer Alston #1 of the Orlando Magic celebrates during a time out in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rafer Alston

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a foul call against his team in the second half against the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Stan Van Gundy

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics reacts to a foul called against his team in the second half against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Doc Rivers

    Getty Images

    BOSTON - MAY 04: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics reacts to a foul called against his team in the second half against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 4, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Magic defeated the Celtics 95-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Doc Rivers

    Getty Images



The Celtics had every reason to struggle early after their last series, and they hardly put up a fight early, so this loss was really no surprise. The ending gave the Celtics fans and apologists something to talk about, but it didn't offer much hope.

The Magic showed early how good they can be. Their problem is learning how to sustain it, like the really good teams do. They haven't been past the second round of the playoffs since Shaquille O'Neal left for LA.

Howard, though, is ready to step into those shoes.
Filed under: Sports

ON FACEBOOK