ORLANDO – While the easy and windy Orlando 3 blast of the Boston Celtics in the 2009 NBA playoffs gave them a 2-1 advantage in the series, but their gritty Game 6 victory was only about surviving post-season and keeping hopes alive.
After separating the first two matches of their best-of-seven series in Boston, the Magic returned to Amway Arena and toppled the Celtics 117-96 behind the Dwight Howard defense and the shooting of Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu. However, after suffering a heartbreaking defeat in Games 4 and 5 and suddenly facing elimination, Magic responded in a situation that had to be won by collecting 83-75 wins in Game 6. The victory, of course, set the stage for Orlando to become the first team in modern history who won Game 7 in Boston – doing so to reach the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the 2019-20 NBA season suspended after the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, Fox Sports Florida has used most of April and May to show classic games of choice from the 31-year history of the Great Magic. After showing the Orlando 76-2 defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2009 playoffs last week, Fox Sports Florida returned to broadcast a thrilling Orlando, back and forth, seven defeats of the Celtics in the Eastern semifinals. Sunday. Game 3 will be broadcast on television on Thursday at 6 pm), while Game 6 will be aired that night at 8:30 at night. Game 7, one of the most significant wins in Magic history, will be shown on Saturday at 7pm.
Orlando almost wasted a 28-point advantage, but survived to win Game 1, while Eddie House’s 31 points paved the way for Boston’s Game 2 victory even for the series. In Game 3, Howard – the ruling NBA defender at the time – turned the Celtics into a jump shooter team and the Magic balanced offense opened the way for a 117-96 victory for Orlando.
That night, Orlando fired 59.1 percent from the floor, while the NBA’s best defense limited the Celtics with an accuracy of only 43 percent and 13 of 18 errors from the 3-point line. Howard has a lot to do with Boston’s frustration by blocking five shots – four of which occurred in the first round. In one of his punches, Howard jumped high into the air, guarding himself from crashing into the plank with his left hand while swinging multiple lines of fire into the Amway Arena crowd.
“Only the whole team increased the intensity of the defense,” Howard said after the victory of Game 3. “It started with me. I have to do that every night if we want to be successful. “
In addition to the defense he provided, Howard added 17 points and 14 rebounds. Rashard Lewis (28 points, six rebounds, three assists and three 3-points) and Hedo Turkoglu (24 points, four assists and two 3-points) did outside damage and played poorly Paul Pierce (six-of-15 shooting)) and Ray Allen (three-of-13 shooting).
Already without starting point guard Jameer Nelson due to a shoulder injury, Magic was forced to play without his successor – Rafer Alston – in Game 3 after he was suspended for one match by the NBA for slapping House behind the head in the game. 2. Alston’s replacement, Anthony Johnson, started the evening and contributed 13 points by taking five of seven shots with 3-pointers. Tyronn Lue, who is second with Magic, made both shots and scored five points off the bench.
Games 4 and 5 will not be suitable for Magic. Glen ” Big Baby ” Davis drilled a jump shot that won the match at bell 4 in Game 4 to make the series 2-2 and then the Celtics came from behind 14 points in the fourth quarter of Game 5 to Win 92-88 in Boston.
The loss only hardened Magic’s determination. Howard, who only had 12 points from five of 10 shots in defeat in Game 5, created a little national controversy when he questioned the call of head coach Van Van Gundy, but the superstar center responded well in Game 6 to keep the Magic alive in the playoffs. Howard has 23 points and 22 rebounds – 10 of which appear in the offensive glass – and the Magic outperformed the Celtics 22-13 in the fourth quarter to win 83-75 in the gritty Game 6.
“You have a dominant player, let him be dominant,” Howard said after Orlando’s fourth quarter crisis in Game 5.
He was dominant in Game 6 while making nine of 16 shots and cutting in three assists and two shots being blocked.
“I think Dwight Howard is right,” Boston coach Doc Rivers joked after the performance shown by Howard 6-foot-10 in Game 6. “Geez. He is extraordinary. “
The Magic trailed after each of the first three quarters and found themselves down one by three minutes to play before they closed Game 6 at 11-2. Lewis (20 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Turkolgu (seven points and three assists) made a big shot down to ensure victory.
Rafer Alston (11 points and two 3-points) and substitute Mickael Pietrus (11 points and two 3-points) also made a major contribution to the winning Magic team despite firing only 36.6 percent from the floor and connecting only to six of 26 3-point shot.
That struggle will be lost by Game 7 when the Magic offense looks like a well oiled machine when dismantling Boston’s proven defense. Turkoglu, who averaged 16.3 points and 5.3 assists in one series match, carved out the Celtics with 25 points, 12 assists and four numbers 3 in Orlando’s unbeaten 101-82 victory in Game 7 in Boston.
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or supported by Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are entirely his own and do not reflect the views of Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.
FOX SPORTS FLORIDA MAGIC CLASSIC WIN SCHEDULE
Magic at Celtics (Game 2009 1)
Saturday, May 23 at 12 noon
Magic vs. Celtics (Game 3 2009)
Saturday, May 23 at 2:30 p.m.
Magic vs Celtics (2009 Game 6)
Saturday, May 23 at 5 pm
Magic at Celtics (2009 Game 7)
Sun, May 24 at 9:30 a.m.
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