From Orlando

Just got home from the Celtics/Magic game at the Amway Center and although a loss is never easy to take, it’s much easier followed by 14 consecutive wins.

A quick analysis…

The Good

After the game started with the Magic running up the deficit to 13-0, I thought I was going to have a knot in my stomach the entire game being heckled by people that think Christmas Day games are worth more than they are. The Celtics fired back on their own 13-0 run. Nice to see the adjustment made so quickly. Provided for a much more entertaining game.

Was Kevin Garnett as amazing on TV as he was in person? He is something else this year. Being able to see a healthy, accurate Kevin Garnett in person was worth the price (even though the tickets were a Christmas gift).

I know the excuses are plentiful (however invalid they may seem), but keeping it close without some important parts is always good to see. The key that unlocks Pandora’s easy basket box was missing as well as another big, important body and a veteran guard who I think will be essential to the success of the bench. Davis is consistent like never before and this team just needs to keep doing everything they did before today’s game: scrap out wins until they get healthy. I think that’s pretty obvious, but the shooting today was atrocious. Watching Paul put the team on his back early on was also fun to watch. There was a sign in the crowd that said, “We came all the way from Kansas to watch #34.” The guy is already a legend, and so is this team.

The containment and dismantling of Dwight Howard. I saw an article on NESN about the key to winning being “stop Dwight Howard”. I laughed after reading that because if that’s your only idea to stopping the Magic, you probably won’t last long. The man is a very unique physical specimen and not stopping him isn’t your fault especially when you’re Glen Davis. However, they did just that. The shooting on both sides was bad, but when you limit Dwight Howard to 6 points when he averages 22 per game? We should find some silver lining in that.

P.S. Stan Van Gundy leads all NBA coaches and Dwight Howard leads the league in technical fouls. It makes their early frustration with a shaky 18-12 start even more obvious and yes, there’s a little schadenfreude in that.

The Bad

Back to the shooting being atrocious. Where was Nate Robinson tonight? I saw him warming up and then he disappeared. 13 percent is absolutely inexcusable. I was waiting for Wafer to come in. Had he made even two of those shots he chucked up, we would have been in it till the last second.

This is the Shaq I expected, unfortunately. I couldn’t tell what the issue was only that Dwight Howard was on the floor every possession that Shaq got close. I hope he performs like this very rarely. He cannot show up when Rondo’s on the floor, but he needs to be the presence the team needs when called upon. Fouling out in 12 minutes? Wow.

Another thing that I hope is put to a halt following today is the 4th quarter cough up. I thought we were done with this? I thought this whole lead by 10 lose by 6 thing was left in The Finals? Apparently not today, but I’m sure Doc has plenty to go over after what was a not so impressive performance.

NBA officials. Enough said. Phantom calls and technicals given out like gifts under the tree tonight. The best call was Dwight getting called for taking longer than 10 seconds at the line. I think that was the only one that actually happened.

The Bottom line(s)

Would you rather lose on Christmas or in June? I think the answer is simple. I hope you all had a great Christmas as I had a fantastic time at the game. I only get to see the boys when they come to town or I make the trip up north. Today was not the big game for us as it was for a Magic team that just underwent plastic surgery. Also, a Magic fan took the time to tap me on the shoulder and say, “You’re a good fan.” Well, that’s because I have a great team. Merry Christmas! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Hunter Thomas
As a lifetime New England sports fan, Hunter was determined in October of 2005 to finally start using that passion and determination to create the site now known as Celtics 24/7. Formerly known as Celtics Pride, Celtics 24/7 has become one of the most well-respected and followed Celtics websites. Our motto “For Fans, By Fans” rings entirely true as we’ve built and grown a community of passionate and enthusiastic Celtics fans. It all starts with you–the fans, and I appreciate every single person who supports us on our journey to the top.
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