Blood into Stone

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Ever heard that old expression, “you can’t get blood from a stone?”  Well, the Boston Celtics are kind of doing the inverse.  Or maybe, like some kind of basketball basilisk, they are preempting the adage and turning flesh into stone.  Either way, they have got the Orlando Magic pretty much figured out.  Cover the three point shooters.  Let Howard do whatever.  That should be enough to win, and the past two games, it has been.  Barely.

Anyone who watches basketball, watches Sportscenter, or just lives in the Orlando area knows that the Magic live and die with the three point shot.  The Celtics have stayed at home effectively on three point shooters, and it’s given them the ability to squeak out two wins for a commanding lead in the series.  Last night, Matt Barnes (bad back), Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, and Rashard Lewis hit only one three pointer each.  The Celtics effectively stifled the Magic’s go to weapons.  Rashard Lewis has been especially horrendous the past two games.  He has scored a total of 11 points.

But there are caveats to this strategy.  Dwight Howard did go for 30 very efficient points, making nine of 13 shots and 12 of 17 free throws.  What’s worse, by the time the fourth quarter rolled around, both Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins had fouled out.  Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace got close to fouling out too.  I’m not sure the Celtics want to go four deep into their bench in crunch time.  Consider also that the Celtics have won both games, despite executing their strategy almost perfectly, by only a combined six points.  There was also the highly questionable shooting foul given to Pierce beyond the three point line in game one (fouled long before he picked up the ball to shoot), and the atrocious blocking foul-called charge given to Big Baby Glen Davis last night in the fourth quarter against J.J. Reddick (my new favorite white baller).  Factor those in, and the games are even tighter.

Despite the potential pitfalls of their strategy, the Celtics have indeed found the best way to defeat the Orlando Magic.  By staying home on the deep shot, the Celtics have taken away Orlando’s security blanket.  They have taken away their momentum builder.  They have turned fluid play makers into stone statues.  And you can’t get blood, or scoring, or defensive hustle from a stone.

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8 Responses to “Blood into Stone”

  1. High Above Courtside Says:

    Kind of sounds like the Magic are losing the games as opposed to the Celts winning them.

    How about gthe fact that Howard should have been tossed from the game for his flagrant 2 foul on Pierce in the second quarter? It however was not called as such. He was tossed from a game against Philly in the playoffs last year for the same thing.

    Orlando took 10 more foul shots than the Celts–so I don’t think they got robbed too bad.

    • pmadavi Says:

      I actually don’t think that was a flagrant two at all. Howard seemed to be going for the ball, and Pierce jumped backwards a little and to his right. It caused Howard to slam him on the head instead of the arms. There’s video of it out there, and you can see Howard’s eyes never leave the ball.

      And Orlando took 10 more shots because it’s Boston’s game plan to foul down low and make him shoot FT. I’m sure there were bad calls that benefited Orlando. But those two, in particular, stuck out for me.

      1. The refs NEVER give that FG attempt to players. There was definitely no intention on Pierce’s part to shoot, until after the contact was made. It’s been pretty established that refs call the non-shooting foul in those cases. It’s a mystery to me why they chose to count it as an attempt in that instance.

      2. That was the second time (first time was against Jameer Nelson) last night Big Baby “got position” after a player had already left his feet, put up a shot, and was on his way down. I’ve always thought that was a blocking foul. At the very least, it’s a no-call.

  2. High Above Courtside Says:

    Flagants are a matter of opinion. Earlier Howard had wiped out Rondo on a drive to the basket, but somebody else (Nelson?) got called for the foul

    As far as #1, Pierce got the same call in game 1. Bron got several in the Cleveland series. If the Orlando players had a little more basketball IQ they might get some call as well. How come Reddick didn’t call a time out?

    #2, Well I had serious heart burn about several of the offensive fouls flops in game 1, it averages out.”

    “Our shot selection was terrible and we didn’t play smart enough.” Stan VG at last night post game press conference.

  3. jpalumbo Says:

    I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with eking out wins on the road in the conference finals. I don’t think any team can be expected to dominate games 1 and 2 on the road no matter how well they execute a game plan. I’m interested in how the Magic adjust. I liked Mark Jackson’s idea to get more movement and pick and roll situations. A few times they wound up with Rondo bodying Howard in a help situation on a pick and roll dive to the rim. If they can get those types of matchups, particularly when 6′ 7″ Davis is the prime defender recovering to Dwight, those are nothing but And 1 situations.

  4. pmadavi Says:

    Boston fans. What’s worse than you guys? Mecha-Hitler maybe. I never said there was anything wrong with it.

    I just tell it how it is. In the streets.

  5. High Above Courtside Says:

    Here is Boston’s WEEI’s view (and mine as well) on Howards foul. Which is a little differnt that PM’s take:

    “But Howard would have absolutely been kicked out of a regular-season game for that shot on Pierce. And the replay showed that he clearly wasn’t making a play for the ball. Cheap shot, and this isn’t exactly breaking new ground with Howard. The NBA could take a look at this, I guess, to me it was a pretty clear intent to injure a player. Nothing will come of it, almost impossible to prove Howard’s motive. But give the Celtics credit for staying in character when the easy route would have been retaliation. And as we know that’s almost always what leads to elbows and fights and suspensions.”

    Thanks to Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com

    • pmadavi Says:

      We gonna post the video. Check out his eyes. Doesn’t seem like he’s looking to smash his head. The follow through makes it an F1.

      • High Above Courtside Says:

        Looks to me like his arm drives Pierce down to the floor. He keeps it going down long after the ball was put out of play.

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