Ramble On Sports

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Archive for May, 2010

Lakers set stage for dream NBA Finals matchup

Posted by Bill Koch on May 30, 2010

Kobe Bryant

Anybody who actually thought the Lakers wouldn’t close out the Suns on Saturday night hasn’t been paying attention.

Los Angeles sent Phoenix limping into the desert for the offseason courtesy of a 111-103 win that closed out the Western Conference finals and set up the grudge match between the Boston Celtics and the Lakers in The Finals for the 12th time. Kobe Bryant took over down the stretch and finished with 37 points, sinking contested jump shots like they were layups and putting the boots to Steve Nash and Co. almost all by himself. This is what Kobe wanted when he conducted his own covert PR campaign to shove Shaq out of town, and now he’s trying to win back-to-back championships as the clear alpha dog for the first time in his career.

The Lakers managed to break through on the road for the first time in the series, closing out their 4-2 win by beating the Suns at their own game – offensive dominance. Los Angeles seemed almost disinterested in Games 3 and 4 while losing in Phoenix, but don’t underestimate the effect that Boston finishing off Orlando the previous night to punch its own ticket to The Finals had on the Lakers’ effort. The Celtics are the team that Los Angeles wanted all along, even if the Lakers knew that they could beat the Magic like they did last season and outsmart the clueless Cleveland Cavaliers.

That stubborn streak sets Kobe apart from so many of his peers, for better or for worse. He’s an assassin. People who are wired like Kobe want to beat everyone at everything. He looks at the Celtics and he sees a team that denied him the chance to be in position for a second three-peat going into the 2010 NBA Finals, something done only by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the salary cap era. Kobe has heard the Jordan comparisons since he came into the league in the late 1990s, and he wants to continue to stamp his own legacy as one of the NBA’s all-time greats. Paul Pierce and his aging crew stand in the way, staring their own places in history. This series has all the makings of a classic, and we can’t wait until Thursday’s Game 1 to see the renewal of one of the greatest rivalries in sports.

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Five thoughts from Game 6 of Celtics-Magic

Posted by Bill Koch on May 29, 2010

Paul Pierce

Say it with me, Celtics fans:

BEAT L.A.!!!!!!!!

BEAT L.A.!!!!!!!!

BEAT L.A.!!!!!!!!

Don’t worry about the Phoenix Suns getting in the way of the dream matchup like the Houston Rockets did in 1986. David Stern is in charge of the NBA, and he’ll make sure that the league’s television partners get a rematch of the 2008 Finals that will have basketball fans buzzing from coast-to-coast. Kobe Bryant and his fellow adulterers just have to punch their collective ticket after Boston took out Orlando, 96-84, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night.

The Lakers will be waiting to host Boston sometime late next week when The Finals begin. Mark that down and take it to the bank. There’s no way that Los Angeles will miss its chance to atone for the 4-2 loss that it suffered while the Celtics earned the right to hang Banner 17. There was the little matter of dispatching the Magic that had to come first, and Boston did it with ease at The Fake Garden. Let’s check out our final five thoughts before we officially shift into championship mode.

— We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again – Paul Pierce is still an absolute killer. The Truth struck for game highs in points (31) and rebounds (13) in 45 brilliant minutes that continued to cement his legacy as one of the greatest Celtics of them all. Another ring is almost mandatory considering the winning done by legends like Russell, Bird, Cousy, Heinsohn and Havlicek, but Pierce is even more firmly planted in that conversation after Friday night. His remarkable offensive efficiency also has to be taken into account. Pierce took just 15 shots while rolling to his total, a lesson for ball hogs – ahem, volume shooters – who think they can win anything playing that way. Let’s hope The Captain has enough left in the tank to battle Kobe one more time.

— Pierce wasn’t the only player in the series to add to his legend – Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis did as well, but not quite for the same reasons. Both Orlando forwards were disappointing dogs throughout the Magic’s elimination and things didn’t change on Friday, as Carter (17 points on 6-for-15 shooting) and Lewis (seven points in 41 minutes on 3-for-11 shooting) both came up small when their team needed them most. This isn’t a surprise, but it’s still disgraceful. These two players don’t deserve the chance at playing for a championship, never mind actually winning one.

— Boston’s guards finally found a way to contain Jameer Nelson. Rajon Rondo and Nate Robinson made Nelson wish he stayed with Mickey and Minnie instead of making the trip north, humbling the Philly native by forcing him to endure a team-worst minus-23 effort, a 5-for-14 night from the field that included just 1-for-5 from 3-point range and a game-high five turnovers. Rondo poured in 12 of his 14 points in an aggressive opening quarter that set the tone for the night and Robinson set a new playoff career high with 13 points off the bench.

— With Nelson limited, Orlando’s 3-point shooting went south. The Magic were just 6-for-22 from beyond the arc, reverting to their form through the first three games when they went 20-for-70 and lost three straight. Boston’s defense held Orlando to a pair of 19-point quarters on Friday, including the opening 12 minutes where the Celtics built a 30-19 lead. The Magic never recovered.

— Ron Jeremy – sorry, Stan Van Gundy – needs to explain his rotation in Game 6. Five minutes for Brandon Bass after the difference he made during victories in the previous two games? Ten minutes for Marcin Gortat, a $50-million player, while Boston was building a 45-35 advantage on the boards? Twelve minutes for Mickael Pietrus while Pierce was lighting up Carter and Matt Barnes? Ridiculous. It all helps explain why Stan and his brother, Jeff, will be able to share a courtside seat while watching Boston play in The Finals for the 21st time.

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Is anyone else freaking out about the Celtics?

Posted by bdowd625 on May 28, 2010

I’m nervous and I know I probably shouldn’t be. But if the Boston Celtics can’t find a way to pull out a win at home in Game 6 against the Orlando Magic tonight, this series is over. How did that even become possible? Just five days ago, the C’s were booking their flight to LAX for a meeting with the Hollywood Lakers. Now they’re trying to reattach Big Baby’s head and find healthy bodies to sit next to resident Ginger Kid Brian Scalabrine on the bench. And I’m supposed to feel good about this whole thing?

It’s those damn Bruins. They had to go and ruin it for everyone with that choke job against the Philadelphia Flyers. I will never feel safe with a 3-0 series lead again. Ever. In any sport. Thanks, guys. It’s time for me to go talk it out with my therapist.

Now please vote on today’s poll question so I can see if everyone else is as insecure as I am right now.

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Five thoughts from Game 5 of Celtics-Magic

Posted by Bill Koch on May 26, 2010

JJ Redick

Panic can’t be creeping in yet if you’re a Boston Celtics fan, and optimism can’t be creeping in yet if you’re an Orlando Magic fan. What happened Wednesday night was supposed to happen – Orlando won at home, just like it did throughout most of the regular season when it lost just seven games at Amway Arena. The Magic’s 113-92 victory simply gave the Celtics a chance to seal their second trip to The Finals in three years in front of their home fans on Friday night at The Fake Garden. Boston still holds a 3-2 advantage in the Eastern Conference finals, and Causeway Street will be rocking in a little less than 48 hours. Let’s take a look at how Orlando has simply prolonged its execution in our five thoughts from Wednesday night.

— Someone must have convinced J.J. Redick that he’s back banging Cameron Crazies at Duke. The most hated Blue Devils’ player since Dream Team mascot Christian Laettner played his second consecutive strong game against Boston, scoring 14 points in 21 minutes and finishing plus-14 off the bench. Vince Carter (eight points, 3-for-10 from the field) was free to hide in the shadows for another night. Redick’s 3-pointer with 6:12 left in the second quarter gave Orlando a 47-35 advantage, its largest lead of the series to that point, and capped the Magic’s 8-for-12 start from long range.

— Rajon Rondo looks hurt, and we say that even knowing that he led Boston’s starters with 19 points on Wednesday night. He struggled in Game 4, finishing with just nine points and eight assists while being abused in pick-and-roll sets by Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson, and didn’t seem like himself on Wednesday either. Rondo complained of back pain and muscle spasms after Boston’s overtime loss on Monday and started bending over and touching his toes just 3:57 into Game 5 during his first trip to the free throw line. That’s a bad sign if you’re a Celtics fan, because Rondo has clearly been Boston’s catalyst during this postseason. Anything less than Rondo at 100 percent won’t get it done for the Celtics.

— Kendrick Perkins needs to finally learn to STFU. He’s not some ignorant rookie anymore, and NBA referees are wise to his act after six full seasons in the league. Perkins’ 15 technical fouls tied for the league lead this season and he was at it again on Wednesday when he was ejected with 36.1 seconds left in the first half for arguing a cheap foul against Dwight Howard in the low post. Perkins might have been right to protest, but Eddie F. Rush is about the last guy that you want to bitch to about anything. The Celtics can’t have their best post defender watching the game from the locker room with Howard on the floor and both Big Baby Davis and Rasheed Wallace in foul trouble. Perkins and the Celtics will be sweating out a ruling from the league office that could erase his mandatory one-game suspension for picking up his seventh technical of the postseason.

— Boston had better defend with some desperation on Friday, because its intensity at that end of the floor has all but disappeared since moving within one win of capturing the series. Orlando cracked the 30-point mark in the first quarter for the second straight game and has suddenly found its shooting touch from beyond the 3-point arc. The Magic were a dreadful 20-for-70 from long range through the first three games, all losses, but started Game 5 on a 9-for-15 roll in the first half that set the tone for the rest of the night. That trend can’t continue if the Celtics want to close things out in Game 6.

— Doc Rivers waved the white flag pretty early in Game 5, putting Marquise Daniels and Nate Robinson on the floor inside the final 1:20 of the third quarter with Boston facing a double-digit deficit. The pair of disappointing guards had combined for 14 DNP – Coach’s Decisions through Boston’s first 15 postseason games, hardly the sort of players who you would expect to give the Celtics a lift back into Wednesday night’s game. Rivers was finally making a smart decision and conserving minutes for Rondo and Tony Allen in anticipation of a slugfest on Friday.

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Sox sweep Rays! Wait, what?

Posted by bdowd625 on May 26, 2010

For the first time this year, New Englanders can finally admit that they cheer for the Boston Red Sox. The Sox dismantled the Tampa Bay Rays again on Wednesday night, sweeping the three-game series from the American League East leaders with an 11-3 victory at that half-assed stadium they call Tropicana Field. And what a perfect time for Boston to finally get its shit together with the Celtics dropping a major stinkbomb in Orlando tonight. (Seriously, was that not the most frustrating sporting event you’ve seen in a while or what?)

Back to the Sox. It was good to see them bitchslap that incessant spitter/Mongoloid Matt Garza all over the yard for once. Big Papi continued his resurgence with a clutch home run, and Adrian Beltre – who may or may not be back on the juice – crushed two round trippers, one of which he had to genuflect for just to get a bat on. 

John Lackey was by no means brilliant, but he put together a gutsy performance to keep his team in the game early on. I’m still waiting for him to pitch like the “ace” Theo Epstein thought he was bringing in this offseason. If I can’t have that, I’ll settle for some dirty cell phone pics of his wife.

Winning this series would have given the Sox a big morale boost, but sweeping the Rays actually puts Boston back in contention – for now anyway.  There’s still plenty of time left to really screw things up, though, so let’s not get too excited just yet.

P.S. – As I was writing this, Jacoby Ellsbury burned the roof of his mouth eating pizza and is out for the season. Pussy.

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Five thoughts from Game 4 of Celtics-Magic

Posted by Bill Koch on May 25, 2010

Let’s not put Mickey and Minnie on upset alert just yet.

The Orlando Magic managed to find a way to win Game 4 in the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics in overtime, 96-92. Big deal. Boston is still firmly in command in the best-of-7 series, 3-1, has already won twice on Orlando’s home floor and has a home game waiting should it drop Game 5 on Wednesday night.
With all that said, the Magic still have given us more basketball to watch. Perhaps we should be thankful for that. Let’s look at our five thoughts from a disappointing night at The Fake Garden.

— Dwight Howard was finally able to unleash his trademark athleticism. Howard terrorized Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Big Baby Davis and the rest of Boston’s front line for 32 points and 16 rebounds. It’s the first time in the series that the Celtics really looked like they didn’t have complete control of the paint, and that has a lot to do with our second thought.

— Jameer Nelson finally showed he has a pulse. Nelson was able to drive, draw and dish for 23 points and nine assists, and he hit back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the overtime that crippled Boston’s hopes of a sweep. Rajon Rondo was saddled with foul trouble and slumped to nine points and eight assists, allowing Nelson to take command of the game’s tempo.

— Rasheed Wallace only needed a couple of minutes to torpedo Boston’s momentum in the fourth quarter. Wallace was hit with a technical foul during one of his usual tirades, and that came on the heels of a J.J. Redick 3-pointer that erased a 68-67 Orlando deficit. Redick made the technical and Wallace followed with a moving screen and a bricked 3-pointer that helped the Magic steady themselves for the stretch run. Wallace finished with a pathetic four points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.

— Vince Carter is an absolute dog. Getting benched in favor of Redick in the fourth quarter should mark the final disgraceful chapter in Carter’s underwhelming postseason career. He finished 1-for-9 from the field, scored three points, grabbed two rebounds and turned the ball over three times in 31 minutes in a potential elimination game. He’s the same gutless worm who slogged his way through Toronto and New Jersey, a colossal waste of physical talent married with an undisciplined and soft mental approach.

— Why does Orlando deserve so much credit for playing hard and extending the series? Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson all sounded shocked that the Magic didn’t just pack it in like they did during their 94-71 humiliation in Game 3. That’s yet another indictment of the NBA and its players in general, where playing hard every night is considered a skill and not a given.

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Five thoughts from Game 3 of Celtics-Magic

Posted by Bill Koch on May 23, 2010

Orlando Magic

Really, Orlando? Really?

That’s it? That’s the best you’ve got?

That’s the best effort you can muster with your season on the line?

The Magic need to disappear to avoid any further embarrassment at the hands of the Boston Celtics, because the Eastern Conference finals turned into an absolute joke on Saturday night at The Fake Garden. Boston hammered Orlando, 94-71, in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. Bring on The Finals. Bring on the history. Bring on the Los Angeles Lakers after they close out their own glorified scrimmages with the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals. This is the series that everyone wants to see. Let’s go to our five points to see how Boston moved within one victory of its second Finals appearance in three years.

— Orlando’s disgraceful lack of effort could be summed up in one play during Saturday’s second quarter. Boston was already leading by 17 when Rajon Rondo dove for a loose ball in the frontcourt, beating Jason Williams’ weak lunge, and skinned the Magic point guard for a layup. Williams and his teammates were supposed to be the ones playing with desperation, but it was Rondo and the Celtics who were making the extra effort to put the series away.

— Speaking of Rondo, Boston continued its gigantic postseason edge in point guard play on Saturday. The Celtics posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 14-4 in the first half, much of that attributable to Rondo’s steady hand. The Magic were a dreadful 5-11 in the same category, a lack of both concentration and attention to detail that found them staring at a 17-point halftime deficit.

— Leave it to Stan Van Gundy to provide the night’s unintentional comedy. He crumpled into the fetal position on the Orlando bench after one of his own players, Matt Barnes, shoved Kevin Garnett into Van Gundy’s lap while committing a foul midway through the third quarter. Barnes can’t be blamed for taking out his frustrations on someone – he’s had his balls chopped off thanks to his starring role in VH1’s Basketball Wives – but Van Gundy showed very little toughness or mobility with Garnett coming his way. His effort to avoid Boston’s center was as weak as his team’s performance.

— Orlando is proving yet again that jump-shooting teams have no chance to win anything at any level of basketball. The Magic were a ridiculous 8-for-30 from 3-point range on Saturday night and were skunked in the paint, 28-8, in the decisive first half. Taking that many outside shots suggests that Orlando doesn’t have the grit or determination to stand up and face the Celtics man-to-man, and a 3-0 series deficit is the result.

— Is Doc Rivers serious? Paul Pierce, Rondo, Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins on the floor with a 30-point lead midway through the fourth quarter? A quick note, Doc – situations like these were created for a lineup of Shelden Williams, Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson and every other scrub you can find on your bench. You wouldn’t look like such a genius if Pierce had turned an ankle with the Celtics protecting an 85-53 lead.

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Five thoughts from Game 2 of Celtics-Magic

Posted by Bill Koch on May 19, 2010

The Big Three

Settle in and take note of what’s going on between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns, Celtics fans. Boston’s Eastern Conference Finals series with the Orlando Magic is just about over.

The Celtics come home to The Fake Garden with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 affair after their 95-92 win in Game 2 on Tuesday night, and this Boston team isn’t like the Bruins – they’re not chokers. This group of veterans has its eyes set on Banner 18, its second title in three years, and potentially a renewal of the league’s greatest rivalry. Here are our five points to explain just how we got here.

— Looks like someone reminded Paul Pierce that Mickael Pietrus played him off the floor during last year’s series between Boston and Orlando. Pierce continued his resurgence with 28 points, 22 coming in a first-half display that featured The Truth at his very best on the offensive end. Pietrus continued to be a nonfactor with five points in 16 minutes. The Magic need more out of their athletic swingman to at least knock Pierce out of his rhythm.

— There was no chance that Rajon Rondo would have a second straight poor game on Tuesday. His ice-cold jump shot after a Kevin Garnett offensive rebound with 1:33 to play helped Boston finish this one out down the stretch and Rondo closed with 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting. That’s in another area code compared to his eight-point showing in Game 1, and it’s the type of performance we’ve come to expect during this postseason from Rondo as he continues to fight his way into the top tier of NBA point guards.

— J.J. Redick seriously got into Duke University? It certainly wasn’t on the strength of his basketball IQ, because he made two plays in the final 10 seconds that would have shamed Lamar Odom and his fictitious GED. Redick forgot that timeouts in the NBA automatically advance the ball to halfcourt, wasting precious seconds before stopping the clock with 3.5 to go and his team trailing by three. He was at it again on the inbounds pass, throwing the ball to Jameer Nelson 55 feet from the basket and leaving Orlando with an off-balance, contested, 35-foot heave to tie the game. Nice job, J.J. Odom was even dumb enough to pick the ugly Kardashian sister, and he’s still laughing at you right now.

— The Amway Arena crew needs to get its act together for next season. You can’t have Vince Carter on your team and force the players to get after it on a slippery floor. Carter could get hurt getting out of bed in the morning – he doesn’t need to be slipping on condensation or excess water and jamming his thumb or spraining his wrist or whatever he did that knocked him out of the game in the third quarter. That’s just the excuse a gutless worm like Carter needs to blow a pair of free throws in a three-point game with 30.6 seconds left.

— Loving this series and the bad blood that seems to be building between the two teams. We can’t wait for Game 3 on…Saturday. That’s the NBA, folks. It’s fantastic – for the television networks. The venom that Dwight Howard generated when he hacked Pierce going to the rim in the second quarter will be all but forgotten by then. Let this serve as a reminder to all of you that David Stern and the powers that be don’t give a damn about you. Their bottom line is all they consider.

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Time to bring Hanley home to Boston

Posted by Bill Koch on May 18, 2010

Hanley Ramirez Marlins

Hanley Ramirez Seadogs

Here’s your chance, Theo Epstein. Here’s your chance to give your struggling Boston Red Sox a spark and to undo one of the moves made during your tenure that you thought was a mistake.

Hanley Ramirez put one foot out the door with the Florida Marlins thanks to his comments on Monday, a disgraceful ripping of both manager Fredi Gonzalez and his teammates after Ramirez refused to hustle after a ball that he kicked into the left-field corner. The Marlins’ front office can’t just sit back and do nothing here and they can’t fire Gonzalez to appease their star. Florida would be opening Pandora’s Box by doing anything but sending Ramirez and his 6-year, $72-million contract out of town.

For those in Pink Hat Nation who don’t remember, Ramirez was traded to Florida by the Red Sox as one of the centerpieces of a deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. Epstein was busy hiding in his gorilla suit at the time, and his subordinates, Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, pulled the trigger on a trade that ultimately handed the Red Sox the 2007 World Series through standout postseason performances by Beckett (4-0, 1.20 ERA) and Lowell (World Series MVP).

Epstein was against the deal. He’s said since then that he never would have made it if he hadn’t been on his hiatus from the general manager position. We at Ramble On hope that he was working the phones on Tuesday morning in an attempt to bring Ramirez back to Boston, because the opportunity is so glaringly obvious that it can’t possibly go unexplored.

Marco Scutaro (who made yet another error on Tuesday night that led to a pair of runs in the second inning for the New York Yankees) can’t stand in the way of one of baseball’s top five players coming to town. Scutaro is a placeholder for somebody else, similar to Edgar Renteria, Orlando Cabrera, Alex Gonzalez and Julio Lugo during their time in Boston. Ramirez is the No. 3 hitter that Red Sox desperately need and would provide some excitement to a team that is boring as sin and lifeless on the diamond. His average annual value breaks the bank in Florida and serves as chump change for a big market like Boston.

Two main questions seem to exist that would stop a bid for Ramirez – his attitude and how much he’ll cost in prospects. The first one is easy to answer – This Manager will make it all better. This Manager has played in the big leagues. This Manager’s Father played in the big leagues. This Manager is allegedly a cross between Gandhi and Nelson Mandela when it comes to making peace in the clubhouse and soothing bruised egos. He should be the perfect cure to Ramirez’s apparent bad attitude.

The second question can be approached like this – who is untouchable in the Red Sox minor league system? The answer should be nobody. Ryan Westmoreland, Michael Bowden, Lars Anderson, Jed Lowrie and Craig Hansen have all earned that label before from Boston’s front office when their respective names came up in deals. How has that turned out? Exactly. Prospects are called prospects for a reason. They’re not a sure thing. Ramirez is already the finished product, and he seems to need a fresh start. He needs a chance – just like Epstein. Let’s hope they take this one together.

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Five thoughts from Game 1 of Celtics-Magic

Posted by Bill Koch on May 17, 2010

Ray Allen

Close your eyes for a second and you might think it’s 1987 all over again after watching this particular group of Boston Celtics. They’re old. They’re hobbling. They’re not the favorites to win the NBA title.

They also clearly don’t give a damn what the rest of the basketball world thinks, and this stubborn group of veterans is three wins away from a second trip to the NBA Finals in three years after a 92-88 win over Orlando on Sunday. The Celtics stole Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals by pulling ahead early and hanging on late, something that they couldn’t do in the opener of their previous serious with fraudulent Cleveland.

No, I’m not going to start bashing the Cavaliers – we’ve done enough of that already here at Ramble On. I’m going to turn the page to our five points.

— Ray Allen looks like a guy who’s playing for a new contract. Sugar Ray continued his dip in the Fountain of Youth on Sunday by pouring in a game-high 25 points and is bettering his regular season averages in points per game (18.0 to 16.3), 3-point field goal percentage (42.3 to 36.3) and minutes per game (37.3 to 35.2). Allen was a team-best plus-11 during his 40 minutes on the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 at the foul line, including a pair of foul shots in the dying second that clinched the win. Jump on his back, fellas.

— Dwight Howard looked more like Underdog than Superman on Sunday, and we don’t quite understand why anyone is all that surprised. Kendrick Perkins, Big Baby Davis and the rest of the Boston front line shackled Jermaine O’Neal and made Shaquille O’Neal look like he was ready for home hospice care during the Celtics’ first two series of this postseason. Now they get to play Howard, a guy with no jump shot and a complete lack of a go-to move in the low post. He struggles when defenses are physical with him and when his transition opportunities are limited. Last we checked those are the two main areas of emphasis for playoff defenses. Orlando has no chance if Boston keeps making Howard look like Clark Kent.

— Marcin Gortat needs to play more in this series than the 14 minutes he logged on Sunday. He killed the Celtics in the post during last year’s Orlando victory over Boston, helping the Magic reach The Finals and earning himself a fat new contract in the process. There will be plenty of questions about why Gortat spent so much time on the bench despite shooting 3-for-3 and grabbing five rebounds in limited action. Cleveland never figured out that playing J.J. Hickson and Anderson Vaginajao together, two young, athletic forwards, would disturb Perkins and Kevin Garnett. Let’s see if the Magic realize this before it’s too late.

— This game is even more of a steal when you consider that Rajon Rondo looked mortal. He has just four rebounds and eight assists in 46 minutes and the Celtics still managed to win. Would Boston have won a single game against Miami or Cleveland if Rondo had been so ineffective? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

Stan Van Gundy looks like Ron Jeremy. Yes, it’s obvious, and yes, everyone has made this point before, but it’s pure comedy gold. We just had to get it out of the way early so that we can try to focus on basketball for the rest of the series.

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