There are losses, and then there are games where it doesn’t feel like a loss. It feels like someone promised you a steak dinner after a hards day work, and then you come home and see a Swanson in the microwave with your name on it. The Magic, who have always been good at this, teased the fans into thinking that they would take care of business on their homecourt and would end this series in Boston on Tuesday. Not the case. Now the Celtics have regained control of home court advantage, and the Magic will have to look into their bag of tricks (see what I did there?) to see if they can pull off a road win.
J.J. Redick was ice cold. Courtney Lee couldn’t find his shot until late in the 4th. Rafer played a miserable game. And Hedo Turkoglu. Well, Hedo was typical Hedo. Hedo is the type of player that is good for network broadcasts. He is the guy who hit a few big 4th quarter shots, that even I admitedly went six to midnight for. But for the die hard fan, you know exactly what Hedo is going to give you. You could argue he is even more inconsistent then oft injured, 20 points tonight and 6 the next Mickael Pietrus. You see, Hedo doesn’t just drop his scoring average down. He tends to forget how to play the game of basketball completely, especially the concept of team basketball. Bad passes, blown defensive assignments, and drop back 3pt attempts were all Hedo was about tonight. It’s fun to see him bank one with 2 seconds left in a close game during the regular season, but the gamble isn’t worth the heartbreak in the playoffs.
Why the Magic did not go to the 2nd best player on this team is beyond me. Rashard Lewis was brought to this team and paid the money he is being paid for a reason. To be the meatballs to our spaghetti, Dwight Howard. Rashard was 8-14 from the field, and 2-5 from 3pt land. Hedo on the other hand was 4-14 from the field, and 1-4 from 3pt land. Does that not tell you how blatantly obvious it is that Hedo should not be taking the last shot? Or why did the ball not go to Dwight down low? He has proven he could hit FT’s under pressure in situations like this. Heck, maybe Big Baby fouls him, and that last shot never even happens.
Which brings me to that last shot. The shot that will cause me to curse this game if the Magic end up losing the series. SVG said that is how he drew it up, but I can’t help but wonder why? Big Baby had come down and hit a jumper the posession before that, and has proven time and time again he can hit the jumper when he is left wide open. With Rashard length, he could have not even allowed the ball to go to Davis, or atleast altered the shot rather then leaving him wide open. Or let Pierce go one on one with Pietrus, and funnel him into Dwight. I’d take a contested Dwight shot over leaving a guy that went 9-14 on the night wide open anyday of the week, and twice on Sunday.
The Magic now head into Boston to get the series back in their favor. I wonder if it is time for J.J. to sit back down and let Courtney Lee start again. Lee was key to the Magic’s success against the 76ers with his early offense and defensive hustle. When J.J. starts off cold, chances are he will continue to be cold throughout the game. It’s not impossible for the Magic to take the lead in this series again. I still predict them to win it in 6. However, going to bed after writing this, I have to wonder if the Magic will ever take the intensity they play with when being underdogs, or missing a key player, and bring it in a game where they are at full strength. This playing down to the opponents level has got to stop, or it will cost them a chance at going to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 95-96.