NBA Playoff Nightcap: May 25th Edition

Good morning, sunshines.  As you have probably already discovered, I don't really plan the content of these intros in advance, so you typically get some sort of mash-up of my random thoughts combined with whatever 80s pop culture reference happens to be swirling around in my brain at the time.  Then again, if you're reading this column you're probably either (a) related to me or (b) one of my 9 devoted fans (there have to be 9 ... right?).  So instead of coming up with something new, I'll mention the following:  I really need a haircut (dude just lay off, work has been REALLY busy) and the other day I spent about 15 minutes looking for an appropriate Mr. Belvedere YouTube clip to share with all of you (I got bored with it).  Those are two facts that prove the age old adage -- you get what you pay for. 

The game preview post is scheduled for 7AM (Arizona time) so you can look forward to that -- and no, I am not posting this at 4AM.  I am never up at 4AM.

Monday May 24th Playoff Results:

Orlando Magicians 96 Boston Celtics 92 (Recap)Hey someone informed Orlando that the Eastern Conference Finals started!  How about that.  With their season on the line, the Magicians jumped out to a 10 point second quarter lead and looked to at least have quite a bit more fight than they had Saturday night.  Boston rallied and carried a one point advantage into the fourth quarter, but a free throw barrage from Orlando had the Magic up 7 points with only 2:24 left to play.  Yet, the Celts rallied again behind 5 late points from Paul Pierce and a very contested three pointer from Ray Allen to help push the game into overtime.  In the overtime period, it took until the 2:42 mark for the first basket and fortunately for the basketball lives of Orlando fans, it occurred in the form of a banked three point attempt from point guard Jameer Nelson.  Suddenly feeling a heat wave coming on, Nelson drilled a three on the next possession to give the Magic a late 6 point lead.  Not to be outdone, Allen stroked a couple more threes down the stretch to keep Boston tight, but a combination of horrific offensive execution and an inability to stop Dwight Howard proved to be the undoing for the Celtics as the Magic grabbed their first game in the series.  For those of you who watched the game (or saw the highlights), the complete lack of urgency shown on the final Boston possession -- where they trailed by 4 with 9 seconds left -- was almost laughable as their lone attempt at the basket was a desperation three by Big Baby Davis.  Zoinks. 

 

Following a 7 point, 7 rebound performance in Game 3, Dwight Howard answered the bell in a very Amar'e-like fashion by going for 32 points and 16 rebounds and basically single-handedly taking on the entire Boston front-line throughout the evening.  Orlando was also aided by 23 from Nelson, who hit two of his three triples in the overtime period.  Rashard Lewis still wasn't all that great, but he was above his previously putrid Game 1-3 versions (13 points, 2/3 from three).  One of the bigger story lines for Orlando was the way Stan Van Gundy sat the cold as ice Vince Carter (1/9 from the field) in favor of J.J. Redick for periods down the stretch.  Probably worth noting that Redick had the highest +/- rating for either team, with a +14.  Boston got 32 and 11 from Paul Pierce, along with 22 from Ray Allen and 14/12 from Kevin Garnett

This series now shifts back to Orlando for Game 5 and you've got to think the pressure shifts with it.  Everyone talks about how the Magic have to win 4 straight to win the series -- well that isn't the case anymore, they just have to win 3 ... and 2 of them are at home.  Could get interesting.

 

Conference Finals Series Standings:

(1) Lakers v. (3) Suns: 2-1 Lakers

(2) Magic v. (4) Celtics: 3-1 Celtics

Tuesday May 25th Playoff Game:

Game 4:  Lakers @ Suns: Alright Suns, you guys already ensured that the Lakers wouldn't be sweeping their way into the Finals. Next step: tying up the series.  Everyone is going to need to bring their A game.  Fun side note (depending on who you are): if the Suns win either tonight or Game 5 (aka forcing a Game 6), I will be skipping a wedding in Sedona (that I committed to months ago) to attend the game.  Am I awful or committed? Discuss.  It's not like I'm in the wedding.

90's NBA Flavor -Harold "Baby Jordan" Miner - you've just got to love that.  Especially in nearly 10 minute form.

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