#4 Boston Celtics
#2 Orlando Magic
Boston Leads Series 3-1
Could the noose be getting a little tighter on the necks of Boston Celtics fans after failing to close out the Orlando Magic in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals? The C’s still have to feel good, but they know that they are going into a hostile territory tonight against the Magic at Amway Arena, as Orlando looks to claw its way back into this series.
F Paul Pierce was at his best on Monday night in Beantown. He shot 11/25 from the field and scored 32 points to go with 11 rebounds. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t do it all. F Kevin Garnett did chip in his best game of the series with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while G Ray Allen added 22 points. The bench for Boston, which had been fantastic earlier in this series, only scored a total of 12 points and shot just 6/15 from the floor. C Kendrick Perkins was also completely missing in action, as he scored just three points. It was the first time in the Eastern Conference Finals that the Celtics allowed the Magic to shoot better than 42 percent from the floor.
It may be a case of “too little, too late” for Orlando, but HC Stan Van Gundy and his crew know that the only way that they are going to get back into this series is by winning one game at a time. C Dwight Howard played like a renewed superstar in Game 4, as he overcame a miserable 6/14 shooting day from the foul line by going 13/19 from the floor and scoring 32 points to go with 16 rebounds. G Jameer Nelson, who is quickly becoming the emotional leader of this team, scored 23 and followed through on his guarantee that the Magic wouldn’t be swept. G Vince Carter only shot 1/9 from the field, while F Rashard Lewis went 4/10. At least Lewis scored 13 points, which is just two shy of what he had for the rest of the series combined. However, it is still nowhere near what Orlando needs him to produce offensively to become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit to advance.
The C’s had every chance in the world to close this series out at the Garden on Monday, and they’re going to come into Amway hoping to do nothing but to fly home for a few extra days of rest. We consider this game to be a total tossup. Orlando may come away with the home victory, but it seems a lot more probable that the Celtics win outright than the Magic win by at least five.
Selection: Boston Celtics +4 at Diamond Sportsbook
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