Two to go: Boston Celtics @ Orlando Magic preview

Orlando Magic alternate logo, 2001–present

So, Miami trotted out their entire starting lineup and thought about grinding us into tiny unrecognisable bits. With that in mind, I’d say we didn’t do too badly. My confidence in JET is at an all-time low though, his shots look way off right now. Good thing the man’s still upbeat about the situation.

After dubbing Saturday’s visit to Orlando a must-win for the Celtics, Terry was asked why he’d put that sort of designation on a late-season battle against a non-playoff-bound team.

“Obviously, you see [the Magic] — I don’t want to give them any fuel but, they’re terrible,” said Terry. “So we must go in there and, with whoever we have, scrap for the win.” – C’s hoping JET soars in playoffs, ESPN Boston

Will the Magic be a walk in the park then? I’d be tempted to say yes, but let’s not count our damn eggs before they hatch.

Stat check: The Magic are pretty much waiting for the draft at this point. A 20-59 season and counting. 8 game losing streak, followed by a win. 5 game losing streak, then a win in OT over the Bucks. I say the next illogically logical sequence is a Magic loss. Don’t mind me clutching at straws here, read on.

Game time: April 14th 2013, 0900hrs AEST

Watch it on: NBA League Pass

Roster changes:

  1. Rajon Rondo (ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back) are out for the season.
  2. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will travel with the team, but will not be playing.
  3. Jeff Green is cleared to play, after a seemingly injured left arm in the Heat game after a dunk.
  4. Glen “Big Baby” Davis (foot) and Arron Afflalo (torn hamstring) are out for the season.
  5. Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington have been “shut down” for rest.
  6. Jameer Nelson is day-to-day with a foot injury.

Top enemy performers:

  1. Scoring: Tobias Harris (16.9)
  2. Rebounds: Nicola Vucevic (11.9)
  3. Assists: Jameer Nelson (7.4)

Keys to the game:

  1. Energy: Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is playing all his young fellows as a form of evaluation for the new season ahead. What does that mean? Young legs, and energy. What are the C’s on by the way, a back-to-back? Definitely a bad combination, when you couple travel fatigue into it. Be prepared to see Harkless, Vucevic and Harris run us into the ground if we let them go at it. Which brings us to the second point.
  2. Rebounds: Lose the rebounding battle, and we’re done. Orlando may not make all their shots, but give them a second and third attempt? I can think of no better way to keep the game close.
  3. Transition defense: Young teams like to run, usually because they have better energy, plus their half-court execution might not be up to scratch. Get cracking on offense before the other team has their defense set, and they’ll have a good shot at getting something, either layups or free throws. I’d like to see transition offense limited. Translated: get the hell back on D before they get an open layup.

This is a relatively meaningless game either way, I’d settle for zero injuries, evenly distributed minutes and a focus on not shooting 10,000,000 jumpers in 48 minutes. Mix it up, stop doing the same old drive-and-kick for an open shot; attempts have to be made near the rim, not fifteen to eighteen feet away every possession.

Go C’s and let’s grind something positive out tomorrow morning.

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