Blog Entry

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

Posted on: January 17, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 12:01 am
Celtics' Big 3 take over down the stretch, as the Celtics regain the upper hand. Question is, is there a respect gap between Boston and Orlando?
Posted by Matt Moore

Welcome back, Kevin Garnett. And welcome back, playoff atmosphere, TD Northbank Garden. And welcome back, Celtics closing out big games. After the Celtcs blew a sizeable lead on Christmas to the Magic, they turned the tables on Orlando Monday night, with Kevin Garnett at the center of it all. Garnett snatched a huge steal to seize the game, throwing the outlet to Ray Allen who managed to run off several seconds before being fouled with the C's up 3. Celtics defeat Magic, 109-106 .

But Garnett's play was so much more than that in his return. And it was more than the 19 points and 8 rebounds he put in on the stat sheet. The defensive energy picked up as Garnett started barking orders, and the Big 3 looked very much like the components who ripped through the Eastern Conference last year with Rondo also doing his part. But it was the Big 3 who sealed this. Pierce with a combination of his patented pump-fake to draw the foul and his patented corner jumper set the Celtics up for their three-point advantage, but it was Ray Allen constantly nailing tough jumpers off multiple screens which allowed the Celtics to match Orlando three-for-three. Then Garnett with the steal, and that's your game. 

So the question you're left with, after all the history between these two teams, and with the season series knotted at 1-1 is this: Does Boston respect Orlando? And the feeling you get is no. Not at all. Not even now. 

Kevin Garnett was his usual bullying, screaming, spitting self, and at one point he and Dwight Howard had a staredown of sorts which epitomized the two players. Garnett mouthing and snapping like a guard dog, staring down Howard. Howard laughing and confused at what Garnett was doing. In the end, Howard walked away, which you'd criticize him for, if it weren't for his technical foul situation and the need for him to stay in the game. But it was very much a study in contrast of personality, if not character. Garnett not only refuses to back down to anyone, but constantly chests into everyone. He'll start a confrontation with anyone (the question of him ending said conflicts is another, more complicated issue that involves a lot of "hands up, walk away" behavior).  Howard on the other hand, is smiling, pleasant, still the laughing man-child, even as his status as a franchise leader requires more out of him. And perhaps for that, along with the equally complicated issue of how the officials treat both teams, Boston continues to appear to take Orlando as a second-rate squad.

For all the success, Orlando's had, Boston holds this attitude still. After the Magic were eliminated from the Finals in 2009, Paul Pierce referred to the Magic as "poodles." This after Orlando had eliminated the Celtics in seven games without the services of Kevin Garnett, which allowed both the teams and the fans to dismiss the win entirely. This despite the Magic also having considerable regular season success against the Celtics as well, and eliminating the Celtics on their home floor in a Game 7. But the fact they needed seven games spoke loudly to many. That attitude was furthered when Boston easily dispatched Orlando in the 2010 playoffs. So the two have quite a bit of history, even with all the changes to both teams, and yet there is still an attitude gap with Boston. 

But that could be more about the Celtics in general than the Magic specifically. There's a begrudging respect for the Lakers after being defeated by them last spring. But the Celtics rely on their brash, overtly physical, cocky attitude to take over games mentally. To surrender that attitude with any measure of respect would decrease their edge. 

So what will it take for Orlando to win Boston's respect? No amount of regular season wins, or close losses, will do it. They have to topple them in the playoffs, with the Celtics at full-strength. And with Kendrick Perkins close to returning, Delonte West back soon after that, and the C's still capable of that extra gear that blasted them through the entire East last year, it's hard to see Orlando hitting that gear. Respect has to be earned, and the Magic need so much to go right in order for them to do just that. 

Some final game notes: 
  • Bizarre game for Jason Richardson. Started off terribly, forcing shots and looking lost in his role. Then he started to step into shots in the second half, and looked on his way to a solid game. Then he was put on Ray Allen for a long stretch in the fourth instead of J.J. Redick (who may be the best Ray Allen defender in the league), and Allen just destroyed him. He had no idea how to handle him or the multitude of screens the Celtics routinely send Allen off.
  • That Allen wound up 8-11 shows you how good he is. J.J. Redick was right with him on every attempt when he was on the floor, but Allen adjusted, even hitting shots off the dribble.
  • Ryan Anderson was the story in the first half for the Magic, but the Celtics adjusted rapidly in the second half, allowing Davis to extend further than his usual range to guard him on the perimeter. Then, when Anderson attempted to dribble around Davis and his round mound, help was constantly there, either from the corner or the elbow. Just enough to take a not-great-dribbler off his dribble and end the possession. Great adjustment by Doc Rivers.
  • Shaquille O'Neal is getting so much credit from people for his play. And while the offensive work with Rondo is nice (who can't score with Rondo helping you?), O'Neal had as many turnovers as rebounds Monday night. Two.
  • Dwight Howard was great on offense (33 points) and did his work on the glass (13). But zero blocks for the reigning defensive player of the year and he was missed inside on several possessions. Howard seemed to A. want to avoid early fouls and B. want to extend too much to attack the Celtics at the point of paint penetration, instead of managing the rim defense.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:15 am

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

Mjolnir, few things wrong with your post...for one, the Celtics never said they don't respect the Magic. Two, KG is not a center. Finally, the reason they have both O'Neals has more to do with the fact Perk was going to be out for most of this season than it has to do with Dwight Howard. Oh yeah, I almost forgot.....NO WAY do the Magic beat the Celtics in a playoff series in 5 games. That is laughable.

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 4:51 pm

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

Rondo is a good player, but who wouldn't be with 4 Hall of Famers in the starting 5.  

It's clear you have no clue about the game of basketball. Rondo is  this close to being the best  1 guard in the league (right there with Chris Paul) . He is much better than jameer nelson. (and that is not a knock on Nelson , who is top 10)

Since: Jan 19, 2011
Posted on: January 19, 2011 1:59 pm

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

I love how everyone puts an asterisk next to the Magic eliminating the Celtics in 09. The Magic were also missing an All-Star throughout that entire postseason run, you know, Jameer Nelson. Rafer Alston was acquired mid-season and still managed to literally slap the Celtics around (Eddie House's headband is still spinning). Not to mention that makeshift Magic team DOMINATED the "best" team in the league in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Cavs had homecourt advantage as did the Celtics. The Magic get criticized for beating an injured and old team in the Celtics, but would have been more ridiculed if they lost to that injured and old team. The Celtics may say they don't respect the Magic, but explain why they have FOUR centers on their roster? (Perkins, Shaq, Jermaine O'Neal, and KG sometimes) to TRY and matchup with Dwight, because they know Orlando's snipers would have them for lunch if given any daylight. I give the Celtics credit for great team defense and their efficient play, but if not for Paul Pierce flopping around and snapping his head back like he just got stabbed and crying like a baby (see wheelchair incident), the Celtics wouldn't be a blip on the radar. KG thinks he's a thug but he's a weak punk that can only make stupid faces to try and look tough. He tried to be physical with Dwight in last year's playoffs, and Dwight just laughed in his face (see when KG was trying to punch Howard's arm and it barely budged LMAO). The fact is, Orlando has eliminated the Celtics more times in the playoffs (even closing down the old Garden) and the C's are just old and one rolled ankle away from being a mediocre team. Rondo is a good player, but who wouldn't be with 4 Hall of Famers in the starting 5. I hope and pray that both teams meet in the playoffs again, Orlando in 5!! Go Magic!!!

Since: Jan 19, 2011
Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:23 pm

Who wrote this article?

It had to be someone from the Celtics organization, or the city of Boston writing this. No wonder nobody wanted to put their name on it, it's full of inaccuracies, and false statements. How did this person get published on cbssports? Paul Pierce's patented pump fake, is never a continuation of the origianl shot, but always get called as one...JJ redick wasn't on Ray Allen at all towards the end of the game. Redick is the LAST PERSON ALLEN WANTS TO SEE GUARDING HIM. He said it himself, Redick can keep up with him...Ryan Anderson kept the magic in the game late with his clutch offensive rebounding, where were the C's adjustments to that?..Obviously, this dude has green lips from s-ing the D of the C's.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:42 am

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

magicman, you make a very good point. The loss of Jameer Nelson that year was bad and it is too often overlooked by people. However, green koolaid or not, I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that Kevin Garnett means a lot more to his team than Nelson means to his. Also, you have to take into account the fact that in the recent playoffs, the Magic struggled until a blowout game 7 to beat the Celts in 7 in 2009 while the Celtics pretty much cruised to a 6-game series win last year. Also, when meeting the Lakers in the Finals, the Celtics beat them easily in 6 games in one series and just barely lost a 7 game series last year while the Magic were easily dispatched by the same Lakers in just 5 games (and that was with Jameer Nelson back on the court).

The Magic are a very good team, but in the past couple years they don't compare to the Celtics in the playoffs when the Celtics have their roster intact. The Celtics seem to find another gear and a whole new level of intensity, especially on defense, in the playoffs (same goes for the Lakers) whereas the Magic seem to be the same old Magic we see in the regular season: very good, but not great. That could change, but so far it hasn't and, to go back to one of my previous posts, until Dwight Howard changes his whole outlook and approach, it is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Since: Jan 19, 2011
Posted on: January 19, 2011 10:45 am

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

You as with every other sportswriter continue to drink the green koolaid. Yes the Magic beat the Celts in 7 without Garnett. Why do you and every other writer fail to mention Jameer Nelson made the all-star team that year, and was having a sensational season and went out mid-season to miss the entire playoffs leading up to the Finals??? Boston was without KG and the Magic were without a staring All-Star Point guard in Jameer??? You had a team of Dwight, Turk, Alston, a Rookie Courtney Lee and Lewis, beat a Boston team with Pierce, Rondo, Allen, Perkins, and Baby Davis. To me it's a wash. You may want to start adding that in your articles moving forward......

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 3:43 pm

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

jd1973, I can't really argue with most of your description, but I can't understand the "lack of intelligence" piece. For all I know, KG could be dumber than a bag of bricks, but I don't see how trash talking or playing mind games with your opponent displays a lack of intelligence. Hell, if it works - and it seems to more often than not - I'd say it's pretty damned smart.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2011 2:38 pm

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

A bully typically instills fear in people through physical and mental intimidation. Garnett does not qualify. He annoys people. He irritates people. Quite frequently he makes them mad, but since he pulls all of his crap while the teacher is present, there is not much the offended party can do about it. His schtick is not a sign of competitiveness, it is a sign of a lack of intelligence. Nonetheless, he is a very good basketball player so people tolerate it.

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 12:30 pm

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

KG is a bully... deal with it, it's how he maintains his intense level at all times , even in meaning less games. All these these fans would love to have Garnett on their team and I'm sure they would then have no problems with his attitude . Orlando made a great trade and they have a lot of talent, but you don't win a championships being a parameter team. And while yes Howard is a beast, he is all they have inside. They really have no other guys that go to the hoop, no one like Baby coming off the bench, no one like Perk to bang inside in the playoffs, no one like Pierce who drives and creates contact. and no one who plays as intense d as KG. That is what wins in the playoffs.

Plus I think there is some animosity there because their coach is big complainer. In that XMAS day game all that fat Ron Jeremy looking dude do is bitch and moan to the refs, and when they finally pulled game out in the end ( Celts did not have Rondo that game BTW) , they acted like they won the damn championship, mocking the Celts pregame bumping ritual big time. Screw the Magic.

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 12:25 pm

Celtics close out Magic and a question of respect

spot on. 5*

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