Magic win do-or-die Game 4; The NBA’s 50 Cent has another rival

By: 05.25.10  •  64 Comments

Jameer Nelson (photo. NBA)

Orlando’s goals were relatively humble going into last night’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 4: (1) Don’t get blown out of the water in the first quarter, (2) Get something resembling an average performance from your $118 million third option, and (3) Win or go golfing. By pulling off the hat trick, the Magic avoided elimination while winning the first overtime game of these 2010 playoffs … Jameer Nelson was the difference in this one. In the first half he got Orlando’s offense going by penetrating the lane, finding open shooters, setting up Dwight Howard (32 pts, 16 rebs, 4 blks) for easy momentum-building dunks, and dropping in finger rolls and floaters when given the opportunity to score. Jameer (23 pts, 6 rebs, 9 asts) made a couple bonehead turnovers in crunch time, but redeemed himself by hitting the two biggest shots of the game: a three-pointer off the glass from the left side that snapped a scoreless stretch for both teams to begin the overtime, then another triple (all net) from the right side that put Orlando up six. Ray Allen (22 pts) kept Boston within striking distance with a couple treys during OT, but Dwight’s tip-in off a Nelson miss with under a minute to go was the last basket of the game and enough cushion for the Magic … As good as Jameer and Dwight were, Vince Carter was equally bad. Maybe Vince’s biggest apologists will argue that he was being a decoy, but to produce all of 3 points (1-9 FG), 2 rebounds and 2 assists in an elimination game — not to mention getting thoroughly outplayed by your backup, J.J. Redick (12 pts) — is just unacceptable. And on top of his offensive struggles, Vince was getting his eyes shot out by Ray Allen. Did you see how pumped-up Ray’s mom was down the stretch? (“That’s my boy! That’s my boy!”) She showed more intensity in 30 seconds of camera time than Vince showed all night … Matter of fact, almost was treating this like a hockey game. As the game went on it got increasingly physical, almost boiling over when Kevin Garnett got a tech for throwing a half-punch/half-push at Dwight. On the replay you could see Dwight palmed KG’s face first, but the refs didn’t catch that part … You see? Nobody was asking Rashard Lewis to drop 30 points or turn into Rick Barry or anything, just make us remember you’re on the court. Raw Lew’s 13 points and couple of threes was just fine. Stretching out the Boston defense to create open lanes for Dwight and Jameer and making Boston respect his presence got the job done …

Paul Pierce, Dime #5

Lost in the Orlando win was that Paul Pierce (32 pts, 11 rebs) was a beast. In one fourth-quarter sequence he knifed through the middle of the lane and threw down a dunk he’d been keeping in his pocket since like 2001, then he tied the score with a tough lefty layup and-one. As Pierce tried to take over in the second half Orlando kept putting Jameer on him 1-on-1, and Jameer got routinely abused … You could tell Stan Van Gundy was in panic mode, because he actually put Brandon Bass on the floor in the first quarter. Nate Robinson also got some early burn, primarily when Rajon Rondo (9 pts, 8 asts, 3 stls) got into foul trouble late in the first half. “These are the first important minutes of his life in the NBA,” Jeff Van Gundy said about Nate. He wasn’t even joking … But the announcer line of the night came from Mark Jackson, responding to those who said Rondo didn’t become a “true Celtic” until his Game 3 hustle play highlight: “Whoever said that, wash your mouth out with soap. Just like Hondo, this is Rondo.” … And the PAUSE of the night came from Garnett, during the Big Three halftime feature. Talking about the relationship he, Pierce and Ray have with Rondo, KG said the vets had to “jump his bones a little bit.” Um, that sounds a little too much like cell-block initiation … Big Baby is incapable of not making funny faces and looking like a goofball. The big defensive plays and clutch buckets he turned in were almost overshadowed by that weird tongue thing he did after one bucket. It looked like Baby had just polished off two racks of ribs and was trying to lick the sauce off his chin … Apparently there’s a Twitter beef going on between Shaq and Jalen Rose, stemming from comments Rose made on TV about Shaq playing like an old man. So of course Shaq (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) did the anti-old man thing took it online: “Jalen rose cud neva say wht I am or what I am not, he was soft then, he’s softer now, respect yur elders, u rememba da finals,I saw yo eyes.” Unfazed and landing a blow for insulted media types everywhere, Jalen (@jalenrose) hit back: “I call it like I see it-U hv an AGAINST the LAW tattoo-but you are a registered police officer & twitter beef is LAME!” We’re not taking sides, but the line about Shaq’s tat had us laughing … Here’s a question, though: Why is it that as Shaq gets older, he gets more and more like 50 Cent? Whether it’s Dwight or Stan Van Gundy or Jalen or other random ex-teammates, Shaq has been going around creating beef for no good reason. If only Anthony Mason had been around during the Twitter craze … We’re out like Mike Brown

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