Everyone on the Magic congregated at Dwight Howard‘s mansion on Saturday night to check out Game 7 of Celtics/Bulls and the destruction of Ricky Hatton shortly thereafter. Though intrepid sportswriter John Denton didn’t get into which fighter they preferred, he did get at which team they wanted to face in Round Two. Consensus seems to be that they’d rather feel proud of beating “the better team” than taking the easy road.
“We wanted the champs and the better team,” Magic point guard Rafer Alston said. “If Chicago would have won the series, they would have been the better team. But I don’t know many people on our team that wouldn’t say they don’t want Boston. I think you do want to go through the champs.”
If we’re able to sift through Rafer’s double-negativity, his point is that a win over the guys who won last year helps to ferment the belief that you could win this year. A win in this series could give Orlando the confidence that they lack during their inconsistent stretches.
But at the same time, does a win over the KG-less Celtics give Orlando the boost that they’d need to take down Cleveland? The Magic beat Boston in their last two contests – both without Garnett – after losing to the Celtics in their first two games with KG this season.
Ultimately, Boston is still favored in this series, though by a small margin (-2.5). And even if a win over Boston now isn’t as much of an accomplishment as it would’ve been with their best defensive player, Orlando could still say that they beat the defending champs.
Source: Florida Today