After missing out on a chance to sweep the Magic at home on Monday, the Celtics are back in Orlando – a place they hoped they wouldn’t have to return to. If the Celtics don’t want this series to drag on any longer, they will need to rebound tonight, and these are three ways the Celtics can book their ticket to the NBA Finals.
Key #1: Foul Dwight Howard hard
In Game 1, the Celtics frustrated Dwight Howard by fouling him hard and fouling him often down low. Howard’s incredible strength allows him and-one opportunities when the Celtics don’t foul hard, like his easy put-back in Game 4’s overtime. The Celtics need to play physical with Howard, and when they decide to foul, make sure the foul is hard enough so Howard can’t make the basket – because him making two free throws is no sure thing, as evidenced by his 6-for-14 performance there in Game 4 as compared to his 13-for-19 from the field.
Key #2: Shore up the rotations
In the first three games of the series, the Celtics had perfect defensive rotations. In Game 4, they were a little slow in their rotations, and that allowed the Magic to hit the three (which is their bread-and-butter). The Magic hit 10 three pointers in Game 4 – the most they’ve hit in the series – and the Celtics can’t allow Orlando to get into a rhythm from behind the arc. There is no shot more crushing for a team than when an opponent is draining threes from downtown, which is what the Magic do best.
Key #3: Give Pierce rest down the stretch
Last game, Paul Pierce had a phenomenal outing scoring 32 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, but he also played 47 minutes. While Doc Rivers obviously wants Pierce in the game in crunch time, he needs to find a chance to get him a breather. In Game 4, it was clear that Pierce was gassed late in the fourth quarter and overtime, as every shot he took fell short – including two threes in the final 30 seconds of OT.
What do you think? Will the Celtics win Game 5?
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