NBA: Put away brooms, Magic are coming home
By Mike Bianchi
The Orlando Sentinel
BOSTON — One night.
A season-saving, potentially momentum-paving 96-92 overtime victory.
And now everything seems different.
In other words, tell the guy who hacked into Paul Pierce's Twitter account to put that cyber broom back in the closet, the Magic are taking this thing back to the Am.
"That's the first step, you've got to get a win," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says. "A win can change a lot of things."
This championship dream all started with Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson and it was those two team captains and best friends who wouldn't allow it to end. Dwight, the hulking, bulking big man, scored 32 points, yanked down 16 rebounds and blocked four shots. Jameer, the pint-sized point guard, hit two key 3s in overtime, scored 23 points and dished out nine assists.
"We've been here longer than anybody," Nelson said with a glance toward Howard. "We look at this as our team. A lot of things fall on us."
Added Howard: "It starts with me and Jameer. We have to be the leaders of this team."
Are the Magic still the longest of long shots to win this series? Of course they are, but at least now they can see a dot of illumination, a pinprick of light where before there was just a dismally dark hole. Doesn't matter how dire your circumstances, everything just seems a little better and brighter after a win.
Since we are in Boston, let us remember the famous quote from old-time Red Sox manager Johnny Pesky, who once said, "When you win, you eat better, you sleep better, your beer tastes better and your wife looks like Gina Lollobrigida."
Right now the Magic fans have their appetite back, their beer tastes like an ice-cold St. Pauli Girl and their wives are starting to bear a striking resemblance to that smoking hot St. Pauli Girl, too.
The Magic now have given the Celtics something to think about. This victory comes on the heels of the 94-71 Boston massacre of Orlando on Saturday night. But, if you're a history buff, you probably know the real Boston Massacre back in 1770 was a catalyst for the American colonists to rise up against British tyranny and overthrow the crown.
Now it's the Magic who are talking about rising up and trying to overthrow that Celtic royalty and legacy. The Magic have always said they wanted to make history this season. Well now they REALLY have a chance to make history. If they want to win the first championship in franchise history, first they will have to pull off the greatest comeback in NBA history.
The victory in Game 4 is at least a start. Now the Magic come home Wednesday night and will be expected to win Game 5, too. If that happens, suddenly it's 3-2 and the pressure will be back on the Celtics going back to Boston on Friday night for Game 6. And what if the Magic can get it back to Orlando for a Game 7 Sunday? Then they would have all the momentum and undoubtedly be favored to win.
Of course that last paragraph is easier written than done. But at least now they have a puncher's chance. Give the Magic credit. It would have been easy for them to fold up, check out and quit after they fell behind 3-0 with yet another game in Boston on Monday night.
When asked if a win would change the entire language of this series, Van Gundy was quick to reply: "Of course it does. You're going home, you're coming off a win, your confidence grows.
"When it's rolling, it becomes easy," he added. "That's how we were in the Atlanta series and that's the way the Celtics have been since Game 3 of the Cleveland series. Somehow, if you can turn that around and win a game, the mentality changes for us and for them a little bit, too."
Oh-and-93. That's what the Magic are up against. History tells us that 93 times in NBA history teams have fallen behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series and 93 times they have ended up deader than dirt. Van Gundy, an avid historian of the game, says such a streak has to end eventually.
"I know it will happen," Van Gundy insists. "It's happened in other sports and it's gonna happen in this one."
"And when it happens, it's going to start with a team winning Game 4 — I can guarantee you that."
Yes, it is just that—one victory—but if you want to change history, you have to start somewhere.
"What better time than now?" the Magic's Vince Carter said. "This would be a great piece of history to be a part of."