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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 27, 2010

NBA: As Celtics wilt, Magic are halfway to history


By Mike Bianchi
The Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. This may have been the best day this city has seen since the yokels sold Walt Disney a zillion acres of land near Kissimmee for $24, some beaver pelts and a pair of glass beads.

First, the iconic Lake Eola fountain started flowing again Wednesday.

And then so, too, did the supersonic Orlando Magic.

Nine months ago, lightning struck the famous fountain and shut it down.

But now unbelievably, inconceivably lightning has struck the Magic and woke them up.

Orlando Magic 113, Boston Bruins, er, Celtics 92

Two down, two to go.

Halfway to history.

The Magic, left for dead and wearing everything but a toe tag after the horrendous 94-71 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, gave the Boston Celtics a Beantown beatdown Wednesday night at the Am and moved another step closer to becoming the first team in league history to ever rally back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series. In the annals of the NBA, 93 teams have fallen behind 3-0, and 93 teams have ultimately gone down. But even naturally pessimistic Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, the Eeyore of the NBA, can feel the winds of change blowing in this series.

"At some point it will happen," Van Gundy said of the 0-for-93 streak being broken."Why not us? Why not now?"

Added Magic point guard Jameer Nelson: "We've broken a lot of records and done some great things over the last couple of years. Other than winning a championship, this (rallying back from 0-3) would be one of the greatest things you could accomplish."

The national anthem? As one fan e-mailed in, the Magic should commission a singer to roarl out the words of "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha before their games.

"To dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go."

You can see it; you can feel it a seismic shift in the momentum of this series. The Magic are rising up; the Celtics are beaten down. The Magic are gaining confidence; the Celtics are losing composure.

Kendrick Perkins, the Dwight-stopper in the first three games of this series, was ejected from Game 5, after getting not one but two technical fouls. Give that man a Bruins jersey. These boneheaded technicals may be the biggest blunder in Boston sports since Bill Buckner and the Babe trade.

Pending a review from the NBA today, Perkins, who now has surpassed the allotted seven technical fouls in the, playoffs, will now have to serve a mandatory 1-game suspension in Game 6. But, really, what is there for the NBA to review?

What did the officials "mis-hear" the bleepity-bleep-bleep Perkins probably barked at official Eddie Rush to draw his second technical? Perkins, one of the league leaders in technical fouls most every year, obviously cannot control his temper and his mouth. If the NBA rescinds one of his technicals, get ready for the conspiracy theorists to be out in full force, convinced David Stern is trying to set up a "Boston-L.A." final.

With or without Perkins, there's no question, the Celtics have something to think about now. This series is 3-2 and the onus is all on the Celtics to win Game 6 back up in Boston on Friday night.

"This is it for us," Boston's Ray Allen said of heading home for Game 6. "This is our Game 7."

Translation: If it gets back to a real Game 7 at the Am on Sunday, the Celtics will not only feel the pressure of the Orlando fans; they will feel the pressure of the Boston fans, who are still hung over from two weeks ago when the NHL's Bruins collapsed after taking a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers and pulling one of the most monumental collapses in the history of sports.

Dwight Howard and the Magic didn't just beat up Boston (the Celtics suffered more concussions than Merril Hoge Wednesday) on the defensive end, Nelson and the Magic shot them down on the offensive end.

You just knew eventually the Magic would have to get out of their shooting funk. This, is after all, a team that made more 3-pointers during the season than any team in NBA history. The Celtics are a great defensive team, but you can't hold the most prolific shooting team in league history down forever.

It was obvious the Magic were in for a good night when Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis, two players who have struggled mightily during this series, each hit a trey to begin the game. Then Nelson hit one. And J.J. Redick. And Matt Barnes. And Mickael Pietrus. By the time the Magic were done with their own Boston Three Party, they'd drained 13-of-26 treys.

Halfway to history.

Two down, two to go.

They were partying down in downtown Wednesday night.

The fountain was flowing; the Magic are rolling.

The Eastern Conference championship trophy was in a crate next to the Boston locker room, ready to be unpacked and awarded to the Celtics Wednesday night.

Somebody better call UPS.

Pack it back up, boys, this baby's going back to Beantown.