Okay, so Bodog put the Magic at +7 tonight. I wouldn’t take it either with the way the Celts have been playing. Still though, I just can’t see the Magic getting swept. How can a team that won eight straight lose the next four? Truthfully, this would be a bigger collapse than the 2007 Mavericks. Orlando is just too good to lose like this. We keep waiting for Stan Van Gundy to adjust but even if he has tried to, he just has no answer for Rondo and cannot find a way to get Rashard Lewis going. But here are three reasons why Orlando will be returning home for a Game 5.
Key #1: Twin Towers 3.0
First of all, can we get retire the term “the Twin Towers” already? How can any 7-footer combo outlive the World Trade Center? At the very least, how can anyone top Sampson-Olajuwon or Duncan-Robinson? Okay, Sampson-Olajuwon wasn’t that special. Still, Howard-Gortat is a force to be reckoned with and have proven to be successful when given the opportunity to play together. At home against Boston in a late January matchup, the Magic paired Howard with Gortat down the stretch and outscoring the Celtics 35-22 in the fourth quarter, the Magic won 96-94. Boston just couldn’t score against two 7-footers, and besides hitting a go ahead 17-footer with 4:52 remaining, Gortat even threw Howard a nice alley-oop. After the game, Gortat had this to say: “Defensively, I think we are killing them. There’s no way they can stop us defensively with two big men like that.” Why the Magic haven’t played this duo more is mind-boggling. Depending on the rest of the defensive matchups that remain, Rashard, Vince, Matt Barnes, Redick, and Pietrus could fill the 2 and 3 spots. I think that SVG will finally understand that Gortat in the lineup means that Howard is double-teamed less and that Gortat can take Garnett and ‘Sheed off the dribble, and can post Big Baby up with ease.
Key #2: The chance to go home
The Magic have not been able to motivate themselves in any of the games so far, and I wouldn’t hire Vince Carter or Rashard Lewis to give a pep talk to my team on any level. I’d rather have Van Wilder, who motivated Q-Rich and Darius Miles to play their hearts out for Coolidge College with the promise of an amazing party. It’s too bad VC plays right next to Disney World already, because it has become clear that he has zero motivation to win a championship. But with a win tonight, the Magic go home and would have the chance to close the gap to a 3-2 Celtics lead. SVG’s got to be using this as a motivating factor, but tonight his speech will finally resonate.
Key #3: The Celtics will miss a lot of shots tonight
Look for the Magic to play the Celtics defensively like the Suns played the Lakers last night. A zone that will allow one or two players to get hot but force more three pointers than the Celtics want to take. The first step will be to limit Rondo’s offensive productivity as they have shown they could do in Games 1 and 3. Go watch the expletive-laden Jason Williams video telling reporters to back away from his locker and tell me you’re not scared of this guy tonight. Maybe he was upset that Rondo did more than posterize him – he videorized him. Williams will forever be immortalized in Rondo highlight videos, so look out for the return of White Chocolate seeking revenge. Seriously though, stopping the Celtics begins with Rondo. That is why a Howard-Gortat duo plugging the lanes will force the Celtics to win based on perimeter shooting. This is not to say that Pierce and Allen won’t destroy them, but it gives the Magic the best chance to win tonight.
What do you think? Will the Magic win Game 4?
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