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The Celtics lost their first game of the unofficial second half of the season (see: Midseason Grades) 96-93 on a last-second prayer by Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu. Playing without forward Kevin Garnett for the first time all season, the Celtics somehow rallied from a 16-point third quarter defecit to tie the game with 14 seconds remaining on Ray Allen’s 3-pointer. Turkoglu came the other side of the court and hit a buzzer-beating shot over the reaching arms of Paul Pierce.
Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis and Scot Pollard also did not play, leaving the Celtics with a lack of size on both ends of the court. Leon Powe and James Posey stepped up big though to keep the Celtics in the game. Powe finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds (6 offensive) in 26 minutes while James Posey had 16 points and 6 rebounds. Posey tied a season-high with 4 threes.
Just think about it, the Magic have one of the most dominant centers in the NBA in Dwight Howard, and have a big (but grossly overpaid) backup center in Adonal Foyle. The Celtics countered last night with Kendrick Perkins, Brian Scalabrine, and Leon Powe! Despite the overwhelming advantage for the Magic, the Celtics somehow made it a game and had a chance to win the game near the end.
I will say though that the most devastating damage against the Celts was when Rajon Rondo had to leave the game with a sprained ankle. Seemingly after that, the Magic went on a massive run to take a 16-point lead. This should be a warning flare for Danny Ainge to go out and grab a point guard. Rondo returned and the C’s fought back, and even took a lead late in the fourth quarter. The Magic rebounded to go up by 7 with under 2 minutes to go, and the Celts somehow tied it again with Ray Allen hitting a clutch 3-pointer in the corner.
So, the Magic take the season series 2-1 against the Celtics (both wins at home) but I have a feeling this wont be the last time we’ll see the Magic this season. If they want to make the NBA Finals, the Celtics will have to get through teams like the Magic, Cavs, and Pistons. With a healthy KG and a veteran backup point guard, I’m sure the Celtics will finish the second half pretty strong.
Get better KG!