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If someone told me that Paul Pierce only played 16 minutes and only scored three points in a critical Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals I would have panicked immediately. The sad part about this statement is that most of it is true and Pierce was that ineffective due to foul trouble early in both halves. However, Eddie House came up big and answered for the Celtics when they needed it. The Celtics outplayed the Magic the whole way to tie this series at 1-1, winning 112-94.
House was amazing, only missing three shots, and none from beyond the three point line. He finished with 31 points after playing 28 minutes off the bench. House was not alone in great play. Rajon Rondo set the tone with speed and intensity. He tied Larry Bird for a Celtics record of three triple doubles in the playoffs…and there is still a ways to go in these playoffs. Rondo finished with 15 points, 18 assists, and 11 rebounds.
Oh yeah, there were those other guys on the Celtics who have talent too. Ray Allen had a great game with 22 points, and Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis added 16 and 13 points respectively. Brian Scalabrine was effective off the bench again and finished with 8 points. The plus side of Pierce having the off night is that he basically got a night off. He should have a nice set of fresh legs in Orlando and hopefully an attitude of wanting to turn his performance around in Game 3.
The Magic once again did not have one stand out player as they spread the ball around and several players scoring about the same amount of points. Rashard Lewis and Michael Pietrus both lead the scoring with 17, Lewis also added 10 rebounds to the mix. J.J. Redick had 15 points before fouling out and then being ejected after mouthing off to a referee. Hedo Turkoglu had 14 and Dwight Howard was a non-factor with Perk’s defensive play, despite his double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
I was a big fan of the Celtics speed tonight and their three guard set worked well against the Magic, who attempted to comeback into the game by out-sizing the Celtics. Kendrick Perkins has really played well against Dwight Howard and deserves a lot of credit for limiting Howard the way he has been. Perkins made some strong moves to the rim, challenging Howard (and once Redick, you can guess who won that battle) to establish the inside presence. Also, enough cannot be said about Eddie House as he stepped up when Pierce could not. Expect a bounce back game from Pierce, who almost never plays badly two games in a row when the Celtics head to Orlando for Game 4 on Friday night.
Tags: Brian Scalabrine, Celtics, Dwight Howard, Eddie House, Glen Big Baby Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick, Kendrick Perkins, Larry Bird, Michael Pietrus, Orlando Magic, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen