As the second round of the playoffs began last night, Paul Pierce and the Celtics were a little flat -- literally and figuratively -- as they lost the home-court advantage to Orlando. Boston rallied from a 28-point second-half deficit but fell just short.
It seemed that from a mental, physical, focus, and preparation standpoint, one day was not enough time for the Celtics to get ready for a new series.
Eddie House scored 31 points off the bench, while Rajon Rondo came close to a triple-double in the first half and finished with 15 points, 18 assists, and 11 rebounds as the Celtics steamrolled Orlando in Game 2 to even their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Playing for the Celtics is about winning championships. Nothing else. That's what made the 22-year gap so frustrating. And that's what makes the challenge so great for this Green Team of 2009.
The Magic did most of the celebrating, at the expense of Brian Scalabrine and his teammates. The Celtics have played in three blowouts against the Magic, falling behind after a 117-96 defeat in Game 3.
Another stink bomb by the Celtics. Another crummy game. Another night when you could switch to the Bruins or Red Sox without worrying that you might miss something.
The Celtics can't control who is hurt, or guess who is going to be cold on any given night. But the one staple throughout last season's championship run was their defense.
With four Celtic guards eager to take the deciding shot, the ball ended up with Glen Davis (above), who lofted a 21-foot jumper just before the buzzer to give Boston a 95-94 win. The result evened the playoff series at two games apiece.
It's the one you shoot in the driveway every day when you are a kid. You do this even if you are a big fella and everybody wants you to play close to the basket.
The Celtics overcame a 14-point deficit over the final nine minutes of play to edge the Orlando Magic, 92-88, in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The time has come to appreciate the lovable spunk of this Celtics team. There is no Kevin Garnett, nor is there a Leon Powe. James Posey and P.J. Brown are home watching on the high-def. The entire experience is different this year.
The Celtics led by as many as nine points in the first half, but Boston's 19 turnovers allowed the Magic to take Game 6 and set up a do-or-die Game 7.
He's pretty big, that kid. Dwight Howard may only have one half of an offensive move, but he's 6 feet 11 inches and he weighs 200-whatever and he's undeniably athletic, and there was never any doubt he was going to bring it in this game.
gallery Game 7 photos | video Reaction roundup
The Magic took a 101-82 victory in the deciding contest of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Celtics' fourth-quarter collapse providing a graphic example of their overachieving nature since losing Kevin Garnett to injury in March.
Oh, the most deserving team won, all right. The Orlando Magic will be playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, and they richly deserve that honor after playing as sound and intelligent and skillful a game as a road team can play in a Game 7.
first-round recap > celtics vs. bulls
Relive the Celtics' grueling seven-game series with the Chicago Bulls in the quarterfinals of the Eastern Conference playoffs.