Welcome to TD Garden, where the Boston Celtics will take on the Orlando Magic in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN). The Celtics lead the best-of-seven series, 3-0.
It’s clearly very difficult to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series in any sport, so running down a list of historical statistics on that feat masks the real point: The Magic have to play better. Period. In this game, tonight, the Magic have to play better than the Celtics for 48 minutes. If they don’t, Orlando’s season will be over.
For the Celtics, the trick will be to keep doing what they’ve been doing on defense. Orlando is clearly overwhelmed when the Celtics use their defense-on-a-string tactics to clog passing lanes and create turnovers. It’s clear that the Magic haven’t seen that kind of consistent, team defense this season. If they can adjust to it they have a chance. If not, they’ll be swept away.
Rajon Rondo just finished warming up, then took a few moments to sit by himself, headphones on, in one of the courtside seats near the Celtics basket. No Celtics player has had a bigger impact during these playoffs than Rondo. If he plays well tonight, it’s hard to imagine the Celtics losing this game.
The locker rooms open soon. Back with much more shortly.