The Magic conducted a shootaround this morning at TD Garden in preparation for Game 3 tonight in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics. After losing the first two games on their home court at Amway Arena, where they tied for the second-most home wins in the NBA (34), the Magic now face a must-win situation.
“I think our focus has been great, they’ve worked hard and I think they’re ready to play,” said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy.
Asked about what he expected from Matt Barnes’ projected matchup against Paul Pierce, Van Gundy replied, “I don’t have any idea. They have so many weapons, I mean you got to stop everybody. Ray Allen had a great Game 1, [Rajon] Rondo had a great Game 2. Rasheed [Wallace] hurt us a lot. I mean, they’ve got a lot of places to go, so it’s not a matter of stopping one guy. That’s just very simplistic. It’s not going to get it done against the Celtics. Our team defense is going to have to be great.”
For his part, Barnes was looking forward to the challenge.
“Not that he’s struggled, he just hasn’t scored as much in the first two rounds,” Barnes said of Pierce, “But he’s, hands down, their No. 1 scorer. He’s averaged about 25-26 against us and he’s been really carrying their team. I told Stan that I wanted to guard him and I’m going to get the chance to guard him tonight.”
So what will be Barnes’ approach to guarding Pierce?
“Keep him off the foul line and eliminate his easy buckets and just stay into him,” said Barnes, an eight-year NBA veteran who, at 6-foot-7-inches, has the length and athleticism to guard Pierce. “He’s a very crafty player, he shot-fakes well, as he goes the team kind of goes, in this round at least. Hopefully, I can slow him down a bit.”