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2 November vs. Orlando

Well, here goes another one - hopefully it will generate a little more
discussion. Unlike the opener vs. the Bulls, this game seems to me much
more typical of the whole season:

- reasonably effective press
- dismal shooting
- individual inconsistency (compare this game with the Bulls game for
Walker, Barros, Billups, etc.)


Magic Hex Celts: Orlando 107 - Boston 96

        The Orlando Magic combined strong efforts from Penny Hardaway,
Derrick Harper and Charles Outlaw, plus some canny strategy from Chuck
Dailey to defeat the Celts tonight.  The Celts press worked well,
particularly in first half, but the Magic outside shooting was strong.
The Celts were unable to get quality offensive opportunities from the
turnovers they generated, so that their poor shooting percentage more
than offset their advantage in shots taken.

        The difference in the teams shooting was apparent from the
outset as the Magic jumped out to leads of 7-0 and 14-2.  Probably the
only thing that saved the Celts from being completely blown out in the
first quarter was some timely shooting on the part of Dee Brown, who
came in and hit 3 jumpers for a quick 7 points (almost half of the
Celtics total for the period).  Penny broke free on a breakaway, with
about 4 minutes to go in the period, but Dee caught him from behind
and got his hand on the ball as he went up for the shot.  Hardaway
came down on his hand and sprained his wrist (it looked worse than it
was at the time: the Infobeat story says that Dee fouled Penny which
a: wasn't called and b: pretty clearly wasn't the case from the
replay).  As it was the Celts trailed by 14 (29-14) at the end of the

        It looked as though we might see a repeat of Friday's
scenario, as the Celts cut the Magic lead to 9 (35-26), 4 minutes into
the period.  The Magic were able to respond and pushed the lead up to
15 at 44-29.  The Magic finished of the half with a 5-0 run to take a
50-36 lead into the half.

        The Magic outscored the C's 8-4 to open the 2nd half and
increased their margin to 18 points.  The C's responded with a 9-0 run
to get to within 9 at 58-49.  This was as close as the Celts could
get, until the waning moments of the game.   Although the Celts press
continued to cause the Magic problems, they were able to make up for
it with strong shooting form the 3 point arc.  By the end of the 3rd
quarter, the Magic had gotten their lead up to a game high of 19 at

        Things went from bad to worse early in the 4th, as the Magic
lead climbed to 25 at 94-69.    The Magic, who considered the game
fairly won at this point, settled for playing out their hand.  The
aggressive Celts continued to play hard and were able to outscore the
Magic 25-13 over the remainder of the quarter.  The game ended with
the score at 107-96, a misleadingly close score.

        The Celt's problem in this game was field goal percentage
differential, as they shot .383 (35-92) even after they fattened it up
in the last 6:00 of the game.  Meanwhile Orlando shot 40-73 (including

9-17 on threes).  The Celts did do a good job on the offensive boards
with 24, though they were usually unable to convert those rebounds to
points.  The Celts also harried the Magic into 24 turnovers, and
actually took 2 more free throws.

Celts: Barros, Mercer, Walker, McCarty, Knight
Magic:Harper, Hardaway, Anderson, Grant, Seikaly

Mercer: Ron's strongest game so far.  You might read somewhere that
Ron had a strong night shooting the ball (and he did with 23 points on
9-14 shooting, including a 30 foot three pointer as the 24 second
clock ran out).  But his real work came in the press he was all over
the ball.  He got credit for 3 steals and was probably responsible for
at least that many more turnovers.

Walker: poor shooting night from the field.  Walker only played about
5 minutes in the first quarter and didn't score, but came back to have
a strong 2nd.  He shot 7-20, as he settled for the outside shot much
of the night (2-6 on threes).  He also had a hard time converting his
offensive rebounds.

Barros: continues to struggle big time.  0-9 tonight with 3 assists in
27 minutes.  he is getting good looks at the basket, so you have to
wonder if the new 3 line is bothering him a little (thought it's hard
to see why). =20

McCarty: Walter continues to do a good job on the defensive end,
especially in the press, but his 2-11 shooting performance kind of
negated that.  He did have 7 boards in his 38 minutes, but 4 of them
were offensive: continues to be a non-factor on the defensive boards.

Knight- hit 2 three's tonight.  After having been a little reluctant
to take his shot against the Bulls, he began to warm up in the second
half.  However, he did not repeat his high energy game on the
defensive end or under the boards.  One difference may have been that
he was playing against smaller players for most of the evening, so his
quickness advantage didn't come into play.

Dee- great shooting night at 5-6 for 11 points in just 19 minutes.
Hit several jumpers and also had a nice drive to the basket.  Still
not up to speed on Pitino's defense.

Billups- cam back down to earth, though he still didn't play horribly.
he was, however shooting from a standstill more tongiht, which is not
Chauncey's game.  Scored 5 points (2-8) and had 4 assists in 23
minutes of playing time.

DeClercq- Got 23 minutes tongiht and responded with a team high 12
boards.  7 of those were offensive, though, and he was pathetic trying
to convert those boards into baskets.  Scored 5 points on 1-6 shooting
and had 2 turnovers to boot).  DeClercq is cursed by being on the same
team as Knight.  The high post, which Knight fills so well is just not
the place for Andrew.  He should just never touch the ball unless he's
with 4 feet of the hoop.

Jones: Guy continues to demontrate what a fabulous athlete he is, but
I really don't see the offensive skills everyone keeps talking about
(unless you consider shooting the ball too much a skill, in which case
Todd Day should be in the Hall of Fame).  Scored 4 points on 2-6
shooting in 10 minutes of PT.

Bowen: Only got 13 minutes of PT, perhaps because Mercer and Dee had
strong games.  Scored 6, had 4 boards and 2 assists in that time.

Ellison- Once again came in to the game for 3 minutes in the first
half and didn't play at all in the second.  I'm not sure what's going
on here.

Thomas- came into the game for the last 5 minutes, but it was such a
mess at that point that I don't think he touched the ball.

Coaching- Tonight Pitino saw one thing he certainly didn't see last
time he was in the league with the Knicks.  Orlando shot the ball
better form the 3line, and in general from the outside than the C's
(actually the Celts weren't that shabby at 7-20).  Of cousre Rick can
say with some justice that not many teams in the league are going to
go 9-17.  Still Pitino wants opposing teams to attack when they break
the press, and if clubs shoot well from the 3 point line, they don't
really have to.

Chuck Dailey- The Magic essentially employ a 3 guard lineup most of
time anyway.  For much of this game they used a 3 point guard lineup,
which probably helped them with the press to some degree.  The Boston
press was still successful.  The key to the game lay in 2 factors.
Dailey didn't try to play Seikaly when he realized that this was not
going to be a game where Ron could be a factor.  Instead he employed
the more mobile and better ball handling Charles Outlaw.  Secondly,
the Magic did not attack the Celtics press unless they had an
overwhelming advantage.  Time after time, rather than press a slight
advantage, they chose to hold the ball up and launch shots form the
outside.  This certainly deprived them of some easy shots that they
otherwise could have had.  But it also meant that they usually had at
least 3 players out by the 3 point arc, and even if the C's did steal
that ball from them in half court, the Celts couldn't run effectively.
In general the Celts got very few baskets off their pressing defense.

The Celts record is now 1-1.  They play again this Tuesday night.

Bill Cooper