Game 1 Is Live on ABC
Orlando is on a roll. They obliterated an ostensibly talented Atlanta Hawks team after plowing through the rejuvenated Bobcats. In the process, Dwight Howard shrugged off his famous foul woes to shoot 84% from the field for the series.
The real key to the Magic's postseason success, however, has been the superstar play of Jameer Nelson. His postseason PER of 27.46 leads all active players, and he has done it from the field (52%, 40% on threes) and the free throw line (33-41 over eight games).
Boston, meanwhile, has been a well-documented surprise. They exploited LeBron's bum elbow (and bum teammates), and took the Cavs down in six. They will again have to keep the series short if they are going to advance over a young Magic team.
The Rajon Rondo/Jameer Nelson match-up will be one to watch. Nelson has exploited weaker defenders, and if the Celtics can win there, they have the pieces to get it done on paper. Was it LeBron's elbow, or a deceptively talented Celtics squad that gives us this matchup? We'll find out.
Player to watch: Vince Carter. Assuming Rondo neutralizes Nelson to some degree, Carter will be the only guy who can get his own shot. He can't afford to be an afterthought in this series.
Prediction: Magic in 6. I've come to the conclusion that the Celtics were taking it easy prior to the playoffs. Yes, LeBron was hurt, but Boston's multiple weapons, strong defense, and ability to win on the road are going to make thisa series.