NBA Roundtable

Game Time: Boston vs Orlando

In Game Log / Recap on November 20, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Excellent game tonight. The two best teams in the Eastern Conference going at it. This could be a previews of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.

Game Notes

  • No Jameer Nelson tonight — Jason Williams will start in his place. I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from him in previous Magic games I’ve watched. He is doing a great job of protecting the ball and making sure Orlando gets a shot off though. Anthony Johnson will be his lead backup.
  • JJ Redick — I heard Matt Goukas say the other night that SVG is considering using Redick at the point while Jameer Nelson is out.
  • Rasheed Wallace — Doc Rivers recently asked Rasheed Wallace to slow down on the three point attempts. Sheed is currently on track to take 450+ three pointers this season. That is 5.8 attempts per game despite only playing 21 minutes a night, a career high and a career low. Two thirds of Wallace’s shot attempts (5.8 out of 8.8) have been from downtown this season.
  • Boston has two of the best Dwight stoppers in the league in Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace. Perkins is the best post defender in the league. Boston has another excellent post defender in Glen Davis but he’s out injured for the time being. Also, Kevin Garnett, who’s a very good-to-excellent post defender but usually doesn’t match up with Howard that often (Duncan yes, Howard not so much).
  • Boston’s defense has been on a down-streak over the past five or so games. I think it was the Suns game that started it all off.  Nothing to be concerned about. Boston are the most talented defensive squad in the league.
  • Vince Carter — I haven’t liked the lack of playmaking from Carter in games I’ve seen from the Magic this season. I think they’d be better off with Carter taking on a larger role as a playmaker/passer. It’s something that Vince is truly excellent at.
  • Vince Carter FTs — Carter is only taking 2.5 FTAs per game this season. Only once in his career has Vince taken less than five free throws a game so this is highly unusual for him. He’s also seen an uptick in jump shots … something like 66% to 85% of his shots are jumpers nowadays … something to watch as the season continues
  • The SVG + Dwight Howard meeting is getting too much publicity.

First Quarter

  • Pietrus has passed up two good opportunities to drive the ball
  • Out of control drive by Ray Allen against Vince Carter. He couldn’t get the separation, decided to just put his head down and try to muscle and spin his way to the rim, Vince stayed with him, Dwight came over to help, Ray fumbled the shot, turnover. Terrible take by Ray Allen.
  • Two nice fastbreaks by the Magic. Lovely transition play by Dwight Howard, ran right to the front of the rim, middle of the paint, caught the ball, good composure, then finished over Perkins. Nice push by Jason Williams in the open court, dribbles inside, kicks it out to Pietrus on the right wing, three pointer, good.
  • Orlando out to a 15-6 lead. Timeout Boston.
  • Vince Carter has taken a couple of heavily contested jumpers from the top of the key. One forced against the shot clock (because of Pietrus’ indecision).
  • Paul Pierce travels as he tries to force a drive … looks like he’s going to try and put this team on his back to try and keep them in this game. He had a nice cut and shot in the paint, plus a drew a foul + FTs on a drive, earlier in the game.
  • Kendrick Perkins has the other 4 points as he dunks home the ball. Orlando leads 20-8.
  • Rajon Rondo forces a pass instead of taking a short shot in the paint. Second time (other was a 15 foot jumper at the FT line) that Rondo passed up an easy shot resulting in a turnover for the team.
  • Kendrick Perkins checks out of the game. Rasheed Wallace enters. Who will Dwight Howard defend? He takes Kevin Garnett. Good decision. Keep Dwight closer to the rim (somewhat). Be interesting to see if KG tries to attack Dwight with his quickness … something Chris Bosh does very well … KG drains a jumper from the top of the key over Dwight as he hangs back.
  • Dwight Howard jumps down from the top of the key and comes from behind to reject Rondo’s runner in the lane. Rondo does not like to play against Dwight Howard … gets intimidated offensively when he’s near Howard in the paint.
  • Garnett turns over the right shoulder, fallaway J, Carter gives off a soft foul, hits the J plus the FTs. KG with two baskets now. Hopefully this will get him going offensively.
  • Orlando lead 24-13 with three minutes to play in the first quarter
  • Jason Williams backing off Rondo well here in the early goings … inside to KG, right block, faces up, drives middle, kicks it out. He got the step on Dwight there, he can beat Howard if he attacks him … now Sheed posts up against Howard, left block, turns towards baseline, fallaway, in and out.
  • Rasheed Wallace grappling with Howard on the pick and roll defensively. Trying to stop him rolling to the hoop. Clever if he doesn’t get called for it, which he doesn’t.
  • Eddie House and Rasheed Wallace run the pick and roll on the left wing, House dribbles left, left wing triple, misses. Two dangerous shooters there.

Second Quarter

  • Orlando lead 29-13 … make that 29-15 as Pierce rattles in a contested 18 footer over Pietrus from the top of the key.
  • Nice short jumper from Shelden Williams from 13 feet along the baseline over Gortat.
  • Carter with a beautiful drive, particularly the side step to slither by Shelden Williams, but a weak finish and missed shot. Next possession, Vince pick and roll, settles for a jumper, miss. We’ve seen that an awful lot here in the early part of the season from Vince, settling for that jumper off the pick and roll.
  • Shelden Williams is playing center defensively and matching up with Gortat. Rasheed Wallace is defending Ryan Anderson. Interesting.
  • Hey hey, Vince drives off the pick and roll this time, top of the key, right down the middle, layup. Easy two.
  • Pierce draws another foul … Orlando is in the penalty now (well on next foul) after only three minutes.
  • Anthony Johnson has Ryan Anderson wide open cutting to the rim, alley oop, terrible pass, turnover. What a waste.
  • Orlando leads 31-22 after four minutes. Boston leads 9-2 here in second quarter scoring.
  • Vince Carter misses a three pointer on a fasbreak … offensive rebound … back to Vince, Vince dribbles in, one handed shot from 14 feet off glass, good. Nice shot.
  • Celtics get another four points off of some Ray Allen FTs + a Rondo midrange jumper. They’ve cut the lead to nine, at 35-26 Orlando. Timeout Orlando. Midway through the second quarter. Excellent block from Gortat on Daniels’ drive just before the timeout.
  • Orlando haven’t gotten anything going offensively here in the second quarter.
  • Turnover, fastbreak, long behind the back pass from Rondo to Ray, two long steps by Ray, slam dunk … Ryan Anderson bags a three pointer on the other end after a quick push back upcourt as the C’s are undermanned defensively … C’s run again on the break, Ray Allen misses badly (air ball?) on a jumper, Rondo runs baseline, picks it up, layup. Timeout Orlando, again, to stop the C’s momentum. The crowd are getting into this.
  • Kendrick Perkins with loud block on Vince Carter’s runner. He slams it out of bounds.
  • Boston have yet to turn the ball over here in the second quarter … Orlando has 9 turnovers, four in the quarter.
  • Orlando lead 39-32 with three and a half minutes to play in the second quarter
  • Jason Williams has played very well defensively against Rondo in the first half. He’s backing off of him, making it harder for Rondo to penetrate, making passes more difficult, and doubling effectively. Orlando’s defensive strategies against Rondo are doing a lot of damage to Boston’s offense.
  • Dwight Howard levels Rondo with a screen. Love to see that.
  • Nice job by Ray Allen to draw a foul (charge) on Dwight Howard in that fastbreak situation. Not sure it was a charge though … but good effort to look to draw it.

Halftime

  • Orlando leads 43-40
  • Oh, very nice defense by Howard to poke the ball away from Perkins on a spinning move down in the post. Turnover.
  • On the other end, KG blocks Howard’s running hook-like shot, more of scoop/rolling shot, off the left post turning middle.
  • Nice cross court pass off the pick and roll by Carter (right wing) to Jason Williams (left corner) for the three pointer. Lovely offense. Orlando leads 55-48 after four and a half minutes.
  • Perkins picks up his fifth foul, has five points, and just got his fifth technical of the season. Frustrating night foul wise for Perkins.
  • Excellent pass by Vince Carter again off the pick and roll, finds a cutting Lewis who hits the short shot. KG had turned his back to the play, Vince threaded the needle and found his man. Another play, Vince drives hard to the rim off the pick and roll, layup, misses (Sheed blocked a layup by Vince a few plays before). I like Vince’s passing here, more of that please.
  • Nice rebound by Rondo on the baseline (off reb) again, Jason Williams slaps it, knocks it loose, dives on it, steal.
  • Switch here … Rondo on Vince, Pierce on J-Will, clearout for Williams left wing. Now a pick and roll, swings the ball to the right wing, Vince catch and shoot right over the top of Rondo from 24 feet, drains it. Orlando lead 61-52.
  • Excellent screen by Howard, Vince comes up shooting, drains it. Paul Pierce had a nice driving layup the play before.
  • Orlando leads 64-54 with three thirty left to play in the third
  • Nice block/deflection by Dwight Howard to force the turnover on Wallace’s short shot/pass on the right box. Next possession … Pierce in transition, crosses over Barnes easily (whenever, wherever, Barnes cannot guard him), drives to the rim, draws a foul. FTs.
  • Did Rasheed Wallace have Matt Barnes on him there? How can you not take Barnes into the post?
  • Orlando building some defensive stops here but their offense is stopping them from making a big run and putting this game away.
  • Pierce isolation against Barnes on the right wing, 17 feet out, drives left, to the paint, goes up, misses the layup. Easily beat Barnes again. Barnes cannot defend Pierce.
  • Rashard Lewis posts up Pierce (Pierce fumbled the ball out of bounds the play before) on the left post, backs him down, turns baseline, House help defense from the weakside, rips it away, steal. Nice defensive play by House … Pierce makes a couple of FTs after drawing another foul on Barnes. He has to keep attacking that matchup.

Fourth Quarter

  • Orlando leads 66-59
  • The Celtics are not getting much offense from Rondo, Ray or KG. Only 26 points between the three of them. Outside of Pierce, no other Celtics player has more than five points. Boston is shooting only 33% from the field (21-63), 1-11 from downtown, but is a positive 16-18 from the foul line.
  • Orlando has allowed the Celtics to hang in this game due to their turnovers (14 of them) which have resulted in 14 Celtics points (only five points off turnovers for Orlando). Orlando’s poor FT shooting (11-19) has also created an extra five points for the C’s. Slight 8-5 advantage in fastbreak points too. So those easy baskets have resulted in an extra 17 points for Boston. That’s what is keeping Boston alive.
  • Most of the missed free throws are down to Dwight Howard who is only 5-11 from the stripe. Dwight Howard has only 9 points but he’s been a force defensively and on the boards (13). Vince, Rashard and Pietrus have 14-16 points apiece.
  • Pietrus leaks out on the defensive rebound, long pass, breakaway layup, Marquis Daniels races back to foul Pietrus to prevent the wide open dunk. Great foul. Pietrus misses both FTs. Saved Boston two points.
  • Wallace has pulled down 9 boards in 23 minutes. Great job by Rasheed on a night where they’ve needed it – no Perk (only 14 mins) and some iffy rebounding from the wings (7 boards in 74 minutes from Pierce, Ray, Marquis).
  • Marquis Daniels steals the ball, another turnover, Ray Allen breakaway layup. Suddenly all the momentum is back with Boston. Timeout Orlando. Orlando lead 66-63 after two minutes.
  • Wow, tough contested, fadeaway J off the dribble after going baseline, pivoting, double, back baseline, hits it from 18 feet over Daniels.
  • Excellent post defense by Scalabrine on Ryan Anderson, kicks it out to the right wing, against the shot clock, Vince Carter goes right up, hits the triple.
  • Rasheed Wallace scores back to back baskets. If he gets going that will help the C’s tremendously. They need someone other than Pierce to get hot to have a chance of winning this one.
  • Nice ball movement resulting in a Scalabrine three, miss. Good shot. Next possession, Wallace steps into a three as he comes upcourt, misses. Tough shooting night for Boston. Ray Allen fastbreak … into the middle, drive and kick to House on the left wing, three, hits it!
  • Orlando leads 73-70 with seven minutes to play
  • Nice pump fake, dribble in, pass to Gortat by Ryan Anderson from the left wing to the paint to Gortat for the 8 foot baseline jumper which he hits.
  • Great job by Wallace to deflect the post entry pass to Howard, pokes it to House, off to Pierce, fastbreak, Pierce to the rim, layup … a play before, excellent defense by KG on Lewis, then on the pick and roll with Williams ball reversal to right wing, Vince and Howard, Sheed defends Vince brilliantly on the drive, forces a terrible shot, Pierce with the excellent box out to keep Howard off the glass as the ball bounces away from him too, Ray swoops in, rebound, fastbreak, Ray Allen to KG, layup … the play after, another turnover, Wallace steals it again, fastbreak, back to Wallace who trails, takes the three, misses. Boston gets it back. Timeout Orlando.
  • Orlando up one, 75-74 Magic.
  • Orlando have 21 turnovers tonight … jeez!
  • Vince Carter posts up Ray Allen down on the left post, ball inside, quick shot, fouled by Ray, hits the shot and makes the FT. Paul Pierce should be the one to defend Pierce down the stretch. Give Ray Allen Pietrus instead.
  • Ray Allen with a lovely drive and kick to set up Pierce for a great look from three on the right wing, Orlando close out hard though, miss, Boston gets it back after the loose ball foul. Four minutes to play.
  • Orlando have given up three consecutive offensive rebounds … Boston is going to score sooner or later if they keep getting shots. Orlando deflect the ball, slap it out of bounds, Pietrus can’t save it. Pick and roll with KG, Garnett finishes neatly inside … next possession, Pierce in transition, dives in down the right hand side of the baseline, scoop pass by Pierce to Sheed, six footer, hits it! Tie game!
  • Orlando calls a timeout. The score is 78-78 with three minutes left to play.
  • Excellent defense by Boston on the left wing. Great job by KG to pressure Lewis on the ball to make the pass difficult. Pierce then was playing very good denial defense on Carter, but Vince eventually gets it, faces up on the left wing, drives baseline, spins back, and drills the fallaway shot over Pierce.
  • Almost a 24 second violation for Boston who never got anything going. Heavily contested three pointer from Pierce at the buzzer.
  • Ray Allen back on Vince, good defense, up top to Lewis who drives on KG, down the right baseline, KG swats the shot out of bounds. Inbounds, Vince gets a shot off the Howard screen, misses.
  • Rondo has been sitting in favour of House for most (all?) of the fourth quarter so far … he drives hard to the rim, beats Williams easily, misses the layup. Wallace offensive rebound, out to KG, long jumper, misses.
  • Orlando hasn’t been able to rebound the ball effectively defensively with Dwight Howard being pulled away from the rim.
  • Lewis draws a ticky tack foul on Pierce and hits two FTs. He has 16 points and 10 rebounds. He has played well tonight.
  • Timeout Boston – Orlando lead 82-78 with 58.4 seconds left to play
  • House is back in for Rondo. Good choice? The C’s have benefited from his shooting here in the fourth and struggled with Rondo’s non-shooting. But you lose an awful lot of Rondo’s other qualities … Ray Allen ball-handling, turnover … if Rondo was in the game does that happen?
  • Orlando milk the clock, getting nothing going though, J-Will pick and roll, loses House, pump fake, House bites, open look from 18 feet, misses … Does J-Will get that good look with Rondo on him?
  • Paul Pierce drives to the rim, misses the 6 foot runner, rebound Orlando … foul, Williams splits a pair. Five point game with 10.5 seconds left to play.

That should be the game.

Thoughts

  • Very good win for Orlando.
  • Boston shot the ball poorly tonight. They’ll shoot the ball better in the future.
  • Rajon Rondo has to play better against the Orlando Magic. His poor offensive play (inability to shoot the ball, lack of penetration, struggles to make good decisions in the paint with Howard around) causes a lot of damage to the Celtics offense. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this from Rondo.
  • I think Orlando can get more out of their offensive talent if Vince Carter takes on a larger role as a playmaker. They’re lacking a little creativity at the moment … from the losses of Hedo Turkoglu (free agency) and Jameer Nelson (injury). Good opportunity here, with Nelson out, for Vince to establish himself as a passer and find a way to create without stepping on someone else’s toes.
  • Dwight Howard was excellent in the paint but Orlando looked sketchy on the boards when Wallace or KG pulled him away from the boards.
  • Boston does a fantastic job defending Dwight Howard and consequently hurting Orlando’s offense … but Orlando does just as good a job, better even, of defending Rajon Rondo and taking Boston out of their offense.
  • Rasheed Wallace had a very good game tonight, shooting aside. I liked his defense, especially down the stretch + against Howard. He had a big game on the boards. And his ability to stretch the floor and help take Howard away from the rim helped open up Boston’s offense + hurt Orlando on the backboards. Matching up with a Wallace/KG big man duo while retaining their defensive/rebounding strengths looks to be a problem for Orlando now and down the road.
  • Matt Barnes cannot defend anyone on Boston’s roster. Orlando’s lack of a second quality perimeter defender is glaring.
  • Fun Stats — Rasheed Wallace is only 5 for 38 from downtown over the past seven games. That is 13%. The team as a whole is only 26-112, good for 23%, from behind the arc. The Celtics are really struggling from downtown after a blistering start (these things do tend to even out over a season don’t they!).
  • Some other stats — Boston had an advantage in fastbreak points (17-5) + in turnovers (21-12) + in points off turnovers (21-8) + in free throws (16-15 in made free throws in 8 fewer attempts) + a slight edge in the boards (43-42) — The Celtics lost this game because their offense misfired. The Magic deserve a lot of credit for the defense but even at that point the Celtics were capable of more offensively.
  • I would like to see Doc Rivers use Marquis Daniels as a point guard in games like this where Rondo and House are struggling so much offensively. Daniels gives the team a completely different look at the point/on the perimeter with his size, athleticism and guard-skills. Poses a different question.
  • I would also like to see less of Sheldon Williams & Co … and more of Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins. You take away too many minutes and players struggle for a constant rhythm in a game. I think that’s happening to the Celtics both individually (the bigs) and collectively (team wide rhythm). Rajon Rondo should be playing more minutes too.
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