Archive for May 14th, 2009

Magic beat Celtics 83-75 to force Game 7

magic beat celtics in game 7

Behind 23 points and 22 rebounds from center Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic beat the Celtics in Boston 83-75 to win Game 6 of their second round NBA playoffs matchups. The series-deciding Game 7 will be Sunday in Boston.

Orlando shot just 36.6% and only hit 6-of-23 (23.1%) three-pointers. They struggled at the free throw line as well, hitting just 17-of-31. But the Celtics struggled as well, shooting 41.6%, a disgustingly awful 3-of-18 (167%) from three-point range, and they only managed 13 free throw attempts, hitting just 8.

The Celtics also grabbed five more rebounds than the Magic, and dished five more assists.

But Boston turned the ball over 19 times, while the Magic only had 9 turnovers.

For the Magic, Howard also blocked 3 shots. Rashard Lewis (7-of-18) scored 20. Hedo Turkoglo struggled all game, shooting 3-of-13, but hit a big three-pointer in the closing minutes. Rafer Alston scored 11, only had 3 assists, but added 3 blocks and 2 steals. Mickael Pietrus added 11 points and 2 steals off the bench.

Howard did his usual and struggled from the free throw line, connecting on 5-of-12.

J.J. Redick, starting at shooting guard for the Magic, was 0-of-7.

For the Celtics, Rajon Rondo (8-of-19) carried the load in every way imaginable, with 19 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists (but 5 turnovers) and 4 steals. Paul Pierce (6-of-14) had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. And center Kendrick Perkins (7-of-11) stepped up on the offensive side of the floor with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, though he had 1 assist and 5 turnovers.

The problem for Boston was, no one else did anything. Ray Allen was an awful 2-of-11 and missed all 7 of his three-point attempts. He did grab 7 rebounds, but had 4 turnovers with 1 assist. Glen Davis was pretty invisible and had 6 points and little else in 25 minutes.  Brian Scalabrine came off the bench and received 33 minutes, contributing little more than 7 points and a few rebounds. Eddie House, who woudl have helped the team’s three-point shooting, received just 15 minutes and scored 6.

The game was fairly close from start to finish. It was a three-point Boston lead after one quarter, and a one-point Boston lead at halftime. Both teams scored just 16 points each in a quiet third-quarter. But while Orlando scored 22 in the fourth, Boston totally fell apart and managed just 13.

Darius Miles charged with pot possession

The AP reports: Memphis Grizzlies forward Darius Miles, who was suspended last season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program, was free on bond Thursday after being charged with possession of marijuana. The 27-year-old Miles was alone in his car Wednesday night in suburban Fairview Heights, Ill., when an officer pulled him over for allegedly failing to use a turn signal, police Sgt. Steve Evans said. During a search of the car, Evans said police found a small amount of marijuana in a plastic bag in the passenger compartment. Miles was ticketed for driving with a suspended license and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession because the amount of the drug was less than 2.5 grams, which would have been a felony. He was later freed on $100 bond.

Useful playoff stats and info

This will be the Lakers 46th Game 6. The Lakers are 26-19 in Game 6 (any round) all-time. In series that go at least six games, the Lakers are 33-12 all-time (28-12 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis). When winning Game 6, the Lakers are 23-3 all-time (20-3 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis). When losing Game 6, the Lakers are 10-9 all-time (8-9 Los Angeles, 2-0 Minneapolis). When leading a series 3-2, the Lakers are 30-4 (any round) all-time (25-4 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis).

So far, there have been 14 playoff games decided by three or fewer points. All time, the most games decided by three points or less in an entire postseason were 19 in 2006.

Boston’s Glen Davis is averaging 16.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 37.8 minutes during the playoffs after averaging 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 21.5 minutes during the regular season’

The Nuggets have advanced to the Western Conference finals for the third time in franchise history and the first time since 1985.

Chauncey Billups is going to the conference finals for the seventh consecutive postseason. Only four other players since 1970 have advanced to seven or more consecutive conference finals (Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kurt Rambis — all Lakers). He is 17-4 all-time in close-out games in his career.

Dirk Nowitzki finished the series with Denver averaging 34.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and shot 53.4 percent from the floor. He is the fifth player since the merger (1976-77) to average 30-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and shoot 50-plus percent and lose a best-of-7 series.

In Houston’s two playoff series, the team that has led after the first quarter has now won all 11 games.

Cleveland is 8-0 this postseason, winning every game by at least 10 in sweeping both the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The only other team to sweep the first two rounds of the playoffs since the NBA went to an opening best-of-seven format in 2003 is the 2005 Miami Heat. The Cavs have also won each of their eight games by 10 or more points, setting the NBA postseason record for consecutive playoff wins by double digits, surpassing the 2004 Indiana Pacers streak of six games. The Cavaliers have outrebounded their playoff opponents in every game, have never trailed at halftime and have not surrendered 100 points yet in the postseason.

–NBA News

History favors Lakers, Celtics tonight

With history’s good angel perched comfortably on their shoulders, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have to feel pretty good about their chances of advancing to the conference finals as they enjoy 3-2 series leads.

The Celtics can close out their series tonight in Orlando against the Magic (7 p.m. ET, ESPN), while the Lakers look to advance in the second game as they visit the Houston Rockets (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

All time in best-of-sevens, the team with a 3-2 series lead is 122-102 (.545) in Game 6. Overall, the team with a 3-2 lead is 192-32 (.857) in those series.

The last team to advance after trailing a series 3-2 was the San Antonio Spurs in last year’s Playoffs. The Spurs were down to the New Orleans Hornets 3-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals before winning Game 6 at home and clinching on the road.

The Celtics are a perfect 32-0 in series in which they’ve led 3-2. Since the assemblage of the Big Three in Boston, the Celtics have posted a 2-3 record in Game 6s, going 2-2 in last season’s run to banner No. 17. Both Game 6 setbacks, however, came on the road: at Atlanta, 103-100, in the first round; and at Cleveland, 74-69, in the conference semis.

The Lakers, for their part, have had recent success in these types of situations, winning their last four “close-out” games in the playoffs, and 15 times in their last 17 opportunities dating back to 2001. Overall, under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are now 20-10 in close-out games. The Lakers have won 25 of their last 26 series when holding the opportunity to close out at any point. Their last series loss when having a close-out game came in 2006 when the Lakers squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, the Lakers had not lost a series when having a close-out game since the 1993 First Round vs. Phoenix in which they led 2-0 before losing the next three.

–NBA News

The AP reports: The state Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would authorize Delaware to become the only state east of the Mississippi River to offer sports betting, sending it to Gov. Jack Markell for his promised signature. The Senate passed the bill 17-2 without a committee hearing, suspending its rules before voting. The decision came on the first day back in session after hours of closed-door negotiations. “I’m pleased they acted so quickly,” said Markell, who fought to resurrect the bill after an initial House defeat last Tuesday. Markell and other administration officials negotiated for hours last Thursday with House Republican leaders who had led early opposition to the measure and were finally able to reach a compromise. Because of a brief unsuccessful experiment with a sports lottery in the 1970s, Delaware is one of only four states, along with Nevada, Montana and Oregon, exempted from a 1992 federal law banning sports gambling. As the only state east of the Mississippi River that can offer sports betting, Delaware has a distinct edge against slot machine competition in neighboring states.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Mary Schmitt Boyer) reports: Former Cleveland center Brad Daugherty thinks his Cavs teams would beat the current edition. Writing on ESPN’s Media Zone Water Cooler, Daugherty, now an ESPN NASCAR analyst, said, “It’d be very difficult matching up and defending LeBron, much like the problems we had to guard Michael Jordan. LeBron continues to groom his outside shot, being able to make 15- to 18-footers, and that’s what’s making the difference in him being the player he is today as opposed to the player he was three years ago. “If we played them, and he started making 18-foot shots consistently, he’d be a problem. But I think we could have altered some of his shots, and we could have thrown a couple of really top-notch defenders at him. Larry Nance could guard out on the perimeter, he could guard a 3 or a 4, and Hot Rod Williams was an excellent defender. When you got past them to go to the basket, the game was still on because they could come from behind you and block your shot.”

Sacramento Kings lay off dozen staffers

The Sacramento Bee (Melody Gutierrez ) reports:  Jim Kozimor, with his energetic personality and warm smile, was one of the Kings’ most recognizable faces. Now he’s a personification of the Maloof family’s financial troubles. The TV and radio broadcaster was one of about a dozen Maloof Sports and Entertainment staffers laid off Tuesday as the Kings grapple with the weak economy and a disappointing NBA season that led to poor attendance at Arco Arena. Adding to the Maloof money woes, the family is heavily invested in areas now taking hits from the recession. Las Vegas, where the Maloofs own the Palms Casino Resort, has been hurt by declines in gambling and tourism revenues.

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