Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here…
highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as
satisfying as a good morning dump.
“No, I don’t think it had anything to do with [the layoff],” Orlando coach Stan
Van Gundy said. “I think it had more to do with their defense. I’m not
going to take that as an excuse. Their defense was really good.”
Perkins on defending Howard: "I just thought we played team defense the
whole game," said Perkins. "Guys were helping each other. We made it
tough on [Howard]. It is going to be a physical series. We are going to
play physical and we know [Howard] is a physical guy, but we tried to
play him hard and make it tough for him."
What do people think Orlando did during their layoff? They didn't sit around. They practiced. They shot the ball. They probably shot it a lot.
But that's not going to stop people from saying the team was rusty.
What they're not seeing is WHY Orlando shot so poorly. It starts inside where Perk, Sheed and Baby all teamed up to frustrate Dwight Howard. But they did it all by playing him straight up. You didn't see the typical Orlando ball movement, where the ball goes inside-out… and then around the perimeter until they find a hole in the rotations for an open 3 because the interior defense allowed the perimeter guys to contest everything.
The Celtics, if I'm not mistaken, doubled Dwight Howard exactly ONE time. It was a terrible decision by Rajon Rondo that allowed Dwight to kick it to a wide open Jason Williams who drilled a 3. THAT play highlights the difference between the ability to play Dwight straight up vs. guys coming in to double.
Orlando also shot themselves in the foot by shooting the 3 less than 10 seconds into the shot clock, which didn't allow for anyone to get set underneath, which allowed the Celtics to go LONG stretches keeping Orlando to a 1-and-done. That happens when you're frustrating guys and not letting them get the shots they're comfortable with.
You know what they say about defense. It wins you….. something or other.
On Page 2: Ray Allen got intimate with the rim
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
The NBA’s second most prolific 3-point shooter of all time, Allen took
what the defense gave him in the first quarter, pacing all scorers with 8
points without attempting a three. His two field goals and four free
throws in the quarter came on a variety of drives and pull-up jumpers,
and for most of Game 1 Allen torched the Magic on something other than
his bread-and-butter outside shooting.
“It was just the plays that I had,’’ said Allen. “I knew that they were
trying to force me away from my shot. Just watching the film all week,
they were playing me so high over the top that when I go to the basket I
have to keep my head up and look for the ball. I got my shot blocked
two or three times. But for the most part, when the shot is not there I
need to drive it.’’
Ray Allen was the oldest guy on the floor and he got to the rim any time he wanted. ANY TIME HE WANTED. It was embarrassing for the Magic.
And it just goes to show one thing: When they're playing their best, the C's have too many weapons. Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett were kept in check, so Ray and Paul went off. And Ray is so smart that he's not going to force his game. They're trying to take away your shot? Then you drive to the hole.
And I don't know if Orlando was just confused or slow… but they never stepped up to stop him.
They'll adjust. And so will Ray. And maybe Rajon will find some holes. Or maybe Paul will take on more of the scoring burden. Or maybe Garnett will find some spots.
If the C's are playing their best… they're all legit options.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Winning ticket cashed in | Ray Allen a man of resolve | Truth back on attack | Lifting curtain on Magic act | Tag team wrestling | Globe: Grand Opening | Early D bought time | Howard out of comfort zone | Sheed arrives to play | Pierce makes his shots count | ESPN Boston: Video: Breaking down C's win | First impressions | CSNNE: Celtics Notes: Need for Sheed met | C's make Orlando's home court edge disappear | WEEI: Ray on respect: who cares? | Fast break | 5 reasons why Celtics won