Somehow the Orlando Magic went from not being able to lose in the playoffs to not being able to win in the playoffs, as they dropped to 0-2 against the Boston Celtics. KD explained how come, the Internet explains why not...
Matt Moore, ProBasketballTalk: "Imagine that you had just come to this planet from another world before the playoffs began. You have come on a mission to observe human culture, specifically, sporting events, specifically, professional basketball. You have no frame of reference for the past 10 years, you don't know about championship rings, 81 point games, 49 point triple doubles, MVPs, or a history of game winning shots (God knows there are none in these playoffs to teach you). You have an understanding of the game through what you've learned in research.
Who is the best player in the NBA under those circumstances?
I'm not saying anyone other than Kobe Bryant(notes) is the best player still playing in the playoffs (Kobe is). I'm not saying that Rondo is better than LeBron James(notes) (he's not). I'm not saying that when you need a score, the one guy you want with the ball is Rajon Rondo (I will say that person is NOT Vince Carter(notes)).
But when you consider every facet of the game, no one has played better since April 15th than Rajon Rondo. We've seen it all, and in Game 2, even in a numbers-modest game (25 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers in 45 minutes), he showcased every element."
Ben Q. Rock, Orlando Pinstriped Post: "As for Carter and Redick? Barring a miraculous comeback to win this series, their gaffes will go down as one of the most glaring in Magic history. Carter's reputation for not delivering in the clutch worsened tonight, and I expect several national, mainstream media columnists to paste him in the papers and on the internet tomorrow for failing to come through. They will mention his decision to attend his college graduation the morning of a Game 7, which he concluded by missing what would have been the game-winning shot. They'll compare him to Kobe Bryant and talk about unfulfilled potential. They'll invoke the term "legacy." None of that matters now, though. Carter and the Magic can't worry about any of that. Just gear up and play hard. Winning at least one game in Boston would ensure that they'd return to play another game at Amway Arena.
Crazy as it seems, tonight might have been the last pro basketball game in the history of that building, which has hosted the Magic since their inception in 1989."
Eric Freeman, The Baseline: "Much like in Game 1, the Celtics didn't get terrific contributions from everyone in the lineup -- Kevin Garnett(notes) (nine rebounds) and Ray Allen(notes) combined for only 14 points on 6-of-22 from the field. But they got enough to get by once again, with Rajon Rondo (25 points on 10-of-16 FG, eight assists, five rebounds) and Paul Pierce(notes) (28 points on 8-of-16 FG, five rebounds, five assists) both having outstanding games.
Rondo's excellence has been sustained throughout the playoffs, and it seems that as long as one more Celtic scores more than 20 they have an excellent chance of winning the game. With its outstanding defensive performances, Boston doesn't need an offensive explosion to win games, even on the road."
Jeff Clark, Celticsblog: "I write about this team every day. I've said all along that this team was "capable" of making a run in the postseason. And still I'm shocked. Pleasantly shocked. Maybe writing about them every day is the reason why I'm shocked because, like most of you, I had to slog through the bulk of the regular season watching an injured, old, disinterested bunch sleepwalk through the games that "don't matter."
Except they did matter to me. I've never given up hope but my patience was tested time and time again. I wanted to see my team give everything they've got almost every night. I thought, "you can't just turn it on in the playoffs." I was wrong. I love being wrong like that.
What I didn't count on (or discounted as too much of a gamble) was this team's mental toughness. They told us all along that they would win when the games mattered because they knew how to win. They had been there before, they had fought the battles, and they had come out victorious.
Still, because of that regular season, there were much louder doubters than I. People were talking about this team being "done." They were dancing on the grave of a team that wasn't ready to kick the bucket yet. "They" said that the Celtics would be lucky to get out of the first round. "They" said that the Cavs would make short work of them. "They" said that Magic would keep on rolling like they had in the first 2 rounds. "They" were also wrong."
Matt McHale, Basketbawful: "[When] they replaced Turkoglu -- who was indeed overpaid by the Raptors but had proven himself as the Magic's go-to guy -- with Half Man, Half A Nutsack, I wrote Orlando off as a true championship threat. With Hedo gone, who was going to take over clutch duties for the Magic? Pumaman, who has 1.5 post moves and can't hit free throws? Rashard Lewis(notes), who's never liked doing the dirty work and can't really create his own shot? Nope, Vinsanity was the Magic's new Captain Crunch. He was the only one who had the capability to do it.
And last night, that fact bit the Magic in their magical ass.
I'll give him this much: Carter hit two or three really tough shots, which naturally led Mark Jackson to exclaim, "And that's why the Magic got Vince Carter...to hit big shots!" And just as naturally, Jeff Van Gundy pointed out that those "tough shots" were actually "bad shots"...and that knocking them down is a sort of fool's gold.
As usual, Van Gundy was right."
Tim Povtak, FanHouse: "The Celtics are making a mockery of the regular season and its relevance.
The No. 4 seeded Celtics won their fourth consecutive road game Tuesday night against those higher seeded teams, whipping the Magic, 95-92, to take a very secure 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
In the long and illustrious Boston basketball history, the Celtics have led 2-0 in a best-of-seven series 36 times and never once lost a series.
"It doesn't matter what building we go in,'' said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "That's really nothing that fazes us, going on the road. It's the way we play.''
The Celtics could be well on their way to becoming the first team since the "heart of a champion" Houston Rockets in 1995 to win a title by going through a pair of No. 1 seeds and a No. 2."
Brian Robb, Celtics Hub: "So let me get this straight. The Celtics get 4 points out of Ray Allen, 5 of 16 shooting from The Big Ticket, and give up 30 points to Dwight Howard(notes) and the C's still win this one? On the road?
Well you don't get style points for playoff wins in the NBA, but in this case it doesn't matter. Boston is simply taking care of business right now, giving themselves their fourth straight postseason road victory and a commanding 2-0 lead over the Orlando Magic, as they head back to Beantown."
Eddy Rivera, Magic Basketball: "'Don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion.'
Former head coach Rudy Tomjanovich said those memorable words after the Houston Rockets swept the Orlando Magic in the 1995 NBA Finals, and that statement could - in theory - best describe the Boston Celtics as they defeated the Magic by the score of 95-92 in Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals to take a commanding 2-0 series lead heading back to Boston, and it probably does. Can't help but harken back to 1996, either, when the Chicago Bulls road-blocked what many considered, until now, the best Orlando team in franchise history from making a return trip to the Finals. The circumstances were similar. Certainly there's no comparison, in the sense that the 72-win Bulls are widely regarded as the best team in NBA history, but there are some eery similarities (subtle differences, too) in what is taking place right now in the postseason this year. After losing to the Magic a year before in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bulls exacted revenge in the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals with a sweep. In that regard, the Celtics are on their way to doing the same thing.
It's a shame that the game ended the way it did for Orlando because this was a classic battle between two heavyweight contenders. Punches were traded back-and-forth for 48 minutes, but Boston was able to prevail."
- Rajon Rondo