Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Orlando 96, Boston 89

The guess here is the best. Even if you didn't see the game, you're probably correct in your assumption. Boston looked old; it plays too old, though it's not old enough to go down without a fight.

At one point in the third quarter, the Orlando Magic — wearing these terrible pinstripes, with all their faults, with all these issues left to be sorted out between now and May — were made to look like world-beaters. And as they moved the ball and found the open man, or as they got to the/(side of the) rim, and as they harassed Boston out of its initial or secondary sets and into long jumpers, the thing that kept popping up into my head was our limited take on both sides of this pairing from last summer.

Boston looks old. Orlando looks stacked.

It's not that simple, of course, but how could you not consider the latter end of that take as Jameer Nelson(notes) showed flashes of 2008-09's All-Star turn, even if he missed a series of open shots and turned the ball over more times than he was credited with an assist? Or with Dwight Howard(notes) overcoming early foul trouble to contribute 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in only 32 minutes? How could you not see the glory when Orlando was hitting on half of its 22 three-point attempts on the road?

And, most importantly, why can't you get behind a team that has the potential, at least, to defend this well? Boston worked. It tried to work the ball and make Orlando pay for its aggressive footwork. And it didn't matter. Every angle was covered. Every shot had something distracting it. Those pinstripes were everywhere.

102 points per 100 possessions for the C's. They kept nailing shots late, keeping things within the realm of the possible, but Orlando was better. And this is a Magic team that needed seven (or six and a half, really) games to top the Celtics last year even when Boston was playing without Kevin Garnett(notes).

I'm not a trade guy. I don't warm to transactions. I don't really think a team — a championship-level team — is ever really a move away. But looking at these Celtics? Even with Glen Davis(notes) back and Marquis Daniels(notes) getting that nice hand coming off the bench for the first time in weeks, I still have to wonder if Boston isn't a perfect trade away. Even if that means parting with the classier-than-classy Ray Allen(notes). Even if that means taking a chance.

***

Toronto 115, Sacramento 104

You know, the Raptors probably would have still topped Sacramento had the Kings hit the free throws they were supposed to. But as an impartial observer, it would still be preferable to witness le Rois in question nailing the freebies. Anything to keep up with Chris Bosh(notes).

Bosh destroyed the Kings. 36 points on 14-18 shooting, five dimes, 11 rebounds, a block, and just two turnovers. Completely annihilated Sacto, in a way that left you wondering, "just 36 points?"

This was a fun, close game until the fourth quarter, when the Kings started missing the free throws (technical foul free throws, even), and the Raps outscored Sacramento by 14. The Kings still put up 110 points per 100 possessions, no small feat, but Toronto managed a white hot 122 points per 100. A home game on a Sunday afternoon. That's wheelhouse territory for the Dinos.

Do they still call them "the Dinos?" I think that may have gone out with Damon Stoudamire(notes).

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