March 25, 2009
In today's chat, Jeff Clark actually referred to the Celtics as "watching KG's pitch count," and he's right. There's a good chance a significant part of this game, a game that could swing either way, could happen with Boston's best player is on the bench.
But that's OK. Partially because Boston needs to watch Kevin Garnett's minutes. We all want to see him at full strength in June. Mostly, though, because we'll still get to see all sorts of compelling matchups while potentially learning quite a bit about these two teams. Two teams that seemed destined to meet in an Eastern conference semifinal matchup that would have all the feel of a Conference final.
Equally important (to someone like me) is the value of the game in the standings. Boston leads the season series 2-1, and a win by the Magic would leave Orlando tied with Boston in the Eastern bracket, with the season series tied, and all sorts of in-division records left in Orlando's favor to decide who gets home court advantage from then on.
I think all the prattling on about Boston needing home court advantage because of what happened last spring is infuriatingly overrated (two mugs who couldn't tell you what position Marcin Gortat plays are talking about it right now on ESPN, right in front of me), but that doesn't mean this isn't something worth chasing.
It matters. It's just that, when May rolls around, I don't know how much of an impact it's going to have. If Orlando took two of three in Boston, I wouldn't blink. Same for the C's taking a pair in Florida.
Boston Celtics: 54-18, 90.6 possessions per game (19th), 110.5 points scored per 100 possessions (5th), 101.6 points allowed per 100 possessions (1st).
Orlando Magic: 52-18, 92.7 possessions (10th), 110 points scored per 100 possessions (7th), 102.1 points allowed per 100 possessions (2nd).