Boston Celtics: Round3Game5

NBA rescinds Perkins' technical

May, 27, 2010
AP Photo/Reinhold MatayKendrick Perkins earned a reprieve from a one-game suspension when the league rescinded a technical foul Thursday.
The NBA on Thursday rescinded one of the two technical fouls assessed to Celtics center Kendrick Perkins in Boston's loss to Orlando in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, meaning Perkins will be available to play in Friday's Game 6.

The NBA took back the second of the two technicals, which occurred with 36.1 seconds remaining in the first half and resulted in Perkins' automatic ejection. Referee Eddie F. Rush tagged Perkins with the technical for arguing a foul call.

That call had also given Perkins seven technical fouls in the playoffs, which by league rules resulted in an automatic one-game suspension. The rescinding of the technical left Perkins at six, which makes him eligible for Game 6 but nevertheless leaves him on the threshold of a suspension.

Perkins picked up his first technical Wednesday for what appeared to be an inadvertent elbow to the body of Marcin Gortat in the first half. Both players were assessed with technicals.

The ruling by the NBA has to come as a relief to the Celtics, who face the possibility of playing Game 6 without forward Glen Davis, who suffered a concussion Wednesday.

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Dazed, not done

May, 27, 2010
AP Photo/John RaouxGlen Davis needs help from Joey Crawford to stay upright after enduring a concussion in Game 5.
ORLANDO -- Defiant as team trainers tried to help him off the court following a Dwight Howard elbow that left him concussed in the third quarter of Wednesday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Celtics forward Glen Davis remained contumacious as the media invaded Boston's locker room after Orlando's 113-92 triumph.

"I'm all right," Davis said emphatically as he stormed past cameras en route for the exit. "I'll be back next game. [Expletive]. That's all you need to print."

While the rest of the room was decidedly less surly about the matter, Davis unintentionally summed up the mood of a Boston team punched in the jaw and left scrambling to pick up its teeth (quite literally, as Howard's elbow dislodged at least one of Davis' chompers that the Amway Arena staff collected as he was being attended to).

The Celtics say they'll be all right. They'll be back next game. That's all you need to know.

On a night in which two Celtics emerged with concussions, two others tweaked injuries and another earned what could be a game-and-a-half suspension, Boston lost its stranglehold on this best-of-seven series, which shifts back to the Hub with the Celtics clinging to a now tenuous 3-2 advantage.

Yet the players oozed a quiet confidence in the face of mounting adversity.

"It is what it is," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce, whose own right shoulder stinger flared after Howard crashed down on him in the third quarter. "We're not a team that's going to look around and say, 'Woe is me.' We've got a job to take care of. Our goal is to win one more game and end this series, regardless of who we put out there. One guy goes down, or two guys go down, it's got to come from everybody. We've just got to be ready to step up."

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Postgame notes: The infirmary report

May, 27, 2010
ORLANDO -- A collection of postgame news and notes after the Boston Celtics fell to the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night at Amway Arena:

The rundown (a quick look at postgame headlines)
* Breaking down Boston's injury report after Game 5
* Hall call? Pierce joins postseason 2,000-point club
* Loose balls: Record-setting offense; No contest for C's

Breaking down Boston's injury report after Game 5

When asked about the daunting road a fourth seed faces in the NBA playoffs, Celtics coach Doc Rivers often noted that he'd gladly travel that path in exchange for a healthy roster. In essence, that's the decision Boston made in the final months of the regular season, sacrificing some winnable games in order to rest its players at times.

For the first 14 games of this postseason, that plan worked to perfection and Boston stood one win away from the NBA Finals after winning the first three games of the conference finals against Orlando. Now, after the Magic rallied their way back into this series, health is suddenly a concern for Boston.

Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels both suffered concussions during Wednesday's Game 5 loss, while Rasheed Wallace developed back spasms and Paul Pierce aggravated a nagging right shoulder stinger.

While the team offered no official update in regards to the players' status for Friday's Game 6 in Boston, here's a quick rundown on what happened and how it should affect the player moving forward:

* Glen Davis
    What happened?: Davis absorbed an elbow to the face from Dwight Howard that not only left him momentarily knocked out on the hardwood, but the blow appeared to knock out at least one of Davis' teeth as well. Big Baby eventually stumbled to his feet and staggered across the court, needing to be held up by referee Joey Crawford before play was stopped to attend to him.

    Doctor's diagnosis: Concussion.

    Davis' thoughts: "I’m alright. I’ll be back next game. [Expletive]. That’s all you need to print."

    Rivers' thoughts: "Baby, I know, is a concussion. I don't know how bad. I know he blacked out on the floor. I was just trying to get him to get back down on offense at the time."

    Projection: Davis is likely going to have to pass a battery of tests before they'll allow him back on the floor. It'd be a surprise, if he was available Friday, but we'll find out more from Rivers Thursday afternoon.

* Marquis Daniels
    What happened?: Daniels appeared to lean in towards the basket during fourth-quarter action and a pair of defenders quickly collapsed, one landing a blow towards the top of the forehead, forcing Daniels to stagger backwards (he was called for traveling) and leave the game while looking a bit disoriented.

    Doctor's diagnosis: Concussion.

    Daniels' thoughts: Davis got undressed under the watchful eye of the training staff and locker neighbor Nate Robinson told reporters, "He ain't talking."

    Rivers' thoughts: "Marquis, same thing [as Davis], he blacked out as well when he got hit. Lot of elbows."

    Projection: Daniels has only been used in emergency situations off the bench and would likewise need a full evaluation to determine how quick he can return. Daniels seemed a bit shaken in the locker room, but was able to chat with Robinson about not remembering the actual play that caused him to black out momentarily.

* Rasheed Wallace
    What happened?: Wallace complained of back pain after tweaking it during game action.

    Doctor's diagnosis: Back spasms.

    Wallace's thoughts: "I ain't saying [expletive]."

    Rivers' thoughts: "Rasheed tweaked his back on that one play."

    Projection: With Kendrick Perkins potentially sidelined for Game 6 unless the league rescinds one (or both) of his technical fouls from Wednesday, it's likely going to take more than spasms to sideline Wallace, who will be even more important in defending Howard.

* Paul Pierce
    What happened?: Pierce got hammered by Howard after getting the Magic defender off his feet in a crowd around the basket.

    Doctor's diagnosis: Shoulder stinger (at least according to Pierce)

    Pierce's thoughts: "It's the same stinger; same stuff that’s been happening all year long."

    Projection: Pierce collapsed in a heap, but that's not unusual, and returned to the Boston sideline during a TV timeout, but was back on the floor when play resumed. While the shoulder seems a recurring problem, it's unlikely to prevent him from playing. Though Pierce certainly did struggle after the first quarter Wednesday (see below).

Hall call? Pierce joins postseason 2,000-point club

* With a free throw with 3:19 to play in the first half, Paul Pierce became only the ninth player in Celtics’ history to score 2,000 career postseason points.

Pierce joined some elite company as the eight previous players to reach that plateau are all in the Hall of Fame in Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Sam Jones, Robert Parish, Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, and Bob Cousy.

As he did in Game 4, Pierce seemed to run out of gas after a quick start to Game 5. He scored 10 points in 8 1/2 minutes, then scored just eight more the rest of the way. In fact, Pierce didn't make a single field goal over the final 39 1/2 minutes of the game, settling for eight free throws.

After all the hype about Matt Barnes guarding Pierce in this series, it was the Magic's other defenders that did the best job on Boston's captain. Pierce finished 3-for-5 overall against Barnes, including a pair of 3-pointers, for 12 points. Against others, he was 0-for-3 for six points, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Loose balls: Record-setting offense; No contest for C's

* With Wallace leading the team in scoring Wednesday, the Celtics established a new postseason record by not having the same player lead the team in scoring on back-to-back games this postseason, a remarkable string of 16 games.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Seattle SuperSonics held the previous record at 15 games set in 1978, while the Detroit Pistons went 13 games in 1989.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy provided the quote of the night when talking about Wallace.

"I'll tell you what, Rasheed Wallace -- I want to say this in the right way  I hate the guy," said Van Gundy. "I mean, he never, ever  the same thing when I was in Miami  it's like the guy never, ever, ever has a bad game against the team I coach. So incredible. He's playing extremely well."

* No contest: The Celtics simply shoot better without a hand in their face.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the trio of Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Pierce were a combined 8 for 28 from the field on contested field goal attempts (0-for-4 3-point FG) and 5-for-6 on uncontested attempts, including 3-for-3 from 3-point territory.
Fernando Medina/Getty ImagesRay Allen and the Celtics emerged battered and bruised.
ORLANDO -- Instant reaction after the Orlando Magic posted a 113-92 triumph over the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night at Amway Arena:

How the game was won: Jameer Nelson scored a game-high 24 points on 6-of-10 shooting, going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc to pace a Magic team that couldn't miss from downtown. Dwight Howard added 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from both the field and free throw line. Rasheed Wallace scored a team-high 21 points, while Rajon Rondo added 19 points and dished out six assists for a shorthanded Celtics squad decimated by injuries and a first-half ejection to Kendrick Perkins.

Infirmary report: Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels both departed with concussions, leaving the Celtics further shorthanded after the early ejection of Perkins, who got tagged with a pair of technical fouls.

Stat of the game: The Magic connected on 13-of-25 trifectas, a blistering 52 percent.

Unsung hero: J.J. Redick continues to be huge off the bench for Orlando, registering 14 points and a staggering plus-18 in the plus/minus category.

What it means: It seems the night could not have gone worse for the Celtics, which stumbles back to Boston nursing a now-tenuous 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series that once seemed like a certain sweep. The Celtics must wait for the league to review the two technicals assessed to Perkins, who is in line to be suspended for Game 6 if he stays at the postseason limit of seven technicals. Meanwhile, health is suddenly an issue with the concussions to Davis and Daniels.

Davis, Daniels out with concussions

May, 26, 2010
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesGlen Davis and Marquis Daniels both departed Wednesday's Game 5 with concussions.
ORLANDO -- Celtics reserves Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels both suffered concussions during Wednesday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena.

Davis endured an inadvertent elbow to the face from Orlando's Dwight Howard after Nate Robinson blocked Howard's layup attempt from behind late in the third quarter.

After lying on the floor for a moment, Davis sat up dazed and stumbled as he tried to get to his feet. On his second attempt to get up and run down the court, he once again wobbled, this time falling into the arms of referee Joey Crawford near midcourt.

Davis was attended to by trainers before being helped off the court. He was further examined in the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion by team physician, Dr. Brian McKeon.

While Davis was being attended to, arena staff appeared to be picking up a piece of his tooth from beneath the basket.

Davis finished with four points and one rebound over 19 minutes.

Daniels got hit in the face while attempting to pass the ball early in the fourth quarter (he was instead called for traveling) and was also diagnosed with a concussion. The oft-unused Daniels logged three minutes due to injuries and foul trouble.

The Celtics were already playing shorthanded due to the second-quarter ejection of Kendrick Perkins.

Perkins ejected after 2 technicals

May, 26, 2010
Fernando Medina/Getty ImagesKendrick Perkins earned an ejection in the first half, but it might have longer-range implications for Boston.
ORLANDO -- Celtics center Kendrick Perkins earned his second technical foul with 36.1 seconds to play in the first half of Wednesday's Game 5, earning an automatic disqualification from the game.

Perkins registered a double technical with Marcin Gortat with 2:15 to play in the half after landing an elbow on the Magic's reserve big man. Less than 100 seconds later he was ejected after arguing a foul call, even as he attempted to walk away from the officials.

Perkins finished with two points and four rebounds over 16 minutes.

But his penalty might be more severe than just the second half of Wednesday's game. After entering the game with five postseason technical fouls, Perkins is at the limit of seven. If both Game 5 technicals stand upon league review, he will be suspended for one additional playoff game.

The NBA confirmed that none of Perkins' previous five technicals this postseason had been rescinded, but also noted that both of Wednesday's calls will be reviewed by the league office. Even if Perkins gets one removed, it might save him for Game 6, but he'd still be in the danger zone should Boston's postseason run continue.

Ironically, Celtics coach Doc Rivers emphasized before the game the danger Perkins was nearing, having been tagged with repeated double technicals this postseason.

Perkins, who didn't earn his first technical until Game 5 of a first-round triumph over the Miami Heat, has now been tagged as part of five double technicals, the majority coming in the conference semifinals when it often got heated between him and Shaquille O'Neal.

"I have talked to him," Rivers said before Wednesday's game. "The double technical is what's getting most guys in trouble. The flagrants, I can understand, if you had a ton of glaring flagrants, at some point, you should get suspended. Or if you have a ton of techs for arguing with the refs, just plain back-and-forth with the refs. But the double-technical thing has to be resolved. That's where two players, getting physical, and officials are just trying to clean the game up. The easier way is the double-technical, it calms the game down.

"If you look at Kendrick, four of them are [double-technicals]. Those are the ones we have to figure out a better way. I'm a typical guy -- I don't have a solution, but I can point out the problem."

Pregame notes: Getting technical

May, 26, 2010
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesTechnical fouls are giving Kendrick Perkins even more reason to scowl.
ORLANDO -- A collection of pregame news and notes before the Boston Celtics visit the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday evening at Amway Arena:

The rundown (a quick look at pregame headlines)
* Rivers talks to Perkins about escalating technical count
* Celtics need balance after leaning on Big Three in Game 4
* Loose balls: Riding with J.J.; enough gas in the tank for C's?

Rivers talks to Perkins about escalating technical count

Asked about a flagrant foul upgrade assessed Wednesday to Dwight Howard, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was more concerned with the technical count of his own players, including Kendrick Perkins, who is inching closer to the suspension limit of seven thanks in large part to numerous double-technicals.

"I have talked to him," admitted Rivers. "The double-technical is what's getting most guys in trouble. The flagrants, I can understand, if you had a ton of glaring flagrants, at some point, you should get suspended. Or if you have a ton of techs for arguing with the refs, just plain back-and-forth with the refs. But the double-technical thing has to be resolved. That's where two players, getting physical, and officials are just trying to clean the game up. The easier way is the double-technical, it calms the game down.

"If you look at Kendrick, four of them are [double-technicals]. Those are the ones we have to figure out a better way. I'm a typical guy -- I don't have a solution, but I can point out the problem."

Perkins tops the Celtics with five technical fouls this postseason, while Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace have four apiece. Rajon Rondo is the only other player with multiple technicals this postseason, but the Celtics have 18 total technicals.

Perkins accrued most of his infractions as part of double-technicals while matched up against Shaquille O'Neal in the conference semifinals and got another double-technical with Howard in Game 3 of the conference finals.

In the postseason, the first two technical fouls are a $1,000 fine. Nos. 3-4 are $1,500 and Nos. 5-6 are $2,000. The seventh foul earns a $2,500 fine plus a one-game suspension. From there, every technical costs $2,500 and every other odd number is a one-game penalty.

Celtics need balance after leaning on Big Three in Game 4

Paul Pierce (32 points), Ray Allen (22), and Kevin Garnett (14) combined for 68 points in Game 4, which is their fifth highest combined total in 40 playoff games together since the 2008 postseason, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Celtics clearly need more from their supporting cast in order to close out this series. The Big Three also combined to shoot 46.9 percent (23-of-49) while making 17 free throws and grabbing 28 rebounds. The rest of the team combined for 24 points on 33.3 percent shooting (9-of-27) while making a mere six free throws and grabbing 19 rebounds.

What's more, Allen also shouldered the load beyond the arc, connecting on 5-of-7 3-pointers. The rest of the Boston roster was 0-for-11.

Rajon Rondo, battling muscle spasms and foul trouble, wasn't himself in Game 4, and Boston's offense as a whole seemed stagnant at times as opposed to the typical rapid-fire ball movement much of the postseason.

At the team's morning shootaround, players stressed the need for better ball movement.

"We've got to trust each other," said Rondo. "The last game, the ball stuck a little bit. It has to move throughout. We have to play together."

Loose balls: Riding with J.J.; enough gas in the tank for C's?

A handful of leftovers from Game 3...

Denying the big 3’s: How important is it for Boston to limit Orlando’s 3-point shooting? The statistics from the last three postseasons suggest the Magic are a decidedly different team when they hit nine or more 3-pointers in a game. When it tops nine, Orlando is 21-4; the Magic are just 6-15 when hitting fewer than nine. The Magic connected on 10 trifectas in Game 4.

Enough gas in the tank?: Pierce poured in a team-high 32 points, but missed his final five field goal attempts of Game 4 -- and that's not even counting the possession he fumbled away with a chance to win the game at the end of regulation. It might not have mattered, anyway. Pierce missed all six jump shots he took in the fourth quarter and overtime, with four hitting the front of the rim or falling short.

Riding with J.J.: J.J. Redick finished a Game 4-best plus-14 in the plus/minus category and is far and away the highest of any Magic player this series at a cumulative plus-20 (no other player has a positive rating).

What’s more, Orlando is outscoring Boston by 8.6 points per 48 minutes when Redick is on the floor (plus-20 over 112 total minutes). When he’s not on the court, the Magic are being outscored by a whopping 26 points per 48 minutes (minus-46 over 85 total minutes).

Howard foul upgraded to flagrant

May, 26, 2010
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesKevin Garnett and Dwight Howard exchange words during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
ORLANDO -- The NBA upgraded an offensive foul call against Dwight Howard in the third quarter of Game 4 to a flagrant Wednesday.

Howard got whistled when he collected a defensive rebound with 6:24 to play in the frame, but made contact with the back of Garnett's head as he swung his arms to protect the ball, the blow knocking Garnett one one knee.

"I saw the play, it's [the NBA's] decision," said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said before Wednesday's Game 5.

Asked about the play, Van Gundy said twice: "He rebounded and pivoted."

Howard now has two flagrant fouls this postseason, the other a hard defensive foul to the head of Paul Pierce as Boston's captain attempted to convert a layup in Game 2. Both were ruled flagrant 1 fouls, leaving Howard with two points against him this postseason. A suspension occurs at four points.

"I thought it was a flagrant," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "The bottom line is, if you throw an elbow above the head, it's going to be called a flagrant. I didn't think that was surprising or harsh."

Game 5: 10 Celtics-Magic nuggets

May, 26, 2010
ORLANDO -- Here are 10 facts and figures to keep in mind for Wednesday's Celtics-Magic clash (ESPN, 8:30 p.m) in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals at Amway Arena (information researched for ESPN by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.):

1. Dwight Howard had 32 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocked shots to help the Magic stave off elimination in Boston in Game Four. Howard became the first player to register 30+ points, 15+ rebounds and at least four blocked shots on the road in a "win or go home" game (blocked shots became an official statistic in 1973-74).

2. Rajon Rondo has a 38.7 career field-goal percentage in games in which his team has had a chance to clinch a playoff series. Only two active players have a lower career field-goal percentage in those games than Rondo (min: 100 attempts): Jerry Stackhouse (.368) and Tracy McGrady (.384).

3. Vince Carter scored only three points in 31 minutes of action in Game 4. That is the fewest points Carter has scored in any of the 802 games (playoffs and regular season) in which he has played at least 30 minutes during his career.

4. The Celtics have won each of their last four road games in this postseason. That ties the club record for consecutive road wins in a single postseason. Boston won four straight road games during the 1969 and 1974 playoffs.

5. Doc Rivers is only 1-8 (.111) on the road in games in which his team has had a chance to clinch a playoff series in his career. That is the lowest career winning percentage for any head coach in NBA history who has appeared in at least five potential series-clinching games on the road.

6. Orlando has allowed fewer than 100 points in each of their last 14 playoff games dating back to the 2009 playoffs. That is the second longest current streak in the league behind Indiana (15).

7. Game 4 of this series was the first game that went into overtime in this year's playoffs. In the 26 seasons that the NBA played under the current playoff format prior to the 2010 postseason, the fewest overtime games played in a postseason was two during the 2001, 2007 and 2008 playoffs.

8. Most career regular-season points scored without appearing in an NBA Finals among active players: Vince Carter (19,498); Tracy McGrady (17,534); Antawn Jamison (17,118).

9. Nine of the 77 postseason games that Doc Rivers has appeared in as a head coach have gone into overtime (11.7 percent). That is the highest percentage of playoff games that have gone into overtime for any head coach who has appeared in at least 30 postseason games.

10. The Magic have scored 30.9 percent of their total points from 3-point field goals in this year's playoffs (357 of 1,155). Since the NBA instituted the 3-point shot in 1979-80, only two teams have scored over 30 percent of their total points from beyond the three-point line in a single playoff season: Golden State in 2007 (31.2 percent) and Phoenix in 1997 (30.5 percent).

Shootaround: Rondo feeling better

May, 26, 2010

ORLANDO -- Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo said Wednesday he's feeling better after enduring muscle spasms that sent him to the locker room before halftime of Monday's Game 4.

"I'm feeling better, I'm fine," Rondo said at the Celtics' shootaround Wednesday morning at Amway Arena. "Nothing to worry about, I'll be playing."

Rondo brushed off health questions following Monday's game where he registered nine points, eight assists, and three steals over 43 minutes, quiet by his increasingly lofty playoff standards. But Rondo simply didn't seem to have the same energy and crispness that he's displayed throughout the playoffs.

Asked how he's combating the cramps, Rondo listed all the available remedies.

"Bananas, water, massages, contrast baths, and drinking pickle juice," joked Rondo, who battled flu-like symptoms earlier this season and did sound a bit nasally while addressing reporters Wednesday. Regardless, Rondo pointed to his early foul trouble as a bigger issue in his performance Monday than any health detriment.

"The one foul on Jameer [Nelson], I'm biased, but I didn't think it was a foul," Rondo said of his first-quarter reach-in. He picked up his second just six seconds later. "The second one, I had to foul Dwight [Howard] to prevent the layup... I'm just playing basketball. I don't try to foul, but if I have to take the foul [to prevent easy baskets], I'll take it."

The Celtics employed Tony Allen and oft-unused Nate Robinson in Rondo's place before bringing him back with 8:59 to go in the second quarter. Rondo dished out a trio of assists before picking up his third foul with 2:34 to play in the half.

He stayed in the game a bit longer, but finally exited with 1:15 to play in the half and that's when he retreated to the locker room with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo for what the team dubbed muscle spasms. The duo appeared back on the floor before the second half, stretching Rondo out at midcourt.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said there was no reason to be overly concerned about Rondo's health.

"No, I don't think so, I think it's just a cramp," said Rivers. "My rule is, I wait until the trainer comes to me. If he doesn't, that means he doesn't think it's that bad."

What is of concern to Rondo, Rivers, and the rest of the Celtics is the pick-and-roll defense that ate Boston alive in Game 4. Nelson wreaked havoc by often coming off staggered double screens and, when the Celtics' help defense collapsed on him, he was able to feed Howard for easy buckets (seven dunks in Game 4) or pitch to the outside for 3-pointers (10 triples on 28 attempts).

"They did it in the first three games, but they were more effective the last game," said Rivers. "They did the same thing, we just didn't do a good job of defending it. Give Jameer credit, he was far more aggressive, but it's not an adjustment. We never got into him. Now, if we get into him and he's still hurting us, then we have to make an adjustment."

Rivers noted that it's on the guards to do a better job staying in front of Nelson and not allowing dribble penetration that forces the bigs to help.

Asked what the team could do better, Rondo smiled and noted: "I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out when we go over it in the shootaround."

A few other notes from shootaround:

Pierce knows crowd will be into it: Celtics captain Paul Pierce, last seen walking off the court here after Game 2 telling fans he'd, "See them next year," is sure to catch a little grief in tonight's Game 5. He's hoping to feed off the fans. "We gotta come out and match their energy, feed off that crowd," said Pierce. "We have to be able to come out here at the start of the game and get off to a good start... That's probably the most important thing, to match their intensity, and raise ours on the road."

Look out below: What looked like large tie twists or cable ties were falling from the video board as the Celtics got ready for their morning shootaround. Workers came out and cleaned the debris from the floor, but more fell again as the team prepared to start the workout.

Bumps and bruises: Kendrick Perkins (sprained right wrist) and Tony Allen (twisted ankle) appeared no worse for the wear Wednesday. Perkins wasn't wearing any tape over his injured wrist, like he had in recent sessions, while Allen didn't appear to have any additional bracing or tape around his ankles.

Game 5 is Game 7 ... again: As he's done throughout the postseason, Pierce continues to stress the need to play each game like it's a deciding game. "We don’t want to give them a sense of confidence," said Pierce. "The way I'm looking at it, this is like Game 7."

Ball movement is key: Rivers and his players spent plenty of time noting the importance of moving the ball and not getting stagnant on offense. But Rivers also stressed spacing the floor, something the team didn't do a very good job of, particularly in late-game possessions in Game 4. "We showed them [Tuesday night on film], we didn't move the ball in stretches and, more importantly, we didn't space the floor."

Probability & statistics: Game 5

May, 26, 2010
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesCan the Magic keep their season alive again in Game 5?
A quick glance at the historical numbers and patterns before the Boston visit the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night at Amway Arena:

* In NBA history, teams with a 3-1 lead in best-of-seven series have gone on to win that series 95.8 percent of the time. Only eight teams have come back from a 3-1 hole, but none (0-93) have come back from the 3-0 hole the Magic previously faced.

* The Celtics are a mere 2-7 in first-chance closeout games during the the Big Three era. The more encouraging news is that Boston is 5-1 in second-chance closeout games, the lone loss coming in Game 7 of last year’s conference semifinal against the Magic.

* The Magic became only the third team in NBA history to win Game 4 on the road after trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series. The two previous teams -- the 2005 Suns and 1969 76ers -- both got eliminated on their home turf in Game 5.

* If Orlando prevails in Game 5, it would become only the 10th team in NBA history to force a Game 6 after dropping the first three games of a best-of-seven series (out of the 94 teams that have faced that situation). The Magic would be the first team since the 2007 Bulls forced a Game 6 against the Pistons in that year’s conference semifinals.

* History suggests the Celtics are primed to win Game 5. After leading a best-of-seven series 3-0, the Celtics have swept four times and won in five games seven other times. No series has ever advanced to a Game 6.

Picked apart

May, 26, 2010
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonCeltics point guard Rajon Rondo should expect to see plenty of picks again in Game 5.
BOSTON -- Staggered.

It describes the picks the Orlando Magic set in order to spring Jameer Nelson in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, but it's also a good adjective to describe Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics after Monday's loss prolonged this best-of-seven series.

The Celtics had done a phenomenal job defending the pick-and-roll through the first three games of the series, but the Magic added a layer on Monday by often having a second screener waiting for Rondo after Nelson ran the initial pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard.

That left Rondo, who Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the game had already complained of fatigue early on, running into wall after wall. With little more than a minute remaining in the first half, Rondo retreated to the locker room with strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo for what the team dubbed muscle spasms.

The numbers tell the story. Through the first three games of the series, the Magic averaged 33 plays per game out of the pick-and-roll and generated an average of 28 points per game, while shooting 35.6 percent from the floor. According to the magicians at ESPN's Stats & Information, in Monday's Game 4, Orlando ran 43 pick-and-roll plays, generating 47 points on 51.6 percent shooting.

What's more, Nelson, who had been 8-of-22 shooting as the primary ball handler in the pick-and-roll through three games, finished 6-for-10 overall Monday. And even when he wasn't creating shots for himself off the picks, Nelson was generating offense by distributing as the defense collapsed on him.

Priority No. 1 for the Celtics in Game 5 has to be defending the pick-and-roll better and not allowing Nelson to create so much havoc.

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Jeff Green
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksK. Humphries 0.9