Celtics ready for Christmas blockbuster

A couple of links to bridge the time between opening presents and this afternoon's tip-off in the Celtics-Magic showdown in Orlando:

Special Occasion

Just another game? Just one of 82 regular-season contests?

Hardly. Even Ray Allen admitted there will be a playoff-like atmosphere when the Boston Celtics visit the Orlando Magic on Christmas Day (ABC, 2:30 p.m. ET).

Not only is this a matchup of the two top teams in the Eastern Conference, not only is it a nationally televised broadcast on perhaps the NBA's marquee day, but there are also leftover emotions from a memorable seven-game series in the Eastern Conference semifinals this past May that helped propel the Magic to the NBA Finals.

"I do [think it's a playoff preview]," admitted Allen, who wasn't bashful about pondering potential implications for home-court advantage in the postseason, particularly with Orlando already boasting a win over the Celtics in Boston on Nov. 20. "We look at it as a game we want to win. When you get to the end of the year, these are the type of games you look back at [for motivation and strategy] before the playoffs."

Click HERE to read the full article.

Bringing Christmas to Orlando

Ever tried bringing a Christmas tree on a plane?

That's the sort of conundrum many Celtics players faced as they trekked to Orlando Wednesday morning in advance of a Christmas Day showdown against the Magic.

As Boston prepared for one of its biggest regular-season matchups of the season, one to be played in front of a national TV audience against a rival that knocked it out of the playoffs last May, the Celtics must also deal with the headaches involved with relocating Christmas 1,200 miles from home.

How do you haul all the presents accumulated over the past month of shopping? Amidst all the palm trees, where do you find a Fraser fir? How do you pass a forwarding address along to Santa Claus?

And, through it all, how do you remain focused on work and a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference?

Click HERE to read the full article.