Game 1: Sunday, May 16 Boston at Orlando, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Game 2: Tuesday, May 18 Boston at Orlando, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 3: Saturday, May 22 Orlando at Boston, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4: Monday, May 24 Orlando at Boston, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 5: Wednesday, May 26 Boston at Orlando, 8:30 p.m., ESPN (if
Game 6: Friday, May 28 Orlando at Boston, 8:30 p.m., ESPN (if
Game 7: Sunday, May 30 Boston at Orlando, 8:30 p.m., ESPN (if
Who'll go off
Chuck: Rajon Rondo. I like Rondo's chances against Jameer Nelson, a guy not know for his defensive prowess. The problem comes once Rondo gets into the paint and meets Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. I expect to see a lot of floaters and/or dishes to Kendrick Perkins once Howard commits.
John: Paul Pierce. He isn't guarding LeBron James anymore. And if Stan Van Gundy REALLY wants to put Vince Carter on him to start the series, then fine by me. Paul will get to his sweet spot and find his groove… then he'll get to the lane and draw fouls on their big men. For all the gushing over his superstar status, Dwight Howard is foul prone. Paul is a master at drawing fouls, so don't be shocked to see him drop 25 points with 12 of them coming from the line.
Who needs to be stopped
Chuck: Dwight Howard. Perk is one of the few who can limit Howard's effectiveness in the post while covering him one-on-one. But the real challenge is keeping him off the offensive boards.
John: It's gotta be Dwight and this does all fall on Kendrick Perkins. If Perk can continue to play Dwight straight up, then the Celtics perimeter defenders can stick closer to their guys and prevent Orlando from getting hot from outside. Once you have to double Dwight Howard, the Magic are damn near impossible to defend.
C's will lose if
Chuck: Orlando's bread and butter remains their long range shooting. The Celtics need to be sharp with their rotations in order to contest the three point shots. If they don't, watch out.
John: They lose focus. I hate to keep going back to that but this is really what it's all about for the Celtics. If they maintain their focus and play team ball on both ends for 48 minutes, they can beat anyone. If they play focused defense, then they will force turnovers. If they play focused offense, they will pull Dwight out of position and score easy baskets. If they relax on either end, Orlando will kill them.
Chuck: Celtics win series, 4-2
John: Orlando in a sweep. Ha ha.. just kidding… I don't work for ESPN yet. Celtics win 4-2.