Viewing information: TV: Sun Sports, ESPN, ESPN HD
Radio: AM 580 WDBO Spanish Radio: AM 1030 WONQ
Previous meetings: Dec. 1: Boston 107, Orlando 88; Jan. 22: Boston 90, Orlando 80; March 8: Orlando 86, Boston 79
Three keys for the Magic:
1. Get off to a good start. The last time these two teams met the Magic opened up a 19-point lead en route to a 86-79 victory on Boston. The final score was a little closer than it should have been, but by jumping ahead in the early going the Magic set the tone for the entire game. They’ll need to do the same thing tonight. A quick start will also help get the home crowd involved, which in a playoff-type atmosphere can be very important.
2. Don’t let the Celtics push you around. Boston thrives on getting in other team’s heads. The Celtics will do whatever it takes to get their opposition to lose focus on playing the actual game. Paul Pierce is the king of trash-talking and Kevin Garnett is the kid of phony enthusiasm. If the Magic can just ignore the Celtics theatrics and are willing to push back when the Celtics get physical, they should be able to win this game.
3. Get Rashard Lewis involved. By now we’re all aware of Lewis’ struggles both on and off the court. But regardless of what he’s going through the Magic are going to need him to step up tonight. When Lewis is hitting his outside shots he pulls his defender, usually Garnett, away from the hoop leaving Dwight with a one-on-one match up against Kendrick Perkins (which hasn’t always been favorable for the Magic, but it’s better than having Garnett looming on the weak side).
Other game notes (courtesy of the Magic): * Orlando is 36-42 all-time vs. Boston in regular season action (26-13 at home, 10-29 on the road), including 1-2 this season. * The Magic are 3-1 vs. the Celtics in the playoffs (1-1 at home, 2-0 on the road, 1995 First Round series). * The Celtics have won 12 of the last 15 matchups in Boston. * Orlando defeated Boston in the last game ever played at the Boston Garden, 95-92, on May 5, 1995. * Tony Battie was with Boston for five-plus seasons (1998-2003). * Assistant Coach Steve Clifford coached at Boston University for four years.