Celtics Hub and I exchanged some quick questions and answers on the Celtics-Magic series, which..."/> Celtics Hub and I exchanged some quick questions and answers on the Celtics-Magic series, which..."/> Celtics Hub and I exchanged some quick questions and answers on the Celtics-Magic series, which..."/>

A quick chat with Celtics Hub

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Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub and I exchanged some quick questions and answers on the Celtics-Magic series, which begins today. Read Zach’s answers below. To see my answers to his questions, click here. OMD: So, honestly – how much do the Magic scare you? Celtics Hub: I’ve been on the “respect the Magic” bandwagon since the winter. I remember watching as Jameer Nelson nailed several clutch shots to lead the Magic to a road win against the Lakers in late January. I wrote the next day that I wanted to hear no more of the Stan Van Gundy “we’re under the radar” nonsense. At that moment, just about everyone respected the Magic as title contenders. Then Nelson got hurt, and I think we all sort of made the mistake of assuming they would revert to something between “mediocre” and “very good.” They stayed right around “very good.” I don’t think they can win a title without Nelson (and maybe Lee) – and with their forwards a little dinged up – but they could beat Boston and push Cleveland hard. OMD: Does it worry you that the Celtics are coming off an emotionally draining seven-game series? Celtics Hub: Yes. I know Dan Shaughnessy thinks minutes don’t matter in the playoffs and that the players have to say things like “you don’t feel tired in the post-season,” but the notion that fatigue isn’t a factor is silly. There’s a reason Bill Russell was allowed to skip scrimmages and lots of practices throughout his career. Paul Pierce has looked exhausted for stretches, and who could blame him? He’s played about 200 games the last two seasons, and in many of those he was both the C’s primary offensive option and the man expected to defend the other team’s best wing player. He could not stay with John Salmons at times in the Chicago series. I’m not sure if Pierce is hurt, as some believe, but he’s tired. Four of Boston’s five starters averaged 40 or more minutes per game against Chicago (Perkins averaged 38), and Pierce and Rondo were both around 45 a game. That’s a lot of basketball for a 31-year-old. No way around that. And Glen Davis has never played minutes this heavy at the pro level. So, yes, it’s a concern. OMD: Boston is a well publicized team, so if you don’t have a good answer for this one it’s OK. But are there any misconceptions the rest of the country has about this Celtics team? Celtics Hub: Before this series, I’d have said Boston’s rep as a dirty team was somewhat overblown. But then Kevin Garnett screamed in Ben Gordon’s face , Rajon Rondo (accidentally?) punched Brad Miller in his face and kinda sorta threw an elbow at Kirk Hinrich. So, yeah, this probably isn’t the best time to take issue with the Celts reputation as a dirty team. Other than that, there are little things. Ray Allen’s mid-range game and ball-handling are better than people realize. So are Rajon Rondo’s jumper and Perk’s sneaky little post game. But those are little things, not really misconceptions. I think people basically know who the Celtics are. OMD: Which matchup scares you most in this series? And which matchup do you think is most favorable for Boston? Celtics Hub: Without Garnett, the Celtics will have a tough time matching up with Turkoglu and Lewis at the forward spots. Pierce will have to guard one of them–probably Turk–and Davis will guard the other. Whoever Big Baby is guarding will have a big quickness advantage, which will allow that player to step outside the three-point line and dare Davis to come out and get him. And whoever Pierce is guarding will have a height advantage. It will be interesting to see how Doc Rivers tries to make up for those mismatches. I think the Celtics have a big edge in the back court, especially if Courtney Lee is unable to go for a portion of this series. Without Lee around, Ray Allen has the potential to have a huge series. I don’t see anyone else on the Magic that can guard him. And Rondo is going to give Rafer Alston fits on both ends of the floor. I don’t think I need to explain that any further. OMD: What’s your prediction? Celtics Hub: Do I have to do this? Celtics in…what else? Seven games.