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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Magic Fall Short Of Goal


The Orlando Magic were eliminated by the Boston Celtics 96-84 on Friday night.

Dwight Howard did all he could but he didn’t get nearly enough help to make up for the performance of Boston’s wings.

"Howard did all he could to keep the Magic within striking distance, hitting the Celtics for 28 points and 12 rebounds. Vince Carter played well for the first time in a week, scoring 17 points. And point guard Jameer Nelson had 11, but it wasn’t nearly enough on a night when the Celtics were more efficient and precise.Boston star forward Paul Pierce, a Magic killer throughout the series, had another 31 points by making nine of 15 shots and four of five 3-pointers and nine of 10 free throws. And he rounded out the spectacular performance with 13 rebounds and five assists.And Ray Allen did the rest for Boston by scoring 20 points and hitting three more 3-pointers. Boston had 10 3-pointers in the deciding game, while the Magic made just six of 22 tries."

John Denton of has that story here.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel admits he was off with his Celtics-Bruins comparison.

"And we thought the Boston Celtics might be turning into the Boston Bruins. Instead they turned into the Boston Strangler and suffocated the Magic in every way possible Friday night. Remember those 13-of-25 3-pointers the Magic hit in Game 5? In Game 6, they hit just 6-of-22.This game was absolutely nothing like the last two Orlando victories; this time the Magic had the full, undivided attention of the Celtics from the beginning. The Magic trailed 30-19 after the first quarter. They trailed by as many as 21 in the second quarter. They trailed by as many as 24 in the third quarter. And on and on and on.There’s nobody to blame; not really. Oh sure, we could once again point the accusing finger at the $118-million man Rashard Lewis, who hit just 3-of-11 shots (0-of-4 from 3-point range), but he didn’t cost the Magic the game. Boston, plain and simple, was just the better team. First, the Celtics knocked out LeBron and now they’ve eliminated the Magic, too."

You can read that story here.

This wasn’t what the Magic envisioned at the start of the season.

"They had geared up for a return to the title round, acquiring Vince Carter and four other players last summer. But after another 59-win season and two playoff series sweeps, they never recovered from stunning home losses to the Celtics in Games 1 and 2.Carter’s homecoming — the Daytona Beach-raised veteran has a mansion in Isleworth — did not go as planned.Unlike Paul Pierce (31 points), he was never a force in the series, the eight-time all-star looking ordinary at times. He scored just four of his 17 points in the second half and limped off the floor with about three minutes left, with the Magic trailing 92-76."

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel has that story here.

George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel says shooting was the key in this series.

"Two tough teams, sharpening elbows, trading fire and spittle inside.The winner would be the one that got in the best punch.There was one fundamental flaw with that: Games are won by the team that gets the ball in the basket.And that’s why the Boston Celtics are your 2010 Eastern Conference champions.It was their energy and effort that rocked Orlando hard in the first half, stretching a lead extending to as many as 21 before coasting home, 96-84, in front of a noisy sea of green Friday night.All that other stuff is part of the game, but will never define it."

You can read that story here.

Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post didn’t understand some of Orlando’s decisions.

"Point guard Rajon Rondo set Boston on a good course early, accounting for 19 of the Celtics’ 30 first-period points via a score or an assist. Orlando only managed 19 points itself in the period. In their wins, the Celtics forced the Magic to play from behind, and Orlando never recovered, though it came close in Game 2. Rondo’s drives and aggressiveness in transition fueled the Celtics’ hot start, and the Magic fanned the flames by failing to get back defensively.The offense wasn’t much better, although it did create a good amount of reasonably open looks. Just wouldn’t fall. Nelson’s lack of aggression puzzled me, as did the repeated post-ups the Magic ran for Howard inside. It’s as though they abandoned what worked in their wins and reverted to what didn’t work in their losses. Howard rewarded them by converting those post-ups at a solid rate, even finishing a few with his left hand. And Carter carried the team in the second quarter by driving to the basket; he rarely settled for bad jumpers off the dribble in this game, yet still fell victim to numerous mean-spirited Twitter comments."

You can read that story here.

It seemed like Boston had an answer for every Magic run.

"The Celtics were in control from almost the start and had an answer to every run. they shot just 42.7 percent from the floor — a credit to the Magic’s defense and effort to stay in this one — but hit 10 of 22 3-pointers and made six more free throws (both teams shot 27 free throws).Orlando simply could not hit the shots the team needed to mount any serious run. Open shots were not falling and the same looks that fell in Games Four and Five did not go in. The Magic shot 43.1 percent and hit on only 6 of 22 3-pointers.They fell behind and could not regain confidence as the Celtics kept finding ways to extend the lead. There was simply not enough mojo left to get Orlando back in the game. Stan Van Gundy said the team went away a bit from its offense in trying to come back, which is true to a certain extent."

Philip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily has that story here.

With the play of Rajon Rondo and Nate Robinson, the Celtics won the Point Guard battle Friday.

"Nelson had been the Magic’s catalyst all postseason. He entered Friday night averaging a team-high 19.6 points and 4.8 assists per game in the playoffs, and his stellar play and clutch shooting propelled Orlando to victories in Games 4 and 5 against Boston.But he lost his rhythm Friday by the time he accrued his second foul.“Look, Jameer didn’t have a real good night tonight,” Van Gundy said, “and I’m not saying that critical of him, because obviously he carried us for a big part of this series and was fabulous, and tonight he just didn’t have a very good game.”“The foul trouble was only part of it.”Another part of it was the Celtics point guards themselves. Rondo and Robinson speed challenged Nelson and Williams defensively all night."

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has that story here.

Now questions surround Orlando’s off-season.

"As for what to acquire? I think the weakness with Orlando is obvious, and it’s what the Celtics and Lakers showed in last year’s playoffs and Boston did again this year — when the opponent has a player who can single-cover Dwight Howard, the rest of Orlando’s offense sinks in the muck.What the Magic need is a perimeter player who can be a go-to offensive force in his own right. They thought they were getting that type of player in Vince Carter, but he came about two years too late. In a series where the Celtics single-covered Howard and stuck to Orlando’s shooters, it was incumbent on Carter (and to an equal extent, Jameer Nelson), to break down the Boston defense. By and large, they failed."

John Hollinger of has that story here.

Chris Mannix of called Howard’s offensive repertoire “pathetic” and says any scout will say his game has seen “minimal growth.”

"Besides, the bigger changes can come from within. There is no question that Howard is the most dominant defensive player of this era. But his offensive repertoire is pathetic and his inability to face up and show Boston different looks stymied Orlando’s attack. Howard is a 6-foot-11, 265 well of still untapped talent. But any scout will say that Howard’s game has seen minimal growth over the last few years, if any at all. Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing made a career of dropping 15-footers over defenders too afraid to press him on the perimeter. If Howard can develop a fraction of Ewing’s moves, he would become an almost unstoppable force."

The timing is a little strange considering Howard just averaged 21.8 points per game against Boston’s elite defense.

You can read that story here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and on Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).