Yes, in a “who wouldda thunk it?” turn of events, the Orlando Magic still have a pulse and live to play on against the Celtics in a Game 5 tomorrow night. After losing two straight at home by only showing up in the 4th quarter of Game 1 and poor end-of-game execution in Game 2, they were thoroughly dismantled and embarrassed by the Celts in Boston for Game 3–this after not losing a single game in about 6 weeks, including sweeping through Charlotte and Atlanta in the 1st and 2nd rounds of the playoffs. A horrible time to play their worst game of the year, most of the media couldn’t get off the (very crowded) bandwagon quickly enough and questioned the team’s heart, toughness, experience, and overall talent. You probably couldn’t find anyone but the people in that locker room who truly believed that the Magic could win Game 4 in Boston and were not about to be swept and heading to vacation (and another possible team makeover) on Monday night.
But as Gomer Pyle once said, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.” The team came out smoking in the opening quarter, pushing the ball, attacking the lane, and making shots. What a difference a game makes. Dwight was awesome, Jameer was terrific, Rashard was better than he’s been, JJ was his consistent self despite 3 (!) travelling calls, Brandon Bass was the first guy off the bench, and somehow they held on for an overtime victory despite an absolutely awful showing by Vince Carter (1 for 9 shooting, 3 points total).
So they’ve gotten up off the mat, and if they can somehow ride the momentum and play smart and with confidence, a Friday night Game 6 in Boston could be very interesting. The games now being just two days apart favors the Magic as well, since their core of players is younger than the Beantown veterans. We’ve all heard the statistics about teams going up 3-0 in a best of seven series being 93-0 and never losing in the NBA playoffs. But it’s happened once in Major League Baseball (Red Sox over Yankees, don’t remind me!) and 3 times in the National Hockey League, most recently just a couple of weeks ago when the Philadelphia Flyers did it to the Boston Bruins. How ’bout a little deja vu all over again for you Boston fans? It’s got to happen in hoops one of these days, doesn’t it? Let’s go Magic!