Magic Force Game 6: Will Celtics Become 1st NBA Team to Blow 3-0 Lead?
There has never been an NBA team that has come back from being down 0-3 in an NBA Playoffs series.
Then again, no team down 0-3 in the NBA Playoffs has ever been as good as this year’s Orlando Magic.
In an effort to become the first team to ever accomplish such a comeback, the Magic beat the Boston Celtics 113-92 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals Wednesday night at Amway Arena.
Dwight Howard had 21 points on 7-12 shooting after his 32 point outburst in Game 4. The new age Superman also collected 10 rebounds and blocked five shots, showing one and all why he is the league’s two time reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
The supporting cast showed up as well. Jameer Nelson scored 24 points, and J.J. Redick continued his NBA coming out party with 14 points.
Not even the Magic’s perennial big game choker, Vince Carter could slow the team down with his measly eight points on three for 10 shooting.
Now the Orlando Magic are half way to making history. Actually, that's not entirely true. The Magic have already made a bit of comeback history by winning Games 4 and 5 against the Celtics. Up until this series, no team down 0-3 to the Celtics had ever forced a Game 6. The Magic have done that -- but coming all the way back is what would really count.
"I don't know if you can say you have momentum when you're down 3-2 going into their place," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I still look at it like we're climbing a huge mountain here. But we are playing better."
Make no mistake about it, the Magic have all the momentum at this point.
While Orlando is rolling with two straight wins and all the confidence in the world, the Celtics look worse than ever.
The Magic, who looked dead in the water after their first three losses, finally broke out of a series-long shooting slump. Since their Game 3 blowout, they have made 13 of 25 3-pointers.
During Game 5’s loss to the Magic, the Celtics saw Kendrick Perkins ejected after picking up his seventh technical foul of the playoffs. Seven technical fouls in the playoffs equals an automatic suspension.
If that wasn’t enough, three Celtics players suffered an injury of some sort during the game.
Near the end of the third quarter, Howard’s elbow accidentally came down on Glen “Big Baby” Davis’ face. It was later announced that Davis got a concussion from the collision. In an impressive display, Big Baby tried to get up and continue playing but ended up nearly tumbling down onto the floor near midcourt. Davis left, and ultimately did not return to the game.
Then, Marquis Daniels was also hit with an inadvertent elbow from Howard.
Finally, Rasheed Wallace tweaked his back towards the end of the game, but still ended up leading the team in scoring with 21 points
With emotions running high, the Celtics suffered several losses of composure.
After getting his third foul of the game, Wallace taunted a crazy Amway Arena by pointing towards his ringer finger. It served as a reminder to the Magic fans of the championship that has long eluded the franchise.
To make matters worse, Perkins got ejected from the game after picking up his second technical of the game. The foul stemmed from an argument he had with officials. Both Perkins and Marcin Gortat were called for double technicals a few minutes before after getting tangled up under the rim.
Boston fans just got finished watching their hometown Boston Bruins blow a 3-0 lead in the NHL Playoffs.
Will history repeat itself?
The Orlando Magic have won four straight games against the Celtics when facing elimination. The first two came during Games 6 and 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the last came in Games 4 and 5 of this series.
Only four times in major sports history has a team come back from a 0-3 deficit. Three of those four series involved a team from Boston.
"We just all believe," Nelson told reporters after the game. "We all believe. We know we can do it."
NBA teams down 0-3 in the playoffs never come back.
Until one does.
The Orlando Magic continue their march towards history Friday in Boston.