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Inside and out, Boston outplays heartless Orlando in Game 3

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist
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BOSTON -- Let's get this out of the way. Dwight Howard -- fraudulent. Vince Carter -- useless. Stan Van Gundy -- clueless. Rashard Lewis -- invisible.

The Orlando Magic -- heartless.

They are dead Magicians walking and after Boston's 94-71 victory, which gave the Celtics a 3-0 series lead, the only thing left to do is shovel dirt on top of the casket.

When J.J. Redick is the toughest player on the Magic, you know they're in trouble.

This is not to take away from Boston's complete demolition of Orlando both in this game and in these Eastern Conference finals. What the Celtics are doing to the Magic is similar to what happens when a large meteor impacts the moon -- the only thing left is dust and a crater.

"They kicked our ass from start to finish," Magic forward Matt Barnes said.

That about sums it up.

Doc Rivers is embarrassing the Master of Panic, Van Gundy, and the depth, hustle and talent of Boston -- traits that weren't always there at many points during the Celtics' regular season -- are combining to form such a potent mix that Boston is capable of beating any team in the sport right now, including the Los Angeles Lakers.

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The game was over at halftime and by end of third quarter, Celtics fans started the "Beat L.A.!" chants. And the Celtics might do just that after they dispatch the Magic.

So, yes, give Boston credit.

But the Magic are turning out to be the Vanilla Ice of the NBA -- one-hit wonders lacking guts and depth.

This game exemplified Orlando's lack of passion and situational awareness. At the team's most desperate moment, it started Game 3 by trailing 7-0. Eventually the score ballooned to 21-6 and by the end of the first quarter it was 27-12.

Of all the Celtics' smart play and working of the angles, several moments were eye-raising and many of them involved Rondo. On one play, he beat Jason Williams to a loose ball by diving on the floor, scooping up the basketball, and bolting to the other end for a score. In another, after a Ray Allen shot bounced left off the rim and high toward two taller Magic players, Rondo split them, out-jumped them, and then tipped the ball to a Boston teammate.

He wanted it more. The entire Boston team wanted it more when it should've been the other way around.

Jameer Nelson and the Magic are one loss from starting their summer vacation. (US Presswire)  
Jameer Nelson and the Magic are one loss from starting their summer vacation. (US Presswire)  
"I don't question what they want," Boston guard Ray Allen said of the Magic, "[or] how they want it, but we know what we want. We put it out there every day even when we aren't playing. Just the attention to detail and it's going to continue."

The Celtics hustle isn't a dance step -- it's their defensive style which is every bit as contagious as the most aggressive virus. If it wasn't Rondo, it was Glen Davis pushing his large caboose past its design limits with 17 points. He spent time guarding Howard inside and then would rotate to the perimeter to guard Lewis.

Orlando was the opposite of Boston and there's no shortage of goats on the Magic. The Orlando powerhouses of Howard, Carter and Lewis combined for 26 points on 10 of 30 shooting while Howard looked like Chris Dudley. Meanwhile, Carter was Carter. The only thing Carter's good for these days is a dunk contest.

Still much of the blame for Game 3 has to go on Van Gundy. He simply didn't have the Magic prepared in any way for the Celtics' onslaught. Orlando was mentally and physically out-matched and Van Gundy admitted as much in his postgame comments.

"The most disappointing to me was that I didn't have our team better ready to play," he said. "That was what was disappointing to me was my job. That was the most disappointing. I mean, yeah -- it starts with me. I'm not happy with where I had our team tonight. Anything about what I did, my plan, any adjustments, anything."

Maybe ESPN could use a second Van Gundy in the booth.

And maybe the Magic could use a heart transplant.

Actually, you need a heart before you can change one.

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