Free NBA Picks: Orlando Magic Vs. Boston Celtics Game 4 Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/24/2010
As far as I can tell from my research, no team has opened the playoffs with two sweeps and then found itself swept. That’s what the Orlando Magic are about to be, with whispers that the team already has quit. I haven’t been right very often in this series, I must admit, but I am off the Magic bandwagon completely now.
Magic at Celtics, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The line: Celtics -7 (187.5). Funny what a difference three games can make, as this line has gone from Orlando -6.5, -7 to Boston -3.5 to now -7.
Props: Dwight Howard total points + rebounds (29.5); Jameer Nelson total points + rebounds (19.5); Rashard Lewis total points + rebounds + assists (16.5); Rajon Rondo total points + rebounds + assists (32.5).
How they enter: Professional athletes never want to be accused of quitting, but I’m not sure what other word you can use for Orlando. The Magic were down 27-12 at the end of the first quarter Saturday night, and that game was over. Boston now opened a huge lead in all three games of this series, including double digits in every first quarter.
Scouting report: The Celtics have taken a 3-0 lead 10 times in their playoff history and they have finished it in four games four times; no series has gone past Game 5. I hit on Rashard Lewis in a big way in the previous two game previews, but he has been beyond terrible. I mean, 15 total points? Are you kidding me? For what it’s worth Lewis had consecutive six-, three- and three-point games in mid-March and then followed those with three of at least 20 points and shooting 23-for-39 from the field. But he wasn’t having to deal with the defense of Kevin Garnett in any of those. KG has been far and away the biggest difference between this Magic-Celtics series and last year’s. It’s a bit harder to explain how Dwight Howard could go through the first 11:51 of Game 1 without scoring and how he could manage just seven points and seven boards in more than 39 minutes. Howard was outplayed by role player Glen Davis, who had 17 points in 24 minutes off the bench, one of six Boston players in double figures in Game 3. Rajon Rondo has been the best all-around player in this series – and his Game 3 hustle play to beat Orlando’s Jason Williams to a loose ball and then make a banking shot signifies this whole series. Rondo is averaging 14.7 points, 9.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game in these three games.
The picks: Love the ‘under’ as Boston’s defense is playing lights out. Want proof? Eight teams ran up 100-plus points on the Celtics in the regular season’s final two weeks. In the playoffs, the Celtics have given up 100 points just three times — their only three losses. In their 11 playoff wins, the Celtics have held opponents to 84.9 points a game. As good as Rondo is playing, his averages don’t even reach the total set for this game. Plus if it’s a blowout he and the other starters figure to sit the fourth quarter or much of it. I think the Lewis number is a steal to take the ‘over’: Assuming he has some professional pride. Howard won’t get seven and seven again but I’m not sure he can get a total of 29.5 either. Plus, foul trouble could play a role. Nelson has gone over 19.5 just once in this series, so don’t go there.
As for the side, it’s hard to go against the Celtics after being wrong with Orlando so many times. One might think Boston might relax with such a commanding lead, but you know the Celtics don’t want to get on a plane. Plus they can finish this off and rest up for the (likely) Lakers, whom they now know will be extended to at least a Game 5. Take Boston.
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