As last year's conference semifinal rematch is under 1 hours away I will show the Key Points and predictions of the series.
Orlando needs to keep the sharpshooting of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in check. When they get hot from the outside everything else opens for the Celtics. Rajon Rondo however, is their main priority after a tremondous series. Jameer Nelson will try to keep up with him even though he is nowhere as quick as him. Matt Barnes is a concern for Orlando with a back injury, but he will be starting for the Magic. This likely will be an advantage for Pierce to get going early in the series after a tough series against Cleveland averaging just 13.5. He did Heat up in Game 5 and 6 with 21 and 13 apiece. Barnes's health will be crucial for the Magic's chances. Orlando has been great at home this year with a 38-7 record. They have home court advantage, but that hasn't always been a huge factor. The Celtics did beat Cleveland taking 2 and almost 3 in Cleveland last series. Also, Cleveland had a 38-3 record heading into the playoffs last year and had a big loss in Game 1 last year and needed a LeBron James buzzer beater to avoid another one.
Boston: The Celtics need to keep Dwight Howard in check, which they have done in the past with the tremondous post defense of Kendrick Perkins. If Howard gets hot everything else opens up (see Game 3 of last year series where the Celtics where blown out by the Magic when Howard was 7-8 from the field) because this opens up the deadly shooting of Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Mickael Pietrus and Vince Carter (?? Carter shot awful against the Bobcats, but countered that with a great shooting series against the Hawks). Tony Allen has been huge off the bench this postseason giving the Celts a boost. As said earlier the Rondo has been great, but so has Magic point guard Nelson. Nelson has averaged 20 a game in the post season. Kevin Garnett needs to get his outside jumper going earlier as he has been doing lately, perhaps returning to 100 percent for the first time since the knee injury.
Game 1: Celtics 97, Magic 93
Game 2: Magic 109, Celtics 92
Game 3: Celtics 89, Magic 86
Game 4: Celtics 105, Magic 103
Game 5 Magic 99, Celtics 87
Game 6: Celtics 91, Magic 80
Bottom Line: The Celtics with the return of Garnett from last year will avenge last year's Magic series win. Boston takes game 1 which is big in winning a series.