Where Paul Pierce goes, the Celtics follow! After not controlling his cross over move in Game 4 that eventually made him lose the ball that resulted in him not being able to put up a shot at the buzzer - the Magic eventually got it done in overtime. In game 5 he scored 16 first half points and only 2 in the second half- this game resulted in a rout in the Magic's favor. The Celtics were suddenly rejuvenated after Kendrick Perkins was reinstated and Glen Davis recovered from a freakish concussion. In this game, Paul Pierce was all business as he fueled the Celtics first quarter run that caught the Magic napping once again.
Pierce shot 9 of 15 from the field including a near perfect 9 of 10 from the free throw line and four three pointers to lead all scorers with 31 points as he led the faltering Celtics to a lopsided 96 - 84 victory. If Pierce was the leader of the Celtics then today's spark came from the little dunking master, Nate Robinson. In game 1 it was Rasheed Wallace who provided the spark with 13 points, in Game 2 Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins made up for the subpar shooting of Ray Allen with 25 and 10 points respectively. In Game 3 it was Glen Davis who provided the spark as he topscored with 17 points as the Celtics ran down the Magic. This time its Nate's turn to sizzle as his offensive onslaught in the second quarter gave the Celtics the enough time to stem the tide as Robinson scattered 13 points in the 8 minutes that he played. By the half the Magic were quite exasperated that everything was going the Celtics way.
A rejuvenated Magic squad brought down the mighty Celtics in two straight games and talks about a monumental collapse were on hand following their game 5 loss at Orlando. Ray Allen was the other spark plug who fended all Magic rallies as he ably backed up Pierce with 20 points as Kevin Garnett scattered 10 points while Rajon Rondo had 15 points. It was a sorry loss for the Magic squad who never really got things going in the series, just when their play was coming into place the Celtics shut them down. After averaging 107 points in the series against the Hawks, the Magic were put down by their 90 ppg average in this series.
Dwight Howard did all that he can in this game as he scored 28 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Vince Carter had 17 points and Jameer Nelson 11 points, a far cry from the 23 point and 24 point output he had in their twin wins. He was the spark that the Magic sorely missed since the team's offense flows better when he is shooting good. Another Magic cager who is was missed in this series is Rashard Lewis. He literally disappeared as he averaged 8.2 points in the series, a far cry from his 15 ppg in the Bobcats series and 17 against the Hawks. So far so bad for someone who was counted upon by the Magic to bring them out of their rut but unfortunately bombed out for two consecutive seasons when it mattered the most.
For the Celtics - its on to the finals and a good time to rest since the championship starts Thursday. Stay tuned.