Before I get into Orlando’s Game 5 win over Boston, I’ve got a bit of a bone to pick: Did anyone else from Toronto notice Raptors ‘Superfan” and renowned used car salesman Nav Bhatia sitting baseline in a Vince Carter jersey? Come on, big fella…you’re Toronto’s biggest fan, and you’re still following that hack around? I get giving up on the Raptors — I’m about ready to do the same — but to go all the way down to Orlando and publicly root for Carter? Give me a break. Embarrassing stuff, Nav.
Anyway, on to the game: The Magic won 113-92, suddenly making things pretty, pretty interesting. They’ve proved capable of winning in Boston, and with plenty of momentum after a rather comfortable win tonight, they’re in pretty good shape for Friday’s Game 6. A win there and it’s done, if you ask me.
Jameer Nelson knocked down four of Orlando’s 13 long balls and led the way with 24 points, and Dwight Howard followed Monday’s strong showing with 21 points, 10 boards and five blocks. Carter’s eight points in 26 minutes didn’t have much of an impact, though his ineffectiveness gave J.J. Redick another shot to come in and make a difference — he led all bench players with 14 points, including 2-of-3 from deep and 6-of-7 from the line.
Again, not much from my guy Rajon Rondo — 19 points and six assists — and not much from the “big three”, either. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen scored a combined 37 points on 11-of-33 shooting, and Boston’s other starter, Kendrick Perkins, was tossed late in the first half for a second technical that was quite soft, to say the least. Making things worse, the tech was Perkins’ seventh of the playoffs, which draws an automatic one-game suspension if the league decides not to overturn the call upon review.
Before panic starts to set in in Boston, I’ll say this: Orlando is a good team, and after winning Game 4 on the road, they were expected to win this one. Don’t get too far down on Rondo & co. just yet. Still, with that said, the Celtics better bring it in Friday’s Game 6 — if they don’t, they’ll be in a lot more trouble.