In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Orlando Magic stepped onto their home court with their backs against wall. Having started the series by dropping their first three games, the Magic were facing a feat that no team in NBA history had ever accomplished. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 0-3 playoff deficit. In fact, in professional sports, it’s only happened five times, four times in hockey, the most recent being the 2010 Stanley Cup Final bound Philadelphia Flyers and of course the 2006 Boston Red Sox. If there’s any comfort for Orlando it should be the fact they are playing a team from Boston. Interestingly enough, the Flyers came back from 3 games down against the Boston Bruins, so there’s something about that city and magical comebacks. If bettors are looking for any edge that the Magic may have going back to Boston there’s just one thing the Magic have going for them against the Celtics, Father Time is wearing a Magic uniform.
Let’s rewind to the first two rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the Orlando Magic. Let’s not forget how they swept both the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks in games that were never really in doubt. Their last four games against the Atlanta Hawks were a joke. I believe it’s those games that put the Magic in the predicament they find themselves in now. There was no competitive edge to their games against Atlanta, there was no resistance to anything the Magic were trying to do on the court and point came easy and in bunches. It’s the same thing that happened to Cleveland last year after they swept their first two playoff rounds only to lose to the Magic in six games. After not playing a single competitive or challenging game where you’re forced to make adjustments and defend at a high level, it must be really difficult to turn up against the Boston Celtics who bring it every single night. It took the Magic three games to find the level of intensity required to compete. As history as shown, three games is too late.
If there is a wild card for the Magic it’s that Father Time has laced them up and is wearing Magic blue. The Celtics are an aging team and in game 5 it showed. The Celtics looked tired, they looked worn out, and the injuries that had plagued the team for most of the season began to resurface. Kevin Garnett looked like he was playing on fumes, Rasheed Wallace’s back started acting up again and Rondo is starting to fatigue from having to carry the ball handling load almost by himself for the first three rounds of the playoffs. Paul Pierce started out strong but seemed to fade and Father Time had a triple double as the Orlando Magic were able to force game six. Father Time comes into play in this series because now the games are only separated by one day of rest, this schedule change plays right into the hands of the younger Magic team who seemed to get to every loose ball and make every hustle play in game 5, something they were unable to do in the first three games of the series.
It may be too little to late for the Magic. As we all know, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA to win a series, but then again, Father Time is also undefeated. The Magic must be growing in confidence and thinking why not them, why not now? The answer to that question is, because you’re playing the Boston Celtics at home for game 6 which is pretty much their game 7 and they’re ready to die for a chance to win another ring. Can the same be said about everyone on the Magic, namely, Vince Carter who has been absent for the past three games? We’ll see if Father Time comes into play in game 6.