Thursday, December 23, 2010

NBA Eastern Conference Update - Celtics, Magic and Heat


The Celtics ripped off their 14th consecutive win last night with an 84-80 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics are still without Rajon Rondo who continues to nurse his sprained left ankle. In the meantime, Nate Robinson is holding things down at the point. In 3 starts since Rondo's injury, Robinson is averaging 13.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He has struggled a bit with turnovers, particularly in the win over Atlanta (6 in 41 minutes), but he has just 5 total in his last 2 starts. He's also shooting 44.4% from the floor and has hit at least 2 3-pointers in each start. He's certainly a different type of player than Rondo, but even without their regular floor general the Celtics are getting the job done. Next up for the red hot C's, the struggling Orlando Magic on Christmas Day.


The struggling Magic took on the Spurs tonight in a battle of two teams headed in opposite directions. The 25-3 Spurs came in winners of 10 straight with the best record in the NBA. The Magic meanwhile had lost 8 of 9 including 4 in a row. However this one played out differently than you might have expected. In their third game with their new look lineup, Orlando finally got their offense rolling and cranked out 123 points against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. The new look Magic finally got solid outings from all three of their big acquisitions. Hedo Turkoglu had 11 points and 6 assists, Jason Richardson had 15 points and 4 rebounds and Gilbert Arenas came off the bench and chipped in 14 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists. While they were outrebounded 46-39 and gave up 16 offensive rebounds, their explosive offense was the difference in this one as they hit 13/25 3's and shot 59.5% from the field. Ironically, that's actually better than they shot from the free throw line (58.8%). The one negative was that Dwight Howard had his streak of 20 rebound games snapped as he went for 29 and 14 in 32 minutes. However, Howard does still have 5 straight games with at least 14 boards.


Despite being without the services of Dwyane Wade tonight against Phoenix, Miami has jumped out to 45-39 halftime lead over the Suns. Wade is out due to swelling in his left knee caused by a collision with Jason Kidd on Tuesday night. This one started out rough as the Suns jumped out to a 21-10 advantage in the first quarter, but the Heat buckled down on defense forcing 10 first half turnovers and only alloweding the Suns to shoot 38.5% in the half. Lebron James and Chris Bosh have carried the scoring load in Wade's absence combining for 32 of the Heat's 45 first half points. No other member of the Heat has more than 4. Mike Miller is active once again, but continues to struggle shooting the basketball, now having misfired on his first 7 attempts this season. Jared Dudley is leading the way for Phoenix with 14 points, while Steve Nash has been held scoreless but does have 10 assists.

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