The Boston Celtics play the Orlando Magic in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals at Amway Arena tonight at 8:30 EDT on ESPN. The Celtics only need one more win to move on to the NBA Finals, but winning that closing game isn't going to be easy. If the Celtics do not win tonight, in my opinion the series is legitimately on. Before each game I like to breakdown what I think the Celtics need to do to win. Below are my five keys to victory for the Celtics against the Magic:â†µ
1. The Celtics need to contain Dwight Howard's ability to rebound and get second chance opportunities to score. Before game four, the Celtics had done a nice job in limiting Howard from second-chance shots off of rebounds. Howard destroyed the Celtics in game four. Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis need to keep him off the boards.
2. Rajon Rondo needs to take control of this game. At times, Rondo has been the best player on the floor. He can completely take over a game. He has the ability to not only pass but set the pace of the game. He is a complete floor leader. Rondo can do several things to take control. He is great in transition with the ability to fast-break down the court. He also sets the offense up as good as any point guard I have recently seen. The Celtics need to put the ball in Rondo's hands and let him be the floor general.â†µ
3. The Celtics' defense needs to do a better job on Jameer Nelson. Nelson was huge in game four. He controlled the game. He made some key 3-pointers late in the game. But the biggest contribution he made was getting Howard involved. Rondo and his teammates need to be in his face the entire game. They cannot let him get the ball to Howard.â†µ
4. The Celtics need to lean on their bench more. I think the Celtics bench is going to be needed more than ever moving forward. In this last game, the Celtics looked pretty fatigued at times. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are not getting any younger. I hope we see them being substituted more tonight. Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen need to play very well tonight. Fans seem to forget that the Celtics bench was huge in 2008. To win tonight, they need to step up once again.â†µ
5. The Celtics need to be aggressive on Howard and force him to the line. The Celtics have several players that can cover Howard over a course of a game. They need to put him on the line instead of giving him easy opportunities to score. He is a horrible foul shooter. The Celtics will be winning more battles with Howard if they force him to the line.â†µ
This will not be an easy game for the Boston Celtics. It is in their best interest to win tonight. I am hopeful they will get it done.