Out of Gas, Out of Playoffs

“It felt like we ran out of gas.” That's from Celtics captain Paul Pierce after his team lost game seven and the series to the Orlando Magic 101-82.

This was the first time in the storied history of the Celtics that they had lost a series after leading it 3-2.

The Magic trailed just once and dominated all facets of the game. All-NBA center Dwight Howard scored 12 points, pulled down 16 boards and swatted away five shots. Hedo Turkoglu had 25 points and 12 assists helping the Magic advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where they will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I believe we can win a championship. We’re not going to stop going after one till we get one,” Howard said. “We have the right team. We have the talent. We have the coaches. It’s just on us to go out there and play hard. I have a long way to go, but I’m still hungry.”

The Magic simply dominated this game. They shot 51percent from the floor. They outscored the Celtics by 27 points from behind the arc and blocked eight Celtic shots.

This was the Celtics second seven game series this playoff season and they looked a step slow. Playing without All-Star forward Kevin Garnett and reserve forward Leon Powe, the C’s just didn’t have the legs for yet another playoff miracle. 

“We still felt like this was a team that could have gone to the championship and won it, regardless of the injuries,” said Pierce who scored 16 points.

The Celtics trailed by five at the end of the third quarter, but that would be as close as they would get. The Magic scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter. The Celts closed within 12 on a three by Ray Allen who led the C’s with 23 points, but that was the last gasp. Five straight points by Turkoglu iced the game for the Magic.

We learned a lot, coming in here and beating the world champs on their floor,” Howard said. “Everybody was talking about experience. The biggest thing was effort and energy. The team that played the hardest was going to win.”
The Magic now head off to Cleveland for the Eastern Conference finals that start Wednesday night. The Magic won the season series against the Cavs 2-1, but the playoffs are a different beast. “Cleveland is playing at a much higher level than anyone else in the playoffs. We’re going to have to take it up another notch,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.
The Magic will most definitely have their hands full; Cleveland has yet to lose a game during these playoffs.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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