I love the music they play at Orlando home games nowadays. Big, epic, sweeping music from John Williams: the catchiest themes, featuring Star Wars and Superman among others.
Howard brought his Superman tonight, getting a double-double in the first quarter, throwing down some emphatic jams against the defending champion Celtics, who continue to suffer from injury-related issues.
While Leon Powe couldn't bring powe-r to the Celts, and Garnett's minutes limited his ability to get hot, the Celtics turned on the hot mustard to bring the game within a point in the last thirty seconds. Paul Pierce tried his MVP-best, but his magic couldn't outdo the home team's. One of the final plays of the game sums this sucker up: Pierce weaves among Magic defenders, goes for a leaning shot, and gets blocked by Howard. It was this momentum swing that brought down the Big Green.
Howard finished his fantastic game with 24 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He talked pre-game about how important this game was for his team, and he did not disappoint. He was on point the entire game, bringing energy to his team and his home crowd, especially with a sweet backwards alley-oop to finish out the half. Though he's out of the MVP race at this point between the King and his Wadeness, he's definitely be in talks for defensive MVP of the year, unless LeBron rains on that parade too.
Now, the Celtics and Magic are tied for second within the competitive Eastern Conference, and it looks like the second seed will come down to the wire like David Simon. No one can catch the calves of the Cavs, especially since no one has found an answer for LeBron and Mo "Nique" Williams, so second is the consolation prize.
Doc Rivers has said time and time again he'd rather have a seventh-seed with a healthy Garnett instead of the first-seed with an injured Garnett. I hope he's right. It looks like the Jameer Nelson-less Magic have got enough tricks up their sleeve to tie up the second spot.
Thoughts? Questions? Prayers? Bueller?
-Dave "Money" Maysmith