ECF Game 5: We have a series

Man, between the Suns’ tying up the Lakers in the West and the Magic’s two-game winning streak in the East, the playoffs just got a whole lot more interesting.

A series of injuries to the Celtics’ bigs along with some timely buckets from Rashard Lewis (9 points in the fourth quarter) and Jameer Nelson (24-5-5) led to a decisive 113-92 win for the Magic in Game 5.

Dwight Howard posted 21-10 while J.J. Redick continued his fine play off the bench, scoring 14 points and hitting 2-of-3 threes.

Now the pressure shifts back to the Celtics, who need to close out the Magic in Game 6 or else they’ll have to try to avoid being the first team to lose a series after leading 3-0 by winning Game 7 on the Magic’s home floor.

Jeff Van Gundy didn’t think that the C’s would feel pressured since they have so much experience, but he shouldn’t underestimate the “making bad history” aspect of this scenario. No team wants to be the first in league history to suffer a collapse of this magnitude, and given the collapse of the Boston Bruins, it will definitely be on the C’s collective psyche.

Complicating matters, the Celtics will be a little unsure of the availability of certain players for Game 6. Kendrick Perkins faces suspension unless one of his technicals is rescinded (which is likely to happen) and Glen Davis may not be able to play due to a concussion he suffered in Game 5. Rasheed Wallace also left Game 5 with back spasms, so the C’s could be very thin on the front line.

If they expect to close out the series, the Celtics need better play from Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, who combined to shoot 8-for-25 from the field for just 19 points in Game 5.

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