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Magic’s dream season in peril

May 20, 2010
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

ORLANDO (AP) - Magic coach Stan Van Gundy slipped into his bed early Wednesday morning and started watching film, figuring he'd doze off quickly. It never happened.

"I thought that, OK, I'll get sleepy watching it and then I'll go to bed and get up and finish it in the morning," he said. "Your mind starts racing, so you don't wind down."

Orlando's play lately tends to have that effect.

The Magic, in an 0-2 hole, have put their dream season in peril heading into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday against the Boston Celtics.

Only three teams have ever come back to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games at home. The Magic have never rallied from an 0-2 deficit - home or away - and the Celtics have never lost a series with such a lead.

Translation: Orlando is in big trouble.

All-Star center Dwight Howard, looking to energize the Magic, delivered a message to teammates after a brief film session Wednesday. He reminded them they still have a chance - despite the long odds - to return to the NBA finals.

"There's no need to quit," Howard said. "There's no reason to say we're going down fighting, because we're not going down.

"You just got to think positive. If you think negative, then you're going to lose. Like I told our guys in the locker room, if anybody has any doubt, then we're not going to win, but if everybody's on the same page and everybody believes that we're going to win this series, then we're going to win it."

That would require a major reverse from the Magic's recent meltdown.

Vince Carter, who was called for a technical foul earlier in Game 2, missed two free throws with 31.9 seconds left that could have brought Orlando within a point.

The Magic had another chance to tie the game, but J.J. Redick wasted precious seconds dribbling the ball until calling timeout with 3.5 seconds remaining. Since the Magic couldn't advance the ball to the frontcourt, Jameer Nelson was forced to take a desperation three-pointer he airballed at the buzzer from beyond halfcourt.

Game over.

Maybe the season.

After winning 14 straight, including two playoff sweeps, Orlando likely has to win both games in Boston to have any chance to save its season - the season spent redeeming last year's NBA finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.



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