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3-point play: Good, bad, ugly

ORLANDO -- A trio of ESPN.com stories after the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday at Amway Arena:

Hollinger: C's proving you can turn it on and off

You can't just turn it on for the playoffs ... um, right?

AP Photo/John Raoux

Tony Allen and his teammates had reason to celebrate after Tuesday's Game 2 triumph.Maybe you can after all, at least if you've done it before. The Boston Celtics, champions in 2008, limped through the final two-thirds of the regular season and were mostly counted out heading into the playoffs.

Magically, all that changed once the postseason started. Boston blew past Miami in five games, shocked Cleveland by winning the final three games -- including a 32-point rout in Game 5 -- and continued its stunning run by beating Orlando 95-92 on Tuesday to take a 2-0 series lead in their best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Saturday in Boston.

The Celtics have won five straight games against the East's two regular-season heavyweights -- Boston's first five-game winning streak in more than half a year -- and as a result has one foot in the NBA Finals and is six wins away from claiming a second championship in three years.

So ... did they just turn it on for the playoffs?

"I know it's starting to look that way," said Paul Pierce, who scored a team-high 28 points and shook off a second-quarter chop to the face from Dwight Howard that resulted in a flagrant foul.

But he insisted that the Celtics' charge really began in the final 10 games of the regular season. The results weren't there yet -- they lost three times to lottery teams -- but the spirit was.

"We were seeing that we were turning the corner," said Pierce. "Even though some of the things didn't result in wins, I thought coach really saw some things that we did in those last five or 10 games that were positive things that we really didn't do for most of the season. I think we saw it coming, [so] we stayed positive."

Click HERE to read the full story in today's Daily Dime.

Friedell: Magic stumble down the stretch

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Stan Van Gundy looked like he was going to have a heart attack at about 37 different points on Tuesday night.

The emotional coach always appears to be on the verge of a breakdown but he seemed especially combustible throughout Game 2.

He had reason to be.

Once again, his team didn't look very sharp; at times they looked better than they had in Game 1, but they certainly didn't look like the team that had steamrolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Van Gundy's bunch looked flustered and rushed on offense and never seemed to get on track. It was a common theme that haunted the Magic all the way until the end of the game -- literally.

Trailing by three points with 34.7 seconds left, Van Gundy drew up a play that appeared to work perfectly. Vince Carter quickly drew a foul on Paul Pierce and went to the line with a chance to cut the lead to one. There was enough time left on the clock so that the Magic could get the ball back and go for the winning shot with a defensive stop.

As it has all series so far for the Magic though, things did not go as planned.

Carter clanked both free throws and the Celtics lead stayed at three.

Van Gundy stood on the other side of the floor with his arms folded just shaking his head and starting at the scoreboard. He couldn't believe what was going on -- but that would seem like nothing after the next series of events.

Click HERE (then scroll to No. 9) to read the full story in today's Daily Dime.

Referee DeRosa tosses ball at fan

The NBA is investigating an incident between referee Joe DeRosa and a fan at halftime of Tuesday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals between Orlando and Boston.

DeRosa was walking to the scorer's table to get the warm-up jackets for his crew, a common practice before the trio of referees leave the floor at intermission. A fan behind the table approached DeRosa, gesturing with his arms and appearing to be shouting at the veteran official.

DeRosa flipped the game ball to the fan, who tossed it back. DeRosa then motioned for the man to be ejected by security.

Click HERE to read the full story.