3-point play: Let's get physical

ORLANDO -- A glance at ESPN.com's featured stories after the Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday at Amway Arena:

Forsberg: Sorry Dwight, this time it's different

You can almost picture the scene: The Celtics bunkered down for film study at their practice facility, coming off an intense six-game series with the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers, and watching tape of the Orlando Magic essentially waltz through the first two rounds of the 2010 NBA playoffs.

AP Photo/John Raoux

Kendrick Perkins made life difficult for Dwight Howard all evening long.But what stands out most is how the opposition offers little in the way of resistance against Dwight Howard, allowing Orlando's uberathletic center to get to the rim uncontested and convert an array of dunks and layups.

The Celtics are half appalled, half salivating. It won't come that easy against them, they promise each other.

And for all 39 minutes he was on the court in Sunday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, absolutely nothing came easy for Howard as the Celtics took turns hacking away at him en route to a 92-88 triumph at Amway Arena.

Howard finished 3-of-10 from the field for a pedestrian 13 points and a condemning minus-9 in the plus/minus category.

But that's not the most impressive nine on the stat sheet. That would be the nine fouls the Celtics committed on Howard, whacking him four times in the first quarter alone and letting him know that he'll have to earn every point he accrues this series.

"You gotta be physical, he plays physical," said Rasheed Wallace. "That was the thing we looked at on film; over the last two series, guys just let him do whatever he wanted to do down there. We're definitely going to fight him."

Click HERE to read the full story.

Sheridan: Boston's defense sets tone in opener

The Celtics didn't merely play a dirty brand of defense. They stayed home on Orlando's shooters and defended the 3-point line so well, the Magic went 0-for-9 in the first half. They were active with their hands, poking balls away, getting their mitts on loose balls, stepping into passing lanes and coming up with eight steals.

AP Photo/John Raoux

Vince Carter finds traffic while driving to the basket.Through three quarters, as Boston was building a 20-point lead, the Magic were making less than 38 percent of their shots. Yes, they recovered and made a late run at the end as the Celtics went more than five minutes without scoring a single point, but it was a quintessential case of having too little, too late.

"It was a defensive game, and we like those. That was fine with us," said Boston coach Doc Rivers, whose team clearly benefited from going up against an opponent that hadn't played a game in a week and hadn't played a tough team in more than a month.

And these Celtics were tough, frustrating Dwight Howard not only with their fouls, but also with their ability to push him away from the basket and take him away from his low-post comfort zone.

Kendrick Perkins was able to do it a year ago when the Celtics (without Kevin Garnett) took the Magic to seven games, and Wallace had done it in the past, when Orlando could never get past the Detroit Pistons back when Wallace was one of their defensive anchors.

"They're going to try to frustrate me and get into my head and play head games, and I have to do my best to maintain my focus," said Howard, whose 13 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks were discounted by his seven turnovers. "I got into a little wresting match with all their guys, and that's to their advantage. That takes me off my game."

Click HERE to read the full story.

Hollinger: Magic start slowly in Game 1 loss

Was it rust? Or did it signify deeper problems?

AP Photo/John Raoux

Ray Allen elevates towards the rim.We won't know the answer to that question until the rest of the series plays out, but let's start with the facts we do know: The Orlando Magic barely showed up on offense until midway through the third quarter, amassing a deficit so large that not even the Celtics could blow it, and that was the key to the Magic's 92-88 Game 1 defeat to Boston.

Of particular note was the first 16 minutes, when Boston frustrated Orlando at every turn by getting hands on balls, running shooters off the 3-point line and denying Dwight Howard quality looks on the block. With eight to go in the second quarter, the Magic had amassed the pathetic total of 14 points and already were down 15 points; essentially, they built themselves a hill too great to climb.

"I don't think we were prepared for the level they were ready to play," said Vince Carter, who was just about the only Magic player to show up in the first quarter and a half and finished with a team-high 23 points. "They were ready to go from the jump, and we weren't on their level from the beginning."

"We were anxious," said Howard, who struggled to a 3-for-10 night and was responsible for seven of the Magic's 18 turnovers. "I don't think we moved the ball like we needed to get them off our bodies. That's what we have to do to beat this team."

From the middle of the second quarter on, the Magic looked more like the Orlando Magic team that had contested the previous 90 games, but so great was their deficit that they couldn't come back despite exploding for 41 points in the final 14 minutes -- including an incredible intentional free-throw miss and layup connection by Carter and Jameer Nelson.

"We fought like heck to get back in the game," said Carter. "Unfortunately, when you're down that many points -- when they defend like they do, it's going to be tough."

Click HERE to read the full story.