Note: since there is no basketball, and we were supposed to have games, we will imagine there were games. With the help of AccuScore, Strat-o-Matic and Basketball Prospectus, we can imagine an NBA season even if there is not one actually going on. So with that, we begin to imagine the 2011-12 season.
The Magic and the Celtics have played some classic games in the last few years. It has turned into one of the most competitive and intriguing rivalries in the league the last few years. Yes, the score is typically low as the defenses take over, but the drama is always high.
So with Orlando on a six-game winning streak and Boston fresh off of an overtime loss in Miami the night before, it was another nationally televised matchup between the Eastern Conference titans. This game did not (or would not have) disappoint.
The Magic took a nine-point lead into the locker room and never lost the lead, surviving several Celtics rallies to secure a 92-87 win. The Magic had 18 offensive rebounds for a better than 33.3 percent offensive rebounding rate. The Magic had a 16-2 advantage on second chance points.
It was the kind of gritty performance that has characterized this win streak. Howard had 27 points and 14 rebounds. He could have had more too if he did not go 9 for 20 from the foul line.
Orlando shot 40 percent for the game and gave up 48 percent shooting to Boston. Obviously those offensive rebounds helped tremendously. Orlando won the rebounding battle 51-34 and got to the line 32 times compared to Boston's 14. Howard took a lot of those. But the foul trouble knocked the Celtics off enough.
What a glorious win. At least, it would have been had the lockout not taken the game from us.