Saturday , May , 16 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Do or die: How Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets win game seven

Tomorrow’s games are about more than winning the right to face Cleveland or Denver in the Conference Finals. Each team has a unique story with an interesting subplot. And a game seven win means something different to each franchise.

For instance, the blue-collar Celtics are trying to repeat as champs without their best player in Kevin Garnett. The Magic want to shake the Mickey Mouse label and take the next step as a franchise. And the Lakers are trying not to choke to the Cinderella Rockets …

Do or die: How Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets win game sevenFor four teams, Sunday is game seven do or die. 

In the Eastern semi-finals, Boston and Orlando meet in an all-or-nothing tilt, while over in the west, first seeded Los Angeles will attempt to hold off Houston’s upset plans in what promises to be a seventh heaven classic.

Tomorrow’s games are about more than winning the right to face Cleveland or Denver in the Conference Finals. Each team has a unique story with an interesting subplot. And a game seven win means something different to each franchise.

For instance, the blue-collar Celtics are trying to repeat as champs without their best player in Kevin Garnett. The Magic want to shake the Mickey Mouse label and take the next step as a franchise. And the Lakers are trying not to choke to the Cinderella Rockets.

Like I said, they all have their story. Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Houston could all advance to the final four provided they follow our keys to victory. 

How Boston Wins Game Seven … 

Ray Allen has been hot and cold all series. In Boston’s three wins, he is averaging close to sixteen points per game, while in the three losses he has scored a combined 22 points. Winning on Sunday is impossible if Allen, a future member of the Hall of Fame, doesn’t step up.

The green-and-white has to force Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu off the three-point line. And the Celtics have to make these forwards get their offense in different ways. Finally, Turkoglu can’t become a factor in the fourth quarter, especially with the game on the line. 

How Orlando Wins Game Seven … 

In the past, Dwight Howard shied away from imposing his will. Clearly, times have changed with the NBA’s premier five-man calling out his coach after game five and then leading his club to a game six win. Howard, to cement his legacy as a superstar, must deliver a win tomorrow.

The Magic can’t get rattled. They must play through their game seven nerves, particularly in the opening moments of the first quarter. Stan Van Gundy’s side is on the road, so it’s a matter of executing the game plan on both ends of the floor  

How Los Angeles Wins Game Seven … 

For months, the Lakers had nothing to play for. They coasted to first in the Western Conference and looked bored against a dysfunctional Utah side in the first round. Well, now the purple-and-gold have their hands full in a one game elimination against the Rockets.

Phil Jackson’s squad must immediately improve their defensive intensity. Limiting Aaron Brooks’ pick and rolls would be a good start. Collectively, they must slow Houston’s bread and butter set by defending the speedy Brooks and providing better weak-side help.

How Houston Wins Game Seven … 

The blue-collar Rockets are a load, especially when the referees put their whistles away come playoff time. Ron Artest, Shane Battier, Carl Landry, Kyle Lowry, and Luis Scola must set the tone physically in game seven.

On offense, Brooks, a second year pro, has to make the Lakers defend him on the pick-and-roll. Defensively, Artest and Battier have to goad Bryant into becoming a volume shooter and hope he has an off-night.

Finally, Artest must keep his alter ego, Ron-Ron, in check. Too much is at stake. An incident could cost his team the series. And the three-man needs to keep calm to change his reputation and score a big free agent contract this summer.  

What are your keys to Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Houston winning their game sevens? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of jrcacho.