Magic desperately try to stay in control

By Jarrod N. Rudolph
Globe Correspondent / May 22, 2010

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MAITLAND, Fla. — The Magic aren’t ready to concede anything to the Celtics. They are down, 2-0, and have given their counterparts full credit for two wins on their home floor. The Magic are coming to Boston with the understanding they have to win tonight’s Game 3, and the belief they’re good enough to get the job done.

“Boston came to us and beat us twice on our home court, so it’s happened before,’’ said Rashard Lewis, who shot 4 of 16, 1 of 9 on 3-pointers, and averaged 5.5 points in the first two games. “Why can’t we do it? Why can’t it happen again?’’

Three teams have come back to win a best-of-seven series after dropping the first two games at home. The Magic, however, don’t feel they need to go to the history books for inspiration.

Their approach will be simple and straightforward. The task of winning in Boston will be hard enough without complicating it.

“We know we have to go up there and win this first game,’’ said star center Dwight Howard, who had 30 points in a 95-92 Game 2 loss. “From then on it’s about winning one game at a time. We’re not looking at it as being down, 2-0. We see the series as 0-0 and we have to win this first game.

“All we have to do is play basketball. There’s no need to say ‘this is it.’ Like coach and I have been saying, you don’t want to think about going down fighting, you keep fighting. Our [objective] is not to go down and say we fought real hard, that’s weak. We’re fighting to win.’’

Focusing on Game 3 — and nothing more — is essential to the Magic.

“If we were 1-1 or up, 2-0, I would be saying the focus is we have to get ready to play Game 3,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It’s the same focus down, 0-2. It’s a basketball game and we need great, great focus going up there.

“I think our guys have had that focus the last two days. Hopefully we get a walkthrough [today] to get it in our head one more time and come out with a tremendous effort in Game 3.’’

Van Gundy will try to make sure his team doesn’t play desperate.

“Desperation certainly won’t win you anything,’’ he said. “I think you want to come with great effort, but you’re going to play very poorly if you’re playing out of desperation. If you’re desperate, you’re usually not in control of your emotions or anything else. That won’t get it done.

“It’s not all about playing hard. It’s not who wants it more. You have to play well. To do that you have to be under control.’’

A big part of the Magic’s focus and effort will come from Matt Barnes. The energetic 30-year-old forward won’t allow his teammates to let down. Barnes already has stepped up and asked to guard Paul Pierce, who had 28 points in Game 2 — a request yet to be determined.

“It’s still up in the air but I’m ready for whoever,’’ Barnes said. “But I want to guard Pierce. There’s a higher sense of urgency because the season is on the line.’’

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