ORLANDO // Stan van Gundy , the Orlando Magic coach, slipped into bed early on Wednesday morning and started watching game film, figuring he would doze off quickly. It never happened. "I thought that, OK, I'll get sleepy watching it and then I'll go to bed and get up and finish it in the morning," he said. "Your mind starts racing, so you don't wind down." Orlando's play lately tends to have that effect. The Magic, in a 0-2 hole, have put their dream season in peril heading into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals tomorrow against the Boston Celtics.
Only three teams have ever come back to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games at home. The Magic have never rallied from a 0-2 deficit - home or away -and the Celtics have never lost a series with such a lead. Translation: Orlando is in big trouble. Dwight Howard, the all-star centre, delivered a message to teammates after a brief film session in an effort to energise the team. He reminded them they still have a chance to return to the NBA finals.
"There's no need to quit," Howard said. "And there's no reason to say we're going down fighting, because we're not going down. "You just got to think positive. If you think negative, then you're going to lose. Like I told our guys in the locker room, if anybody has any doubt, then we're not going to win. But if everybody's on the same page and everybody believes that we're going to win this series, then we're going to win it."
That would require a major reversal from the Magic's recent meltdown. After winning 14 games in a row, including two play-off sweeps, they have to win both games in Boston to have any chance to save their season - a season spent redeeming last year's finals loss to the Lakers. "Like I told our guys who went to the finals last year, down 2-0 against the Lakers, guys just kind of gave up," Howard said. "I don't sense that in this team this year. We know what we have to do."