So, here we are, Game 66. The final game of the season and, wouldn't you know, it actually means something. This isn't going to be one of those "rest the starters and get ready for the playoffs" type of games. No, it's going to be one of those "win and we get the 4th seed in the West and homecourt advantage against the Los Angeles Clippers" type of games.
Thanks to the New York Knicks, who beat the Clippers last night, we now have a shot at grabbing the 4th seed if we win tonight against the Magic. Now, normally I would say that this game would be a tough matchup and all, but, if we do lose to the Magic, well, it would be one of the worst loses of the season. Let's spell it out...
First of all, the Magic will be without Dwight Howard, who is done for the remainder of the season (and playoffs) after having back surgery.
Second, the Magic will also likely be without Glen Davis, who sprained his right ankle last night and will likely sit out tonight for precautionary reasons. That means we'll be seeing plenty of Daniel Orton and Earl Clark in the middle. So.... Sure, they helped the Magic beat the Bobcats last night, but, yeah, they beat the Bobcats.
Finally, the Magic have nothing left to play for, in terms of playoff seeding, so I expect them to do everything in their power to make sure they don't lose another key piece of their team to injury as they head into a playoff matchup against the Indiana Pacers.
There just isn't any other way to put this, but if we do lose tonight, like I said before, this would be the worst loss of the season. Hands down.
Now, we can't obviously get ahead of ourselves here, but what you look for tonight is Zach Randolph being reinserted into the starting lineup. See how he meshes alongside Rudy Gay, since, as our friend Stephen A. Loudmouth reported, there seems to be some sort of tiff between the two. I call B.S. on that one, at least in terms of impact on the basketball court, but it will be interesting to see how the team does respond to Randolph making his way back into the starting lineup. I imagine we'll be just fine, Mr. A.
So, yes, tonight there is a lot on the line. And, like I said, there is no reason why we should lose this game. J.J. Redick got his career game out of the way last night with 31 points against the Bobcats, so we probably don't have to worry about him shooting our lights out.
It's all playing out as we hoped it would. Now, we just need to finish the job.