He's been a stud all season, shutting up the critics who questioned his ability to lead this veteran team. But as I've heard 2.3 billion times over the past two weeks, the playoffs are different. It's a new game. Can this 22-year-old carry over his superb play from regular season to post-season? As the Globe's Marc Spears points out today, he'll be tested. Mike Bibby, Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups are some of the guys he's likely to face. And that list doesn't include whomever comes out of the west. I loved Rondo's play all year, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm slightly concerned.
As for Kevin Garnett missing two days of practice, the Celtics are not worried. Sounds like his wife had a long labor. Trust me that's no picnic, but I doubt KG has been sleeping in some tiny chair/make-shift bed like yours truly. According to Steve Bulpett, KG will be back at practice today.
As we anxiously await Sunday night's playoff opener with the Hawks, it's time for some expert analysis from myself.
Mike Bibby vs Rajon Rondo: If my memory serves me right, Bibby isn't afraid to take and make big shots in the playoffs. But it's been awhile since he's played in a meaningful game. I do expect Rondo to use his lighting speed and take advantage of Bibby's defensive liabilities. Slight edge to Rondo.
Joe Johnson vs Ray Allen: Johnson can be an electric scorer, but I believe he'll put too much pressure on himself in this series and underperform. Hopefully Allen will let the offense come to him and nail open shots. Edge to Allen.
Marvin Williams vs Paul Pierce: Remember what a beast Pierce was in the 2002 playoffs and the 2003 series against the Pacers? I'm expecting big things from the Truth this go-round. Williams is a nice, little player but he won't be a factor. Edge to Pierce.
Josh Smith vs Kevin Garnett: I don't expect Smith to do much offensively against KG and the Celtics defense. But on the defensive end, his shot-blocking skills can come into play when Rondo, Allen or Pierce drive the line. Look for KG to be KG. Edge to Garnett.
Al Horford vs Kendrick Perkins: Horford's had a fantastic rookie season. Look for him to be a real pest with his offensive rebounds. Perkins needs to do two things: defend in the post and stay out of foul trouble. Edge to Horford.
The Celtics get the edge in the bench and coaching categories. I'm predicting a sweep with the possibility that one of these games will come down to the wire. Now for real expert analysis from someone who actually did research and didn't rely on their aging memory, try Scouts Inc.