Early in last night's game, Rajon Rondo was doing his usual thing: slicing through the defense, reaching way out with his right hand to lay the ball in, and hitting the floor. Somehow, Dwight Howard stepped on his left ankle, keeping Rondo in a crumpled heap for a few minutes before he gingerly got up. To his credit, he stayed in the game. To the Celtics detriment, he wasn't the same.
And THAT is the real reason the Celtics lost last night's game.
The Celtics came out slow, and Rondo was gearing up to be the guy that snapped the C's out of it. When he went down, he turned into a half-court point guard. He couldn't force the C's to run a step harder than they wanted. He couldn't just say "to hell with it, I'll be a one man fast break." The C's were forced to run through their offense almost every trip down, which allowed the Magic go stay with their guys, which forced the Celtics to take a ton of contested shots.
Rajon Rondo is that important. It didn't help that KG took a slight step back last night.
“Tonight I didn’t look as good as the previous games,” he said. “You go into it knowing you’ve got to do certain things to impact the game. With those things said, from the standpoint of being a presence I still thought I did a good job of being active. But playing against Rashard Lewis, one of the premier players in this league, it’s just what it is. No disrespect to anyone I played previous, but this is the high caliber of players.”
The good news is that Doc is going to start increasing KG's minutes next week.
And late in last night's game, I sent this message out on our Twitter page.
Win or Lose, Orlando is showing why they're really not built for the playoffs right now.
Paul Flanner summed up exactly why over on WEEI.
after blowing a dozen-point lead while Garnett sat on the bench, the Magic treated their home crowd to the following plays down the stretch:
Two clanked 3-pointers by Rafer Alston.
Another 3-pointer by rookie Courtney Lee.
A rushed, two-feet behind the arc, 3-pointer by Hedo Turkoglu.
After Turkoglu took that shot I sent this tweet:
Turkoglu took the worst shot possible in that situation. What a dumb, dumb, dumb play. Again: Orlando isn't built to win.
Herald: Celtics leave a Magical impression | History for LeBron, Cavs | Globe: Rally falls short | SI: Home is where the playoff wins are | Yahoo: Playoff matchup against Dwight Howard won't be fun | Camerato: House and son on Cartoon Netwoork