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Rajon Rondo is stepping into his own as an NBA point guard. He's easily the fastest guy on the team… the best passer on the team… and the best ball handler on the team.
So why, in crunch time, do the Celtics insist on going away from running the offense that works to go to a Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett pick and roll at the top of the key? Why… when the Celtics offense is clearly at its best when Rajon Rondo penetrates and finds guys when the defense collapses… do you eliminate Rondo from the play entirely?
Is it because he "can't shoot"? There are two things wrong with that. 1: He's actually shooting pretty well 10-15 feet from the basket. 2: If you put him on the wing while Pierce and KG play a 2 man game up top, Rondo's guy will just slide off and sort of play free safety… clogging the lane Pierce so desperately wants to find.
Let Rondo's guy back off him at the top of the key. Let Rondo take a couple of jumpers around the free throw line. he's making those shots. Or let Rondo… the fastest guy on the court by a wide margin… penetrate and find someone.
And if, after 12-14 seconds nothing develops… THEN you let Pierce and KG run the pick and roll. That's plenty of time for them to work something out. But this 4th quarter walking the ball up the floor with Paul Pierce until KG decides to come up and set the pick is killing the C's offensive flow. It's no wonder the guys suddenly aren't scoring in the 4th. They're suddenly a different team when Pierce plays point-forward and the Celtics seem content to go 2-on-5. Ray has no reason to run off any picks to get open… Perk and Rondo just stand there… and the team pretty much just settles for one shot and that's it.
What I don't know here is whether Pierce is doing this because he feels like "I'm the captain, I'm the scorer, this is my time to take over"… OR… if this is a case of "I'm tired, I can't run through the offense to get the ball and still make a move, so I'm going to take 10 seconds to gather my energy for one big burst to the basket because that's all I got right now."
I'm hoping its not the latter. If it is, then Doc needs to not play him 40 minutes (Doc gets a pass on last night, with Tony Allen injured and no Nate Robinson/Eddie House). If it's the former, then Pierce has to recognize that he can still be the man who takes over while still running the offense.
Whatever the reason, you have to do what you always do to succeed. You can't suddenly turn into something else because the ripple effect is bad. I love Pierce and I think he'll still hit the clutch shots for you… but we can't sacrifice 3 other guys in the offense to guarantee that he'll be taking that shot. It's too disruptive and it does more harm than good.