Can Rondo do it 10 more times | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Can Rondo do it 10 more times

Rondo in the lane
by DRJ

As Doc pointed out, the amazing part of Rondo's Game 4 performance isn't
even ON the stat sheet. It was that Rondo supplied the lion's share
of on-the-ball pressure the Cs had decided to apply in this game

There are only two guys in the Celtics playoffs lineup capable of
applying effective on-the-ball pressure on the opponent bringing up the
ball. Tony Allen, and Rajon Rondo. That is it. Rondo played all but 12
seconds of Game 4. TA played 26.5 minutes. TA applied the pressure about
half the time when he was playing (give or take). That means that Rondo
was the one applying on-the-ball coverage for about 30-34 minutes of
this game – albeit it was not applied on every possession (which would
have been truly superhuman).

It's hard to even imagine how much energy was required to do everything
Rondo did in Game 4. Think about it:

  • You must track the guy bringing up the ball for the Cavs, and harass
    him long enough to delay their sets by at least 4-5 seconds, preferably
    8-10 or more. (This gives your team an advantage on defense.)
  • Then you must guard your man in the ensuing set.
  • Then, if you're Rondo, you're positioning to get the rebound, which he
    succeeded in doing an astounding 18 times (playing with relative
    giants). And you're fighting to actually get the rebound.

  • And then, whatever happens, you're bringing up the ball and setting up
    the offense.

  • For your troubles, you get slammed to the ground. A lot (16 FTs in the

  • And you're fighting to get the offensive rebound too.

We say the words a lot: Oh, Paul carried the team on his shoulders (been
a LONGGGG time since we said that!), oh Ray “carried us” today. But we
never really mean it. Nobody can do it all. It takes a team, right?

Yes, it does. But Rondo did – really this time – do it all. The
performance was even more incredible than we imagined. Sounds like a
good thing, right?

Maybe not. Because it begs the question: HOW OFTEN will Rondo be able to
do this? Can he do it 10 more times in this playoffs season? Because it
seems like that's what it's going to take to make it to the mountaintop
– especially if Paul Pierce does not waken from the coma he appears to
be in.

I am – seriously, now – not sure it's humanly possible to do this
10 more times in these playoffs. Rondo looked pretty exhausted at times
in this game. Imagine trying to put out that kind of effort 10 more

TA was out there for a few minutes and was forced to beg Doc to take him
out, he was that exhausted. And TA is in pretty damn good shape.
Imagine what Rondo had to go through – doing more than TA – for just
about the full 48. This was…. truly…. amazing.

At the very least, Doc MUST find someone else to help apply the
on-the-ball pressure
. (Nate comes to mind.)

Also – a note to all the other players: When Rondo gets hit and is lying
on the ground, LET HIM LIE THERE A WHILE. He's doing that to
catch his second wind. Going over to “help” get him up immediately can
be stupid and counterproductive (looking at you, Sheed). Let everyone
worry for a few seconds more. The kid needs a break.

And one more thing. One final shot.

I'm pretty disgusted with Paul Pierce. When I watch Rondo play his heart
out like he does, I am disgusted to the point of nausea when I see Paul
lazily lose the ball on almost every dribble. Damn Paul – wake up or
get lost
. There's a true hero standing by your side. How can you
not give your all? How dare you??

Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

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  • CelticsinSF

    Please wait till the end of the series to take shots at Paul. He is not playing very well but you never know when you he will have the ball pulling up at the elbow again for the win.

  • With all the MVP chant yesterday.. rondo’s effort really deserves that. As a celtics fan at this point. I”m happy to have witnessed the great performance last game. Even if we do lose this series, it comforts to know that we’ll still have Rondo for at least four more years.

  • I too am frustrated with Pierce’s individual offense. But I’m not quite to your level. I know +/- isn’t a great indicator of a player’s worth on a game by game basis, BUT, without Pierce’s +10 in this game, we would have seen an overtime game, perhaps, or maybe even a loss. (yes I know +/- doesn’t work that way, but in theory)
    Paul is worth more than just points on offense. He still commands respect from the defense which widens the lane for all those Rondo drives. He pulls players away from doubling KG on the block. And he is a great option if the defense pushes them into a late clock situation.
    Defensively, who knows what LeBron’s numbers might be. He still brings us good defense. He didn’t get those 5 fouls picking his nose.
    For years Pierce has been turn over prone. He has his games where he coughs it up 4+ times, but he also has games with just one or two.
    Sure he needs to make some better decisions sometimes, but maybe his mistakes are amplified by how high we set the bar for him.
    As a side note, I was thinking today about Rondo’s game. I realized he is the only player on the Celtics who I have never been down on. Every other player at some point in the past three years I have thought maybe it was time to move on from. not Rondo though. Kinda nice.

  • Agreed man chill with that Pierce hating. Dude still runs the team no matter how well Rondo is playing. Rondo’s numbers were absurd no doubt but all those stats won 1 game. Pierce won 1 game against Miami with 1 shot. Rondo is deservedly getting all the praise today but the real key to yesterdays W was strong bench play (TA) and aggressive defense. Pierce is more of a rhythm player than ever now that he can not get to the rim at will, so foul trouble and guarding lebron really hinder his offensive game. Rondo is the man but Pierce still has 1 or 2 game winners left in his pocket for these playoffs so lets chill and stay focused.

  • You mean 5 years, the extension starts next season, if I’m not mistaken, which means he’s still on his rookie contract. Best bargain in the NBA.

  • DRJ

    Yeah… you guys are probably right. It’s a bit of an emotional response, because really… aren’t you just DISGUSTED when Paul not only misses practically EVERY shot he takes… but then goes and throws the damn ball away? There are times when it feels like he’s TRYING to negate everything Rondo is fighting so hard to do. I KNOW that’s not true… but it feels like it.
    And you know… asking an NBA player to play SOME offense while guarding a tough player is not exactly asking too much. It’s the equivalent of you walking and chewing gum at the same time. I mean… THIS IS WHAT THEY DO. It’s their job. This isn’t football. You play defense on one end, offense on the other.
    Perfect example: TA. Who’s covering the same guy. And better.
    Is there anybody who isn’t happier seeing TA out there these days than Paul? When Paul picked up those fouls yesterday, I was honestly very happy. I was that sick of seeing him get ANY playing time.
    But… yeah, he’s come back before. I know, I know. Just one last point: WE DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO GIVE PAUL TO FIND HIS WAY BACK. Our season is potentially no longer than 3 more games. The end looms over us. It’s perfectly arguable that tough decisions must be made RIGHT NOW… or that end will fall on us like a ton of bricks. You know bricks… watch Paul and you’ll see a lot of them.

  • CFH

    How dare Paul? Of course he shouldn’t get playing time based solely on past greatness… but his conduct over the past decade has earned him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to being judged as lazy or uncaring. He’s neither.
    You may have a point about Rondo wanting to lie there and catch his breath when he’s knocked down, and if that’s the case I’m sure he’ll tell his teammates. But in light of all the accusations of poor team chemistry and a fragmented locker room last month, I love that it’s their instinct not just to help him up if they happen to be standing there but to HUSTLE over to him.

  • CFH

    Saw your second comment about Paul, so I take back the first half of my comment above.

  • Perry

    Here’s another way of looking at it. By default, Pierce may benefit the most from Rondo’s offensive output. If Mike Brown caves to the media pressure of assigning LBJ to Rondo it will be easier for Pierce to get back on track. In fact, that move would likely take Mo Williams out of the series or at the very least neutralize D. West or Parker should they be counted on to stop Pierce. He’s too crafty to be kept down this long.
    Id the Celts can endure a 9 point game from Pierce and manage to only nail one three point FGM, but yet win the game, it really says something about their chances in this series.

  • Its not our season, Its their season. You aint on the team. They’re gonna smoke the cavs so lets not get into this apocalypse season talk. And you all are crazy talking about happier with TA over pierce. Great for TA playing well, excellent defense and excellent energy, unfortunate he’s left off your banner. Thats his job as a bench player and good to see him do his job once in about 5 seasons. Pierce is the money maker and I have nothing but confidence in him. Throw him under the bus now but we all know that you all are gonna be the first to come out with some poetic homage post after he comes through in the clutch once again. Recognize the game:

  • DRJ

    The thing is… we CAN’T wait till the end of the series. The end of the series could easily be the end of the season if something doesn’t change. I’m worried.

  • DRJ

    I am aware of and appreciate all that Paul has done for this team in the past. Here’s the problem, now: time is coming to an end. This team CANNOT WAIT for him to wake up and get his game back, because we potentially have only 3 games left to our season if he doesn’t. That sword hanging over the team’s head makes this moment extremely critical. What to do about Paul?

  • G4L

    Its true.. I wouldn’t of even thought about the energy Rondo spent… he just makes it seem so easy. great job DRJ!

  • Good post DRJ.
    My fear is that usually it’s the day after the day after that the main soreness sets in, which is right when this one falls on Tuesday, with a plane trip in the middle.
    Actually, I think the best case scenario is simply, “Rondo doesn’t HAVE to do this again because the rest of the guys bring it”

  • Sami

    That would be nice if the others brought it on Tuesday. If they looked at each other and said we aren’t a one man team like the team we’re playing we are a full team and went out and gave Rondo some help.

  • SydneyCeltic

    I agree completely that Rondo was amazing. I’ve adored that kid’s play for a while now and it’s awesome to see him really owning it out there.
    I’m not quite ready to give up on PP yet. Maybe I’m just in denial, but I love that guy and he’s done plenty good for this team in the past. I hope he wakes up and gets things moving.

  • DRJ

    Correction: Rondo played all but 1:12 of the game, not all but 0:12. (NBC, my source, STILL has it wrong.) Realized it when I rewatched the game — which was great fun. I noticed something else… Rondo seemed MOST energetic at the very end of the 4th quarter. Go figure. Kid must be some kind of mutation.