Your Morning Dump… Where Pierce is working his ass off on D | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Your Morning Dump… Where Pierce is working his ass off on D

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here…
highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as
satisfying as a good morning dump.

LeBron James wanted to touch the
ball, and Paul Pierce wouldn’t let him.

On the first possession, Pierce
essentially turned himself into a picket fence, denying James the ball
on the wing. The Cavaliers had to go down low to Shaquille O’Neal, who
missed a 9-footer. James took just five shots in the quarter — half of
what he took in the first quarter of Game 3.

The message after just one play was clear.
If the Cavaliers were going to get the ball to James, they were going
to have to pass it through Pierce.

Globe – Defensively, Pierce in Denial

Pierce isn't getting any credit for his defense in this series. All credit for LeBron's lethargic play has gone to Mr. Elbow.

Another factor in Pierce' struggles – foul trouble.

Pierce’s foul trouble has made finding a rhythm difficult. In Game 1,
three first-half fouls made him tentative after the break. In Game 2, he
played just 12 first-half minutes with three fouls chained to his
ankles. He made it through Game 3 without getting called for a foul, but
Sunday he stretched five fouls out over 31 minutes.

“You’re used to playing your minutes and you’re coming out at a point in
the game where you’ve got to really pick it up offensively,’’ Pierce
said. “I’m digging myself a ditch as far as with my fouls. But I think
they’re good fouls that I’m giving, some bad ones, but that’s the way
the game goes. That’s not something I’m really worried about. I know
it’s something I can do a better job to control.’’

Because LeBron isn't going anywhere, we likely won't see a drastic change in Pierce's offensive game this series. But… if he can generate 20 points, or carry the Celtics offense for one quarter (8-10 points), that should be enough to help the Celtics win.

On Page 2, the Cavs keys to slowing down RR.

1. Use LeBron

In Game 4, Anthony Parker played for 42 minutes and spent almost all
of them guarding Rondo, who played 47 minutes. By the end of the game,
Parker was clearly gassed and it contributed to Rondo's strong finish.
The Cavs will likely give Parker some support to reduce his minutes on

But do not expect James to guard Rondo exclusively; that job will
still probably belong to Parker. James is likely to spell Parker and
perhaps pick up Rondo in the fourth quarter if the game is close.

2. Stop the rebound running

So the Cavs will likely be much more aware of Rondo's positioning after
shots, especially on long jumpers. Rondo's defender may be assigned to
box him out at all times while other players, such as the guard assigned
to Ray Allen, would be assigned to get back to protect against the fast

3. More ball pressure

Look for the Cavs to stay closer to Rondo in halfcourt offense, mixing
it up more with giving him space. It could well resemble mixing up
bump-and-run coverage and cushion coverage by a cornerback in football.

Cleveland Plain Dealer

John has already diagrammed plays for beating the Lebron-on-Rondo coverage. If John can see it, then imagine what Doc Rivers is coming up with.

If James is guarding Rondo, he'll need to perform numbers 2 and 3 in the above list. Does Cleveland really want LBJ pressuring Rondo full court?

The rest of the links:

Herald – Pierce still a factor | King's throne off kilter | Rondo stays humble | CSNNE – Chess match continues | Globe – James may come to their defense | Unfazed Rondo in great company | WEEI – Good Tony arrives just in time | Pierce meet David Ortiz | ESPN Boston – Spike Lee rooting for Boston |

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  • MikeinNYC

    True he’s playing good d but still needs to limit the turnovers. He looks slow on the ofensive side. Truth gets a lot of slack from me but him stepping up at some point in this series could be the differece esp. if Lebron decides to “check” Rondo.

  • Orb

    What actually wouldn’t surprise you in tonight’s game? I could see everything from a 30 point blowout (by either team) to a down-to-the-wire thriller. I’ve missed seeing maybe two games all season, and I have NO IDEA what to expect from this team. Pierce could score 30 or 3, and you’d still have no idea.
    At the end of the regular season I kept thinking that it’s harder to root for an underachieving great team than an overachieving OK team with heart. My expectations for the postseason lowered to the point that the Cs are definite underdogs in this series, but in the back of my mind I think about November when they would have been the favorites. I’m hoping for the best, but from where I sit it’s a total roll of the dice right now. Except Rondo of course, whom I expect to be AWESOME.

  • Rondo will be awesome, watch him toy with lebron guarding him.
    Goddamn… what’s wrong with those Hawks, they could at least try. Got blown out twice in the sweep by the magic. Now they get a week of rest…
    Happy for phoenix though. Should be fun watching them give lakers hell. I think they have a legit chance to beat the lakers, considering how much better their bench has played to the L.A. bench.

  • Double P Reppin the B

    I’m so interested in seeing how this game plays out tonight. I’m pretty sure the winner of this game tonight will win the series so it’s all or nothing really and we NEED pierce and ray ray to bring it tonight. Sheed too.