Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them
highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as
satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Celtics had done a phenomenal job defending the pick-and-roll
through the first three games of the series, but the Magic added a layer
on Monday by often having a second screener waiting for Rondo after
Nelson ran the initial pick-and-roll with Dwight
That left Rondo, who Celtics coach Doc
Rivers said after the game had already complained of fatigue early
on, running into wall after wall. With little more than a minute
remaining in the first half, Rondo retreated to the locker room with
strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo for what the team dubbed
"They ran double pick on the strong side," he explained. "We really
didn't do a good job on that. We didn't see it coming, but once we saw
it, we didn't do a good job of coming in and sinking on the big man. We
either fouled somebody or they scored it every time down. It's an
adjustment we're gonna have to make in practice and see if we can do
Rivers noted that it's not just on Rondo to fight through the screens,
but a team effort to deny the play.
"They do it every game, that's nothing new," said Rivers. "We've done a
pretty good job up until [Monday]. It's not just Rondo, though. He has
to fight through them better and get into the body better. But our bigs
have to show better."
What Doc said there was what I was talking about yesterday when I mentioned the pick-and-roll defense. When the pick is set, the big has to step out so the point guard using the pick sees a big Celtics jersey rather than the open floor. This way, he has to take a big, looping route rather than turning the corner.
Just watch the first 12 seconds of this play:
Dwight comes up and hits Rondo with a screen. Perk actually stays low on that and leaves it up to Rondo to fight over the top of the pick. That may simply be the C's strategy on Howard so he doesn't get a clear path to the basket. Rondo does fine getting over that, but then Rashard Lewis steps up and sets the second pick… and KG does a bad job of showing on Nelson.
Again, Nelson needs to see that Celtics logo, and KG needs to really ride him out. KG actually got into Rondo's way, springing Jameer and setting up that drive and dish for 3. Barnes missed, but the Magic ultimately got an alley oop.
Rondo, meanwhile, take a Howard tree trunk leg to the hip, a screen from Lewis and an inadvertent bump from KG… all on one play. That type of thing happened over, and over, and over again in Game 4. It's no wonder he went into the locker room early with "muscle spasms" in his leg. He probably kept getting whacked in that same leg (on more than a few illegal Dwight Howard screens) in all these picks.
So those screens did more than just spring a bunch of the Magic for a lot of open shots… they kicked Rajon Rondo's ass and slowed him down. Slow down Rondo, and you slow down the Celtics transition game. Slow down the transition game, and the Celtics loose opportunities to let cold shooters heat up.
Rondo's had a day to rest his bumps and bruises. The Celtics have had a day to figure out how to keep him from getting popped twice every time down. Making that one adjustment ends this series tonight for the C's.
On Page 2:Thibs has a job offer… or maybe he doesn't.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Yet it was not
immediately known how soon Thibodeau will make a decision on the
Hornets' offer, with the Celtics heading to Orlando for Wednesday's Game
5 against the Magic and with at least two teams — Chicago and New
Jersey — also considering Boston's defensive guru for their coaching
Hornets general manager Jeff Bower says the club has yet to make a
formal offer to any candidate for its open coaching job.
Bower says the team has had
discussions with many impressive candidates and will issue an official
update when the process is over and an agreement has been reached. He
says any other information should be considered unreliable.
A person familiar with the process told
The Associated Press on Monday on condition of anonymity that Boston
Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau is the Hornets' leading candidate.
Can we just say "Congrats Thibs" and move on?
He's gonna get the job. And he deserves the job. And once the Celtics win the championship, he can take the job.
Good for you, Thibs. This is going to make next year very interesting. And we wondered about Doc's coaching future before?
If the C's win it all, and Doc can go out a champion… and with the knowledge that the Celtics will very likely bring mostly the same team back, which would probably mean another rocky regular season next season… and now without one of his main guys….
…. are the stars really aligning for Doc to leave after this season?
The rest of the links:
Celtics: OT Loss aside, C's aren't the new B's | Magic make point in win | Total team effort | Orlando wants more | Aggressive Nelson picks Celtics clean | Hustle play by Rondo floors Cowens | Globe: Plenty of road work ahead | Magic hope to be in it for the long haul | Nelson is dangerous | Magic reappeared | Lakers lose, series tied 2-2 | ESPN Boston: 2 point play: Thibodeau, Nate | CSNNE: C's remain confident | MWDN: Souza: C's want no part of history | WEEI: A Day for Celtics Game 5 success? | Celtics Blog: Tony Allen: Identity crisis is over | Celtics Hub: a look at the last play of regulation