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.
When you made the change from Rondo to Rose gave more options to players in the game:
Well I think it wasn’t just Rondo, I think our team did not push the ball in the first quarter. When we got Derrick (Rose) in and Russell (Westbrook), the tempo of the game picked up for us. We were playing a very slow tempo and if we do that then we’re not going to have a chance to win. We have to play a little bit faster tempo. Then in the second half I thought Rajon did a good job of doing it. So our bench came through for us – Gordon, Westbrook, Rose, Rudy Gay, they all played very well coming off the bench.
USABasketball.com: Postgame quotes – Mike Krzyzewski
Coach K is being nice. Rondo struggled in this one. So much so that Coach K started Russell Westbrook in Rondo's place to start the second half.
We've seen it from Rondo before. He'll fall into one of those passive states where he's just not pushing it and imposing his will on the game. In the first half… particularly the first quarter… Team USA was content to shoot jumpers and they paid for it. They finished the quarter down 15-7.
In the second half, Rondo picked up his defense and USA picked up the pace. They finished with a 77-61 win, but Rondo only put up 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 4 turnovers in 14 minutes of play (full box score here).
Here's the problem Rondo will face: He tends to shy away from physical front lines. And that's all he'll see in international play. They'll stack bunch of trees into a 2-3 zone and dare the US to shoot… so Rondo's going to have to find his way around those guys. And there aren't going to be many bail out calls either, so he can't fling himself into the middle and hope for a whistle.
So it was a struggle for Rajon. This was really his first good test… overseas, hostile crowd, actual FIBA rules with international refs. He'll have to make a big adjustment. The good thing from a Celtics fan's perspective is that we now have a baseline for Rondo against which we can judge his progression over the next couple of weeks.
If he can figure this out quickly, then he'll learn some of those lessons we're hoping he'll learn and bring them back to training camp.
The rest of the links:
BallinEurope: 5 things to watch for in today's Spain-USA game | Globe: Absent Perkins still a team player | NESN: Avery Bradley still on the mend | SLAM: Olympics to include 3-on-3 basketball?