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.
The Celtics knew coming in that with James and Wade, the Heat were going to run isolation plays all night to try and get their two scoring stars going.
“We had a great swarm,” Allen said. “Everybody was in position. We talked on defense. We knew every play they were running so when they ran it, [Rajon] Rondo was right there, there was no gap. There was nowhere for LeBron to go and then we were coming back out for the shooters. There was one stretch where we were letting those corner 3s [be taken] and we have to do a better job of letting them have those shots.”
Then there was this from Glen Davis, who along with Shaquille O’Neal was making life miserable in the paint for the Heat all night.
“We had seen every thing they run. and they run a lot of iso,” Davis said of isolation plays for James and Wade. “And the one thing about iso is you can guard that by throwing two or three guys at them.”
What's that? A great defensive team that's played together for years effectively scouted a team still figuring it out and used that knowledge to completely shut them down?
If it wasn't for LeBron leaning on his experience carrying crappy teammates in Cleveland and completely taking over in the 3rd, this game would have been a total blowout.
That's not to say this is how every C's/Heat game will go. The Heat have had no time to play together… and that really does mean a lot. Last night, guys were zigging when teammates thought they'd be zagging. Passes were a half step late or a half step early. That's just a function of no playing time together.
Miami will clean that up. But I hope the people who just looked at their talent and said "that will overcome everything" understand that basketball is still a precision game and no amount of talent will overcome a lack of continuity.
Nice win for the C's… tough loss for Miami… but this will have no bearing on how a playoff game goes between these two teams.
On Page 2: Rondo dropping dimes
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
"Well, there wasn't a lot of points, so there wasn't a lot of assists," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "But Rondo was just — I thought he was spectacular."
And that feeling was echoed in the Celtics' locker room, where new bigs like Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal gushed about Rondo's ability to get them the ball. In fact, they're still learning just to expect the ball in places other guards can't put it.
"My last six or seven years, I really haven’t had a point guard like [Rondo]," said Shaquille O'Neal. "Now I’m just getting back to what I’m used to. If I’m by the basket… I just gotta be ready."
And with someone like Rondo distributing the ball, Celtics backup point guard Nate Robinson noted the team can focus most of their energy on defense.
"We know we have guys who can put the ball in the basket with ease," said Robinson. "We're not worried about offense; We're gonna score. Shaq opens up the paint, [Kevin Garnett] as well, and Rondo finds the right guy. He had what, like 18 assists?"
Rondo had more assists than all of the Heat.
With his 2 points 6 assists (2 assists on 3 pointers) Rondo was in on every point scored in the 1st quarter.
Rondo scored 4 points and dominated that game. He got to the rim and when Miami collapsed on him, he picked them apart.
They're going to have to account for Rondo a little better next time… which will make it interesting to see what they choose to sacrifice in order to do it.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Layup line: Game 1 postmortem | Stats & Info: C's vs. Heat | Shaq on Pierce, Rondo, Allen | First impressions | Pierce: "Make this ride enjoyable" | WEEI: Legler on D&C: It became the Cavaliers of South Beach | Fastbreak: Celtics cool Heat hype | Grousbeck on Rondo's headband, LeBron, Wade & Van Gundy | Garnett: "Are we in the Finals already?" | Perk eyes late January return | Herald: Celtics halt hyped Heat | Celtics can enjoy, move on | Lebron's boo-fest | Pierce rises up again | Rondo dishes out big helpings | Patriots have big presence at opener | Big Baby just roles with it | Globe: A big 3 | Credit can be passed around | Photos | Shaq's debut a slam dunk | Video: KG and LeBron interviews | MWDN: Heat Checked | The long wait for Perkins | CSNNE: Cavs prepare for post-LeBron era | Bench stays true to its identity | C's "milking" Davis until Shaq, Jermaine catch up | ESPN: Daily Dime
Associated Press photo