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.
Some doubt that Rondo can maintain this kind of pace, but don’t count his teammates among those numbers.
“Why not?” Kevin Garnett said. “Who says that? Let’s see. It’s all about the flow and us hitting shots. He’s in a groove. He knows when to attack. He’s mixing it up really well. Who says he can’t? I played with Steph (Marbury), I played with Terrell Brandon, I played with Sam Cassell – those are more scorers. I never played with an all-around point guard who can play defense, set the tone offensively and defensively. Basically he just took the game over in every category . . . I’ve never had that.”
“Do’s in a nice groove right now. His vision is uncanny right now – the fact that he’s seeing everything, the fact he’s getting everyone involved says a lot.”
Said Ray Allen: “I think he can keep it up – don’t see why he can’t. But we have to keep it up as a team. I don’t want to start worrying about numbers for him. You never want to feel disappointment if it’s an eight-assist night. Some nights you shoot 10 shots, some two, some 19. It all evens out.”
This is the best side effect of Rondo's greatness.
If the team wants to really keep this kid's roll going… if they want to see him continue to get 15, 18, 20 assists in a game.. they've got to finish. That means you can't slack off. That means you've got to go to the rim. That means you've got to move without the ball to get to open spots.
So let's see if Rondo's teammates put out the extra effort for him. It might almost be like all the fielders on a baseball team giving the extra effort during a no-hitter. They've got a guy who is hot… none of them want to be the one that costs him a shot at glory.
Meanwhile… let's see if Rondo can keep it up. He hasn't faced a team with a legit big man yet. Let's see if Andrew Bogut impedes Rondo's progress to the hoop at all tonight. Rondo has played a little differently when there's a tree back there… so we'll see if that changes at all.
On Page 2: Teams are playing Rondo all wrong
"I'd get in his face," says Thorpe. "You can go with size, or you can go with speed. But either, way, I'd try to hunt like lions do. One lioness goes out there and chases the prey right into the trap, where the other lions are waiting. I wouldn't need my one defender to keep him on the perimeter, that's impossible, but you can at least push him to places on the floor where things might be tougher for him.
"For instance, almost every team knows almost every other team's play calls. So you know which direction he wants to go as he crosses midcourt. I'd look at the data and see, of the different way he approaches the hoop, which areas of the floor, or approaches to the rim, give him the most trouble. Then I'd steer him there, with my best help defenders and shot-blockers ready to meet him.
"Then I'd mix it up. Keep him from getting comfortable. Out of timeouts, you might try someone else on him. If he brings the ball up the left side of the floor, maybe have the defense ready to force him to a different spot. Keep him from getting comfortable. It might not work, but sagging off him all night, that's clearly not working. At least you give yourself a shot. Maybe you can force a few more turnovers, and inspire a few more tough shots. That can turn a game."
Thorpe is adamant about one thing, whether you're talking about Rondo or anybody else: The room that makes jumpers easy to shoot does not necessarily, as is often assumed, make driving more difficult.
"The biggest myth in basketball," says Thorpe, "is that backing off someone makes it harder for them to drive. You give them so many more angles to attack, and you let them get up to full speed before even encountering a defender."
That's the truth right there. Backing off Rondo just gives him a running start to attack you.
Look at a defender in football: Does he want Adrian Peterson to have a 5 yard running start in the open field? No, because then he's got a million angles he can take to make you look silly.
This is the same thing. The concept is sound. Get up on Rondo and force him to go to a certain spot on the floor. The only problem is that Rondo can squeeze a pass through lanes that are barely big enough to fit a basketball through. So if you're going to force Rajon into help, then your rotations better be tight or else the guy giving help will be giving up a basket.
Here's the biggest problem with guarding Rondo: He doesn't give a damn if he scores… but he will if you let him. So what are going to take away? Are you really going take away the passing lanes and let Rondo score 40? The C's still have 5 or 6 other guys who can score 10-15 by accident… which means you're still giving up more than 100 points. That's not gonna cut it.
Hmmm… maybe Rondo is just un-guardable?
The rest of the links:
Herald: Jermaine O'Neal, Semih Erden tame Pistons | Wall 1 steal shy of triple double in OT win | Globe: C's rout Pistons | J. O'Neal at new starting point | Mates swearing by Rondo | ESPN Boston: Five from afar: You're motoring | Taking Charge | WEEI: The Three Pointer: Backup Bigs boost C's | Fast Break: C's pound Pistons | CSNNE: Rondo dishes assists at record pace | J.O'Neal finds touch | Grande: taking a realistic view on the O'Neals | Celtics Blog: Power Rankings (of NBA commercials)