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 Rondo’s not out there, the dynamics of the team change because I’m a guy who gets a lot of stuff off fast-breaks, off of cuts, you know, find and be wide open," said Pierce. "Then you insert maybe Nate or Marquis [Daniels] and then maybe it’s a different way that I approach the game. I may have the ball in my hands a little bit more. But we’ve played a few games now without Rondo and we’ll make the necessary adjustments. There's certain plays that we’re comfortable running with Rondo, just because he’s been in the system, and they work great for us and not so well maybe with Nate, but he’s only been in the system for a year and some change.
"They definitely have two different packages when each of them is on the court, and we’ll see how it all works out, but with either one we feel like they give us something different, being that Nate is more of a shooter and scorer; Rondo, he’s more dynamic with his passing. But if we have neither one of them, then maybe I’ll take over some point guard duties, or it’s time for someone like Avery Bradley to step up, or maybe Marquis."
I'm not exactly thrilled with the idea of the C's going up against Chauncey Billups and the Denver Nuggets without an actual point guard… although Pierce could match up against Chauncey's strength.
Regardless, this is Paul just confirming things we already know. Rondo is a game-changing point guard. For some reason, some people still can't seem to grasp that he's that good and has that much of an effect.
Nate Robinson, as well as he's been playing, couldn't be a more opposite player than Rondo. Nate, in the last game, pulled up for a 3 with :20 left on the shot clock. In the 4 seconds after he got the ball, he was shooting it. That's Nate. Luckily, the Nets are not only not that great a team, they played about as poorly as you could play… but that type of mentality can have a huge ripple effect on the game.
Like Pierce said, he's not going to be cutting to the hoop and getting easy baskets from Nate. He's going to have to work 1-on-1 and manufacture his own shot. Most of the guys will. It's not to say that they can't. And it's not to say that Nate will completely ball-hog because he adjusted his game nicely and did finish with 6 assists. But he's still no Rondo.
So you're not going to see that same fluid offense with Rondo on the bench. But we shouldn't worry too much about the starters in this situation. They're going to figure it out. Pierce, Ray, KG… they'll find their stride. But with so many guys potentially out, it's the second unit that will struggle the most. They're just starting to find a good stride… mixing that up hurts that.
I won't be really comfortable with any lead and I'm not gonna feel great if the starters come out flat because there won't be many options to pick them up. We're just going to have to deal with it, though… because this is NOT the time to push guys into playing when they're not fully healthy.
Just one side note: It's nice to see Pierce talking about having to play some point and being willing to do so. I know some Eastern Conference small forwards who would not take his talents to such a position when the team needs it.
On Page 2: Can the C's stay hot in December?
The schedule this month is a minefield. A tough matchup with the Nuggets is followed by road games at Philadelphia, Charlotte, and New York. There are two meetings with improved Indiana, a home matchup with athletic Atlanta, a Christmas Day game against Orlando, a meeting with Detroit, and a New Year’s Eve game with New Orleans.
[…] “We can’t get too comfortable with the win streak,’’ said Paul Pierce. “We’ve been playing well and everything, but we’ve got to understand we got bigger goals, and it’s not about a seven- or eight-game win streak but for the long run and expect a hungry Denver team coming in.’’
A bunch of nagging injuries + a schedule that features some tough teams = a let down?
It might happen, sure. But like I just said, the C's are going to need to get healthy. You don't hold a parade for walking into December with the East's best record.
The C's go to Philly tomorrow night… and now's not exactly the best time to be playing back-to-backs. So I'm weary about that game. Then you've got the Knicks/Hawks back-to-back next week (do we ever NOT play the Hawks on back-to-back nights?) which will be a challenge since they're both run-and-gun teams.
So there is definitely some letdown potential here. The good thing is the C's are the top team in the conference… so even a little fall won't hurt them too much. Hopefully guys get healthy quickly. Maybe they can get whatever hotsauce is in Delonte's bag that makes him such a quick healer. Because otherwise, the next few weeks could be tough.
Related links: ESPN Boston: Hot start nothing new for Boston
The rest of the links
ESPN Boston: C's on Melo trade rumors | Rivers remembers Reynolds | WEEI: Russell on the NBA, Celtics, and more | Globe: Nuggets thumbnails | CSNNE: Celtics-Nuggets Preview | Antoine Walker signs with Idaho Stampede | Melo a load to deal with for Pierce, Celtics | MWDN: Pierce preps for Melo, Nuggets | Herald: Shaq-a-claus a bag of fun