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.
Rondo had 10 points and 16 assists for his team-best 18th double-double this season.
But of the 16 assists, all but one came in the second half.
Even though Rondo wasn't putting up Rondo-esque assist numbers in the first half, Rivers loved what he was seeing out of his point guard.
"I thought he called an absolutely perfect game," Rivers said. "He's our pitcher. He called a sensational game. Coming out of time outs, he made sure guys were in their spots. Rondo played with great speed. When he plays with speed, he has power."
Rondo said the low assists total in the first half had more to do with his teammates making plays, than anything else.
"Tonight, it wasn't for me to make plays in the first half," Rondo said. "[Paul Pierce] had it going. Kevin [Garnett], Ray [Allen] had it going. I tried to get those guys the ball in their spots, and those guys, they made it happen."
The willingness to run a team and be a leader without having to do anything statistically. Who does that describe on the Celtics?
How about just about everyone? Yes, Rondo… and in this case especially. But we've seen it out of everyone.
Does that describe anyone on the Lakers? How about I put it this way. From 7:30 until :44 left in the 4th quarter, Kobe Bryant took every shot except for a Pau Gasol tip in attempt of a Kobe miss. It was a 7 point game when Kobe "took over". It was a 16 point game when Shannon Brown launched his shot at :44.
On the one hand, we've got a key player who did nothing statistically and was still perfect for the C's. On the other we had one guy trying to do everything statistically and he did nothing for the Lakers.
Just a nice little contrast, I'd say.
Related links: Globe: Fluid Rondo found the flow
On Page 2: Doc almost benched Nate
Over his previous eight games, Robinson had connected on a mere 16-of-54 shots (29.6 percent) and the start of Boston's four-game road trip hadn't been very friendly to him. Robinson was a combined 2-of-11 shooting, including 0-for-7 from beyond the arc.
"Honestly, I was going back and forth on whether to play [Robinson] at all," said Rivers. "But he was huge for us."
After the Lakers rallied within two late in the third quarter, Robinson produced a key 3-pointer, then added another early in the fourth frame as the Celtics built a nine-point lead. Robinson made both triples right in front of the Los Angeles bench and the Lakers didn't seem amused by his now-trademark wing flap after he made the big shots.
[…]"I had a little slump, you could say, off and on, but one thing about me is I never give up," said Robinson.
There is no way with Nate's recent performance that Doc WOULDN'T consider benching him… which is why I thought he would. But the fact of the matter right now is he's still our best option at the backup point until Delonte comes back.
So he's gonna get his chances. And he's gonna come up big every once in a while. He did yesterday. But he also had this stretch yesterday:
- 10:48 4th quarter: Nate Robinson makes three-point jumer
- 10:30 4th quarter: Shannon Brown makes two point shot
- 10:21 4th quarter: Nate Robinson misses three point jumper
So Nate drills one… Shannon Brown comes down and makes a shot… and then NINE SECONDS after a made shot, Nate is launching another 3. When my friend Nick screamed at the TV "why would Nate take that shot?" My immediate response was "because he's Nate Robinson."
Nate was huge yesterday… but he's good enough to connect on those shots every once in a while. It doesn't change much, though, in the grand scheme of things. He still needs to attack the basket more than he is (which is almost never) or he'll fall back into that slump…. and once Doc gets another option, Nate's chances won't come as often.
Related links: CSNNE: Robinson snaps skid vs. Lakers
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Notes: Lakers have trouble with elite, cut fires up KG | Celtics outshine Lakers | WEEI: Celtics write new LA story | Celtics prove they're NBA's best | Herald: Duel does what's needed | No regular win for Celtics | Ray Allen checks in on Kobe | Doc won't linger over fine | Globe: Group dynamic | Pierce, Allen take turns on Kobe | ESPN Daily Dime: Celtics show cohesion Lakers lack