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.
Perkins posted his final six points of the game in the third quarter, during a frame in which the Celtics outscored the Heat 35-18 to assume a 74-61 edge heading into the fourth quarter. His final four points came at the free throw line — a place where he thrived against Miami by setting season-highs in both attempts and makes. His slightly unexpected offensive showing helped the Celtics atone for Paul Pierce's 0-for-10 shooting performance. Pierce, battling hand and foot ailments and expending his energy on the defensive end by guarding LeBron James, finished with only one point on the afternoon. In most cases, such a low offensive output from Pierce would doom the Celtics, but Perkins' post position and assertiveness filled the void and helped the Celtics emerge victorious.
"I thought Perk took his time tonight," said Garnett. "A lot of times when he gets into trouble is when he rushes or when he goes too fast. We look for him. We just tell him to catch the ball and go up aggressive. We encourage him to score. You have to understand, with this team you have multiple guys that can do a lot of different things and when Perk is scoring it's one more scorer, but more than anything it's another threat that the opposite team has to pay attention to."
First of all… I love that picture. Seems like a great block. I wonder how Perk had zero blocks in the box score.
Second of all… Perk did a great job yesterday taking advantage of a weakness on Miami. They just don't have anyone strong enough to contend with Perk. In fact, Miami's two weaknesses are at the point and on the post… so it's no shock that Perk finiushed with 15 and 6 along with a game-high +11, and Rondo finished with a triple double (yet somehow a -1).
Sometimes I feel like Perk's shots fall by accident, but they've fallen like that for a long time. You can tell he's not 100% back yet and he still needs some time to get his wind… but it's great to see Perk in there and contributing again.
Related links: Celtics need Perkins to score vs. Heat |
After the jump: Rondo defending LeBron made no sense, but it sorta worked
To be clear, this wasn’t part of the gameplan. Lawrence Frank, for one, turned to Rivers and said, “We can’t do this.”
But Rondo pressed on, hounding James up the court, keeping the Heat out of their offensive sets and rhythm and changing everything, really.
“I thought it was great,” Kendrick Perkins said. “We know what Rondo’s capable of doing and I think he turned it up another notch. I’ve never seen [anybody] make LeBron turn his back to the basket. That was huge.”
After a timeout, Rondo went to the huddle fully expecting Rivers to switch it up, but the coach had other ideas. He said nothing, and so Rondo continued doing what he was doing.
“Listen,” Rivers said. “Sometimes you go off the book. That matchup made no sense honestly. It hurt us a couple of times.”
Once James started taking Rondo into the post it was over. Rondo fought and tried to hold his position, but once James put his 270 pounds of mass to work there wasn’t much the Celtics could do except help and leave other players wide open under the basket.
You may never see this defense again, because it really didn’t make any sense. But that’s the thing with Rondo. He sees things others don’t and he has the ability to act on them.
I'll be honest, I had no idea what the hell the Celtics were doing when Rondo checked LeBron. But anything to get the ball out of his hands, I suppose.
Once the C's had successfully turned the rest of the Heat into last year's Cavaliers, Rondo had to do something to slow LeBron down before he completely took the game over and willed the Heat to a win. Keeping LeBron from dropping his head, bullrushing to the basket, and scoring/drawing fouls is a big deal.
Flanns is right… we might never see this defense again. Because the next time we see the Heat (April 10) we hope the C's have more healthy bodies to throw at them. And if we don't have more healthy bodies by April 10… then we've go bigger problems than "how are we guarding LeBron".
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Heat still can't solve Celtics | Wafer steps up for undermanned C's | Pierce to have MRI on his foot | How Davis re-discovered his rhythm | ESPN Boston: In your face | Pierce scheduled for MRI | WEEI: Chris Bosh: "I really hate losing to the Celtics" | Pierce to have MRI on foot, hand also hurting | Doc: Rondo's the smartest I've coached | Rivers: No quick return for Daniels | Herald: Miami takes strike 3 | Tiny bench, huge mark | Celtics love Heat of moment | Line for Pierce: 2 injuries, no baskets | Green wall real monster for James | Globe: Pierce to undergo MRI on left foot | Game photos | No substitution for reserves