Image via GotEmCoach.com
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.
Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett all hit the floor with 6:37 to play and the East trailing, 17-10. Orlando's Dwight Howard stayed on the floor with the group for the first series and Miami's Chris Bosh subbed in for him at the next timeout.
The performance of the four Celtics was otherwise forgettable. The quartet combined for 28 points on 11-of-23 shooting and were a combined minus-21 overall. Boston's contingent watched much of the final eight minutes from the bench, before Ray Allen got a late-game insertion (and made a 3-pointer to make it a one score game).
The West topped the East, 148-143.
Allen finished with a Boston-best 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting over 17 minutes. Rajon Rondo kicked in six points and eight assists over a Boston-high 21 minutes. Garnett logged a mere 7:32 of action, while Pierce kicked in six points over 11 minutes.
Typical Doc game…. played Ray too many minutes.
Ok, ok, I'm kidding, of course. Doc did what he came to do… give the guys a little bit of run together in the All Star game… get them off the court… and get them all home in one piece. Congrats for playing in the All Star game guys… you had your fun… you go out there… now let's go home and get back to the matter at hand: winning a title.
Just like the 3-point shootout, this little excursion failed to live up to the hype. Putting four Celtics out there with a non-Celtic didn't lead to an unstoppable scoring machine. It led to four guys from the same team half-assing it while one guy stood around confused. At one point Dwight Howard was spinning around in circles throwing his arms up in the air trying to figure out what to do before he finally just set a pick on someone. I don't want to read too much into that but it does make me think that the C's offense has to be run so precisely that even throwing one guy out there during a no-one-cares exhibition can still throw it out of whack. But that's just a knee-jerk reaction.
I have to fight the urge to take anything from an All Star game because it's generally 12 guys who are screwing around out there trying to make their own highlights. Except last night it looked like Kobe Bryant and 11 guys screwing around. He really wanted that MVP. And did anyone realize right away that LeBron dropped only the second triple-double in All Star history (Michael Jordan did it)? I had no idea until afterwards.
And let me just specify: We didn't make the picture and we're not happy about anyone getting injured. It was a joke someone else made. Go follow the link and tell it to them. I just found it funny because Wade just sprained an ankle and it's not too serious.
On Page 2: The C's face a few questions after the break
But there are concerns heading into the second half of the season. The schedule lacks high-profile games, but is back-loaded and contains a number of back-to-backs. Due to injuries, the second unit has not developed any kind of consistency and their playoff rotation remains a mystery.
The Celtics have positioned themselves to make a strong postseason run, but there is more to do between now and April 16 when the playoffs begin. Here are five key questions that will be answered in the season’s unofficial second half following the All-Star break.
The five questions center around some familiar themes: Will the C's make a move or stay healthy, the schedule, can the second unit jell in time, and where will Rondo be come playoff time. You'll have to read all the little subsections by following the link.
The Rondo question is an interesting one because as Flannery notes, the C's are using him a bit differently this season. They've designed a few plays where he has his back to the basket at different spots on the floor… either on the block or at the free throw line. Posting up in one thing… Doc said at the beginning of the season that he wanted more guys in post. But it's interesting to start such a hawk-eyed point guard in a position where he's not even looking at all the guys on the floor.
Rondo has also started shooting his jumper a lot more and earlier in the shot clock. I wonder (hope) if that will turn out like Glen Davis shooting jumpers a few years ago… where things started to click right around the end of the season.
Regardless, we are seeing one thing: Rondo is still very young as an NBA player. He is still developing his game and is, believe it or not, no where near the player he is ultimately going to be. I guess the question is…. how far along will he be come playoff time and will he be able to sustain enough dominance to carry the team through a playoff run when other teams force him to?
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: All-Star 2011: KG's last rodeo | Four stars | Friends and Foes | CSNNE: Celtics hear boos from LA crowd | Celtics vs. the world is an age-old rivalry | East falls short in flashy affair | Herald: Green garnering respect around the league | Midseason report card | LA Boo-birds don't bother Pierce | Kobe-led West answers conference call | Globe: Bryant guides West | Not all are invited to the party | Photos