Not even Rajon Rondo’s cockiness and pride could discourage this admission. On this night, and in the last meeting, too, Derrick Rose was the better point guard [...]
There’s no question that Rondo ranks among the league’s top point guards, but the Bulls star showed him what he lacks: a consistent jumper, the ability to finish at the rim, and a sustained interest in defense.
When Rose dribbled, switching hands, he looked in Rondo’s eyes and sensed vulnerability. All Rondo could do when Rose decided to take his muscular, 190-pound body to the rack without much fear of heavier, stronger bodies is stick his right hand in and hope for a distraction.
"They're not chanting 'M-V-P' for nothing," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "He's well deserving, how he's carried himself, how he's played. His play is doing all the talking."
In our never-ending quest to rank everything, people have now latched on to last night's game as the definitive "Rose is better" statement game. Which is fine. He's better at a lot of things.
As I said last night on Twitter, Rose and Rondo are two very different players who play very different roles on their teams that just happen to play the same position. You can't tell me Rose is a better passer than Rondo… and despite Rondo's disinterest in guarding people 100% of the time, Rondo is a much better defender than Rose is.
But Rose is the #1 guy and he's carrying the entire Bulls offense. And he's a highlight machine. So that's what people will pay attention to. And I won't deny that he's an awesome player. I won't deny that he's a top MVP candidate.
But let's not compare these two players. They're different. They do different things. They're asked to do different things. So you can't throw their stat lines side by side like TNT did and say "wow… look how much better Rose is!"
Last night, Rose was obviously better. Rondo was not very good at all. Rondo will have to be better… and he sure as hell can be… if there's a rematch.
On Page 2: Is there no switch to flip this year? And what the C's really lost in the Perkins trade
Rondo will be the first to acknowledge that this team isn't built to surge like that group did in the postseason.
"It's not the same team," Rondo said. "We're not going to be able to turn it on like we did last year. Even last year we came up short. I don't know what we're waiting on. But these type of games, we have to find a way to win on the road."
Call me crazy, but I don't believe him. Didn't the C's say this last year?
Rondo's right about this not being the same team, though. We're relying on Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to be something that they're not. And this is where I will accept some amount of Kendrick Perkins comparisons. What they lost in Perk is all in their heads. What the C's lost in Perk was a tough SOB who was absolutely not afraid to get in someone's face. They lost a player who plays angry all the time.
What they got back is Jeff Green, who probably holds the door for everyone and sends thank you notes to guys after they help him in practice. And they got Nenad Krstic who seems so confused right now that if this was a TV show, he'd have 4 or 5 disembodied heads swirling around him talking at the same time.
They're more than capable of doing the job. They're more than capable of not only figuring out how to play, but making the Celtics a better team. But the C's are not focused on being bad-asses right now. They're not the jerks that everyone thinks they are. They're out there teaching.
And when they try to be bad-asses, no one's buying it. That's why Doc says things like:
"We were clearly a front-running team," Rivers said. "Then right when we got [the lead], you could see guys jumping around, puffing their chests out . . . and they made another run and we hung our heads again. So, I just thought [Chicago was] tougher in every way."
The C's want be that team but they're not because they have all those new pieces. But the thing is, they needed new pieces because just having Perk around wouldn't be the answer either. The C's needed healthy bodies more than anything. Paul Pierce would have been playing 40 minutes a game. Von Wafer was our "maybe he can fill in" guy for Pierce afte Quis went down (doesn't that seem like forever ago?) and HE'S been out too. The C's needed to do something… and they did.
But that doesn't mean they can't be that team again. They can turn it on. The switch exists. And, believe it or not, Jermaine O'Neal is going to help that (if he can stay healthy). But the Celtics have to move on… and so do we. The "we'd have won if Perk was here" sentiment is a myth. I love Perk. I love his toughness. He's a bad-ass. But the C's needed more than what Perk could give them. That's the fact of the matter.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Celtics Bullied off court | Thibodeau talks up old pals | ESPN Boston: Can the C's get this right | C's get away from gameplan | WEEI: Celtics get gored in Chicago | No statement from Celtics | CSNNE: Celtics left behind by Bulls | Globe: Team set in their own ways |