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.
After a bit of politicking, especially from Rajon Rondo, Doc Rivers has decided to shorten the playbook for this series. The coaching staff, in their attempts to integrate all of the new pieces in this lineup, ran into a few logistical issues.
“Rondo, as the point guard, would come down and call a set,” Rivers said. “Three guys would know it, one guy would kind of know it, and there’s one guy who doesn’t, and then the play doesn’t work. We as a staff went with what we thought we ran well.”
Rondo, probably the most frustrated person on the floor during those breakdowns, may now also be the happiest person on the floor.
“I think that’s a positive thing for the team, because you have to execute down the stretch,” he said. “Guys have to know 12, 13 plays, and we’ve got it down to two or three. Still no excuse. The guys who finish the game — the starting four and (Glen Davis) — have been together for the last four or five years and should know everything we’ve run. We still haven’t executed, though.”
From the fan's perspective, we'd see Rajon Rondo pounding the ball into the floor as the shot clock winds down. He'd then chuck up a horrible shot and we'd all scream at him without knowing he called two plays and neither were run properly.
This does not mean Rondo is free of blame for the Celtics offensive woes. But it does show that he knows what works and what doesn't and Doc Rivers trusts his point guard.
I'm not saying this playbook change is the magical cure-all for the Celtics offense. But in the playoffs, every possession is magnified. If it results in a couple of extra baskets per game, then that could be the difference in a game… or series.
Related link: MassLive: Celtics trim playbook
On Page 2, Jermaine O'Neal is ready to be a defensive stopper.
"We play very well together," said O'Neal of playing alongside Garnett. "I think we've seen at times, early in the season, we played very well together. Our length, our ability to get out on the perimeter and, if it's a switch, guard guards on the switch or show. [We] cover the back very well. I think what we do very well on that back end is seeing the play develop. We may be a step slow on the read, but we're quick enough to recover into the play and make the play."
Added coach Doc Rivers: "[Jermaine's] come along great; he’s been terrific. You could truly see him buying in to all the defensive game plans, talking a lot. I thought [in film watching], besides Kevin, because Kevin talks all the time, in the film, Jermaine talked the most. Kevin’s always another level, but I’m just saying, after that, it was Jermaine.
While I love Jermaine's focus on defense, he MUST rebound. There can be no more 0 rebounds in 15 minutes stat lines in the playoffs. His knee seems healthy. Like 100% healthy. Jermaine says there was zero pain following the 37 minute stint vs Washington. If that continues, it's likely we'll see Jermaine play better than he did at any point during the regular season.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Can Knicks make history repeat | The X-factor (Shaq) | Cs vs Knicks: What to watch for | CSNNE – Shaq still not ready, gives Cs best chance | Herald – Rondo vs Billups | No worries from Jeff Green | D-day for Shaq | Globe – Rivers makes sure team's focus is clear | MWDN – Celtics prep for series vs Knicks | NY Times – Cs depth could make all the difference | WSJ – It will take perfect storm to beat Cs | Jose3030 – The Association Part V |