I often wonder what opposing teams, their beat reporters and bloggers are saying about the Celtics after playing the Celtics. Here's a dose of 'enemy chatter' from New York.
The inches thing is what's haunting me, I think. I've always been fascinated (and tormented) by the infinitesimal difference between triumph and heartbreak in basketball, and tonight's biggest moments were, in fact, practically atomic. Look no further than New York's ill-fated final play, in which Kevin Garnett's hand occupied exactly the same slot of airspace as that bedeviling Jared Jeffries pass and his dive for possession grazed the last of the unpainted grains on the parquet floor. Those of you crushed by some decision from any party involved all have your reasons. Me? I'm going to lose sleep because something uncontrollable and imperceptible– a better-inflated basketball, a fast twitch here or there, a wayward fart– could have rendered the Knicks winners, but it didn't. Again. I'm incredulous (bitter, too) that that shit gets to decide NBA playoff games. Celtics fans are probably thanking their lucky stars for said shit.
He had me at wayward fart. It's the 12-year old in me.
On Page 2, love for Rondo.
As the guard spearheading Boston's offense, Rondo – fast as a rabbit and subtle enough to slip through crevices in tight spaces – popped 30 points into the Celtics' 96-93 win, rarely attempting a shot from more than 12 feet out.
His unrelenting speed was best displayed in spurts, highlighted by a stretch of 12 points in the first seven minutes. Early run-outs rippled into a wave of fast break points for the Celtics, with Rondo crashing down on backpedaling defenders as he either shifted his hips or contorted his shoulders. He both absorbed blows and initiated contact, controlling the pace as the Celtics outscored the Knicks 16-4 in the open court.
Even for the Knicks, notoriously porous on defense, Rondo's forays from end to end proved maddening. Willing to cede any jump shot from him outside 12 feet, the Knicks failed to curtail fast break points. His first non-layup field goal did not come until the second half. He knocked down an 18-foot shot with 4:33 left in the game.
I have not found much criticism of Buster Douglas' defense in Game 2. He was brutally bad.
It's one thing to lay-off Rondo and force him to take jumpers, it's another to lay-off him and permit lay-ups. Was he scared off due to foul trouble? Maybe. But that doesn't explain why Ronny Turiaf, Jared Jeffries or newly minted toughguy Bill Walker didn't flatten Rondon.