Hustle and Flow… Did Rajon’s shooting kill Boston’s offense last night? | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Hustle and Flow… Did Rajon’s shooting kill Boston’s offense last night?

People (ahem, Chuck) have been getting on Rajon Rondo lately.  Some of it is warranted, some of it isn't.  The latest criticism of him came last night when he either (a) took way too many shots and disrupted the flow of the offense or (b) didn't take enough shots in the 4th quarter and disrupted the flow of the offense.  

So went back and looked at every one of his 27 shots to see how much Rondo dominated the ball, and whether it's his fault Paul Pierce and Ray Allen never could get it going. 

Shot #1: 11:22 1Q. Missed jumper in the lane

The play started with Ray running off a couple of screens, getting the ball and then giving it back up to Rondo, who then found Pierce on the right side. When Pierce had nothing, Rondo took it himself with the shot clock running down. 

Verdict: Good play

Shot #2: 6:50 1Q. Transition lay up (goaltending call)

He was all alone in transition. 

Verdict: Good play

Shot #3: 6:22 1Q. Transition lay up

After a Detroit miss, Rondo brought the ball up the left side of the floor.  With Detroit defenders backing off, he just kept on going and took an uncontested lay up.

Verdict: Good play

Shot #4: 6:03 1Q.  Lay up (and 1)

After a Detroit miss, Rondo came up the left side in transition.  Jermaine O'Neal picked a guy off in the lane.  Ray Allen may have briefly been open on the right, wing but a defender got in the lane quickly.  Rondo took it to the hole and drew the foul.  Paul Pierce walked up the court and never made it into the play. 

Verdict: Good play

Shot #5: 3:41 1Q. Post move lay up

The Celtics rebounded a Mickael Pietrus miss. Chris Wilcox set a pick and Rondo used it to get into the post.  Once there, the Celtics cleared out.  No Pistons collapsed on Rondo to double, so there was no passing lane to anyone.  Rondo finished with an easy reverse lay up.

Verdict: Good play

Shot #6: 3:20 1Q.  Missed transition lay up

Rondo got the ball off a miss and pushed it up court.  He tried to do a step-around move to get past the defender but it didn't work.  Ray Allen was running with him and Chris Wilcox was trailing the play.  Rondo forced the issue a little on this one, and probably should have slowed up a tick to find the trailer.  Hard to totally fault him for being aggressive on a fast break, but I've seen him slow down on plays like that before to find another finisher.

Verdict:  Questionable play

Shot #7:  2:42 1Q. Transition lay up

Ray Allen got the ball on the right side off a miss and fired a skip pass to Rondo on the left.  Rondo easily beat his one defender for the lay up.

Verdict: Good play

Shot #8:  1:09 1Q.  Post move lay up 

The Celtics ran a play to specifically get Rondo the ball in the post. Again, no one doubles, leaving Rondo alone to work on the defender.  The Celtics clear out and let him work, leaving him to score. 

Verdict: Good play

Shot #9:  29.8 1Q.  Missed jumper

Rondo calls for a clear out and just takes the jumper without any ball movement. This was a 2-for-1 situation so a quick shot was called for… but Rondo had the ball in his hands with 37 seconds left and should have called for a play to get a shooter open.  

Verdict: Questionable play

Shot #10:  6:24 2Q.  Pick & Roll lay up

Rondo sets the pick for Paul Pierce, who is the ball handler on this play.  Both defenders go to Pierce, who passes to Rondo.  Rajon pulls his patented behind the back ball fake to get in for the lay up.

Verdict:  Good play

Shot #11:  4:35 2Q.  Missed transition lay up

Rondo gets the bal on the left side from Pierce after a Detroit miss.  Rondo attacks and misses the transition lay up but he also missed JaJuan Johnson racing up ahead of the play and, as he's taking the shot, Ray Allen springs open in the corner.  Rondo was determined to shoot on this one.

Verdict: Bad play

Shot #12:  3:20 2Q.  Made 3

Rondo sets the offense and uses a pick to get to the right block.  He hits Paul PIerce with a pass, but Pierce bobbles it and is forced to pass back to Rondo who takes the 3 with the shot clock winding down.

Verdict:  Good play

Shot #13:  :44 2Q.  Missed transition lay up.

Rondo ran off of a made basket.  He beat just about everyone but forced a lay up.  If we're being hyper-critical of Rondo, you can say he should have just continued along the baseline and found Pietrus trailing the play for a jumper.  

Verdict:  Questionable play

Shot #14:  11:46 3Q. Made jumper

The Celtics work the half court offense, Pierce gets the ball and Detroit collapses on him at the free throw line.  Rondo was left wide open on the left side so he pulled up for a 10 footer and made it.

Verdict: Good play

Shot #15:  10:25 3Q.  Made jumper

The Celtics set up in the half court and Ray comes off the screen and gets the ball.  With nothing there, he gets it back to Rondo.  Pierces lazily cuts through the lane and sets a screen for Ray on the left, but nothing develops and Rondo takes a jumper with 4 seconds left on the shot clock. 

Verdict: Good play

Shot #16:  9:16 3Q.  Made turn around jumper in the post

The Celtics clear out for Rondo once again.  This time, though, the defense has decided to collapse a little, but Rondo spins baseline and makes the shot.  This, though, is the first instance of Pierce being open (sort of) and Rondo taking the shot anyway. 

Why sort of?  Because everyone is just standing and watching at this point, and Pierce makes no effort to do anything besides watch.  However, Rondo could have gotten him the ball as Tayshaun Prince sagged very deep into the lane.  Considering part of Rondo's job IS to get the other guys the ball, this would have been a chance to get Pierce a fairly open shot. 

Verdict: Questionable play

Shot #17:  8:39 3Q:  Made jumper

Rondo brings the ball up, calls for a pick and takes the jumper when the D gave him space.  Paul Pierce is standing and watching again, and there was no effort from Ray to get open or by anyone to get Ray open. If we're talking about getting Ray & Pierce in the flow, then everyone is at fault here.  Rondo just called for a pick & roll and was clearly not interested in passing, but Ray & Pierce were clearly not interested in getting the ball either.  Rondo made the shot, but this isn't what the Celtics offense is supposed to look like.

Verdict:  Bad play

Shot #18:  7:47 3Q:  Missed jumper

Ray comes off a screen and gets the ball but, after some dribbling to try to find a shot, gets nothing. Rondo gets the ball back and uses a Wilcox screen.  Off the ball, Pierce makes no effort to get open, or get into the post himself, or anything.  Rondo takes a step-back jumper with 3 seconds on the clock. 

Verdict:  Good play

Shot #19:  6:27  3Q:  Made hook in the post

Another post up play for Rondo.  These were working all night long.  The thing about these post ups is there is NO off the ball movement to get anyone anything else.  Rondo in the post became stand-and-watch time for everyone else.  Jermaine O'Neal could have set a back pick and Ray could have gotten himself to a spot… or Paul Pierce could have moved.  No one did anything… so Rondo shot it.

Verdict:  Good play

Shot #20: 5:44 3Q:  Missed transition layup 

This truly is the first play of the game where I can say "ok, this is a bad play by Rondo."  Rondo had the ball on the break. He had Pierce up ahead of him on the left and Ray on the right.  He forced the lay up and missed instead of giving it up to Pierce. 

Verdict:  Bad play

Shot #21:  2:45 3Q:  Made jumper.

Rondo gets the pick from Wilcox and takes the jumper when the defense sags way off of him.  No one else touched the ball, but he was on the floor with Dooling, Johnson, Pietrus and Wilcox.  None of the other players moved much.

Verdict:  Good play

Shot #22: :44 3Q:  Missed jumper

Rondo, clearly feeling it, takes the jumper again off the pick-and-roll.  Still on the floor with the bench. 

Verdict:  Good play.

Shot #23:  :02 3Q:  Missed jumper

Rondo dribbles the air out of the ball and fires a last second jumper.  I don't like this play becase it didn't really give the C's any options.  Again, no off the ball movement to really speak of.

Shot #24:  5:45 4Q: Missed layup in the post

Rondo passes up giving the ball to Pierce up top so he can take his man in the post.  He then forces up a shot that misses.  You could argue that he might have gotten fouled, but this was a selfish play.  You can also argue that at this point, the C's needed Rondo to be selfish because they'd fallen behind by 9.  Still, I'd rather have run that offense for a better shot.

Verdict:  Bad play

Shot #25/#26:  1:58 4Q

Rondo uses the Pierce screen to get way into the lane.  He fires a pass to Jermaine O'Neal, who gets it right back to Rondo for a wide open lay up.  Rondo missed the lay up, but his tip-in attempt was goaltended.  

Verdict:  Good play

Shot #27:  :57 4Q:  Missed layup

Rondo takes the hand off from Pietrus and sort of forces a lay up looking for a 3 point play.  The C's were down 10 with a minute left and needed a quick shot.  This was the best shot available.

Verdict:  Good play

There it is. Every play in detail.  The biggest problem with the Celtics offense last night, in my opinion, was Paul Pierce, who stood and watched for most of the game.  Like I said last night, it looked like he just wasn't there mentally.  Rondo's offense mostly came in the flow of the game. He had a couple of bad plays, but the reason Ray and Paul didn't get going was more a function of them standing around and watching Rondo instead of working to get open.  

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  • I wonder what would you guys do if rondo does get traded, who would you talk about, this kids gets it no matter what he does.They started off saying they want a pass first point guard, now that the big three have aged and cant get it going most nights, you want him to score, now that he is scoring its still a problem, maybe its time for rondo to leave beantown and go somewhere where he is truly appreciated.

  • Did you even read the whole post…? -> “The biggest problem with the Celtics offense last night, in my opinion, was Paul Pierce, who stood and watched for most of the game. Like I said last night, it looked like he just wasn’t there mentally. Rondo’s offense mostly came in the flow of the game. He had a couple of bad plays, but the reason Ray and Paul didn’t get going was more a function of them standing around and watching Rondo instead of working to get open.”

  • SamR

    Pierce didn’t play well, but Allen was unable to get looks off screens and failed to defend Gordon. I thought Allen was worse than Pierce. I thought Rondo played very well on the offensive end and was a mixed bag on D. Really, I think we’ve gotten to the point where Rondo needs to take open shots, make or miss. With O’Neal not much of an offensive option, if Rondo doesn’t shoot you’re basically playing 3 on 5 on the offensive end now that more teams are copying the Lakers’ sag defense on Rondo.
    Last night gives me a bad feeling, since Rondo was making his jumpers and we still lost to a bad team by 10. But if you look at the FT disparity (in makes, not attempts) and the 3-point disparity that’s basically the difference in the game.

  • Indeed. That was a huge problem along with the defense. Grande & Max were talking about the same thing. I believe we missed 13 FT’s….I had a bad-feeling about the game when Ray missed his first FT of the night, which I believe was on a Detroit tech.

  • Jason

    This is 100x more interesting to read than “Talk about your offensive outburst” “I was more aggressive tonight.”

  • Wels

    Great post. Watching the whole game, like the previous one, it was very hard to blame any of the offensive woes on Rondo — most of the time he was just taking good shots. The offense was lethargic and clunky, not producing good looks. Movement off the ball was poor. Rondo did what he had to do.
    Rondo’s low post play was beautiful, and he converted 4 out of 5 attempts IIRC, but the problem with it is that when he does it the rest of the team MUST clear out to the weak side and just watch, because Rondo is too small to pass out of a double team effectively. Thus, it isn’t the kind of play to foster good ball movement…but it’s a nice option to use a couple times a game.

  • Matt S

    I think Rondo took what was given most of the night. yes, he made a few errors, but who doesnt? Paul was standing around and why we still have Jermaine leaves me wondering. Get rid of Jermaine, start Wilcox and get someone else. This is a major problem if we dont have a post that can actually make a true post move…its amazing to me. This would take the heat off Pierce and/or Ray if there was even a semblance of a post game.

  • paul

    Exactly right. Rondo needs to restart his career elsewhere, away from the insanity and hate.
    But what I’d prefer to see is Rondo staying here and winning everyone over by refusing to back down and continuing to play brilliantly. Russell was hated too by Boston fans. So was Ted Williams. Rondo’s not the first to be treated this way.

  • paul

    And if we rightly ripped Rondo for the awful Toronto game, where he clearly never showed up and had an attitude – but at least admitted to fault – why don’t we rip Paul, who clearly never showed up last night, and seemed to have a big, stinking attitude about not getting the ball enough, and who most certainly didn’t admit to any fault, it seems?

  • paul

    You shouldn’t have a bad feeling about last night. Rondo appears to be FINALLY spreading his wings, and that’s good for us. What’s bad is that Allen and Pierce seem to have thier noses out of joint over it. Rondo served them for four years, but they are too high and mighty to return the favor, even if it could mean a championship.
    But that can change. They can come to their senses and start feeding off Rondo. If they had been looking harder to give Rondo passing options last night, he would have had 30 points and 15 assists and we would have won going away.
    I think it’s pretty much as simple as that. Synergy.

  • paul

    No. Rondo CAN pass out of the double team. He just needs practice. Remember, Big men take a little while to learn to do it. Rondo will be a quick study on that, but give him a minute, you know? Some day that Rondo post up will lead to great passes. Soon

  • I hear you..and I'm not really here to "rip" anyone. Let's hope that over this next 5-game road trip we have some good wins to talk about. God knows we need them.

  • paul

    Our best post up player, sans Garnet, is Rondo. What does this tell us about how weak we are up front, and about how amazing a player Rondo really is. Paul and Ray need to trust him to read the game, and they need to get open. Rondo loves to pass. He will always love to pass. The fact that he is proving himself to be an amazing scorer as well only makes him, and us, more potent IF we stop throwing tantrums over it.

  • It’s fantastic isn’t it?

  • Mike

    look, we need ray and paul to take more shots than they did last night. we can’t have such a discrepancy in shot attempts with our pass first PG taking 27. that being said paul and rays attempt CANNOT come at the cost of rondo’s aggression. we need him running the floor the way he has the past two games (please start Wilcox Doc).
    ray and paul’s ineffectiveness last night should not be put on rondo.

  • If the defense isn’t going to stop the guy with the ball, he should attempt to score. Rondo was passing too soon for a long time. If he can be a legit threat from the outside, that changes the game dramatically. If the other guys stand around and not improve their positions, that’s not Rondo’s fault. A Rondo that demands respect from the defense is a better Rondo than one that is afraid to shoot.


    ur ryt man…. this celtics team is a rondo’s team big 3 era is over!!!