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 Chicago.
There's a basketball axiom that you use your energy on defense and rest on offense, but the five offensive rebounds in the third quarter were elongating so many possessions that Boston couldn't rest. The Cs had four second chance points to the Bulls' only four, but lost their legs to execute their halfcourt defense in the ways that stifled the Bulls earlier. Then, the ball started moving again.
Before the fourth quarter, the Celtics expectedly used the break to gather some of their energy back. Without Rose, it was clear that Deng would have to knock down big shots or the Bulls would have to rinse and repeat the energy-consuming second-chance strategy of the third quarter, that could be easily negated with smart rotations and timeouts by Doc Rivers.
Deng picked on his mismatches, as the Celtics had no one with a combination of quickness and length to stop him. His heroic fourth quarter line: 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting with two assists in 8:59.
You can only play intense defense for so long before the legs quit.
If you really want to drive yourself mad, watch the Celtics players under the basket once a shot goes up. No one boxes out. Never. Ever. How can a team of veterans be so fundamentally flawed?
On Page 2, the Bulls suckered Rondo.
But the Bulls would take advantage of Rondo, who tends to play the passing lanes looking for steals and runouts instead of fundamental defense. So the Bulls suckered Rondo several times into the middle only to find his man open for shots.
Do you think Doc Rivers signs off on Rondo's style of defense?