Bradley may line up as the point guard, but expect a healthy dose of Pierce as the primary playmaker. He averaged more assists per 36 minutes than he has since the 2003-04 season and assisted on almost a quarter of his teammates’ made shots while he was on the floor. Pierce wouldn’t tip his hand, but that seems like the logical play for the Celtics.
“I really don’t go into a game saying this is what I got to do more,” Pierce said. “I told you all many times. I play within the flow of the game, try to give it what it needs, regardless of who’s out there. They needed more scoring from me last night. If Rondo’s not there then not only am I going to have to step up, but a number of guys are going to have to step up.”
Everyone on the Celtics is going to have to be aware of Avery Bradley bringing up the ball and be available to help. I love Bradley's metamorphosis… but he's still a suspect ball handler. So they can't all jog back and get into their sets as Bradley struggles against the Hawks pressure.
Paul Pierce will have to bring the ball up sometimes, or at least be ready as an outlet guy for Bradley. What makes Pierce such a dangerous passer in the half court is that he's always a threat to score, so you HAVE to pay attention to him. His ability to find guys back-door is very underrated… or at least it was.
You know, I don't know why SO many people are writing this team off. They can win this game without Rondo. It'll be more difficult, but they can do it. And even if they don't, they just have to win their games at home and come back to win one two remaining games in Atlanta. People are acting as if this series is over. It's only just started. Relax people.
Related links: CSNNE: Pierce: It's only one game
On Page 2: Don't expect Ray Allen, so Pietrus will probably get the start
With Ray Allen (ankle) doubtful and Rajon Rondo suspended, the Celtics are set to go with an Avery Bradley-Mickael Pietrus backcourt against the Hawks in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday night.
[...] “If Ray’s not ready, he’s not ready,’’ Rivers said. “One thing I won’t do, I won’t put a guy out there that’s not ready. I just won’t put him on the floor. If Ray told me he could play and Eddie[Lacerte] said he could play, he would play.
“He said he felt a little better but I don’t see it right now.’’
I made the argument on my Facebook page to start Sasha Pavlovic. In addition to the arguments I made there, it keeps Pietrus on the bench, where we need at least one guy we can count on.
Then again, with two days off after this game, Doc may feel he can ride these guys bigger minutes.
Let's see how it goes.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: C's at their best in tough times | MacMullan: Missing the point | Rivers won't rush Allen back | CSNNE: Is Rondo as Celtics future leader a good thing | Herald: Rondo's act only serves to help Hawks | Sometimes Rondo's the man, sometimes just a kid | Hawks rookie takes shot at KG | Movement afoot to improve offense | NBA office contacts Rondo about 1-game ban | Doc Rivers on point | Josh Smith well versed in Rondo's roar | Globe: They have proven they can be troubleshooters | Smith has seen act before