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
In a brief stretch of Game 5, Rondo was the best player on the planet, scoring six points in under a minute and in the words of coach Doc Rivers, willing the tired Celtics back into the game. In most of the other 42 minutes he played, Rondo was decidedly average at best and a non-factor at worst. (Passing up on an uncontested layup to make a tough bounce pass that led to a turnover was one of many questionable decisions).
Finally, his steal at the end of regulation could have been entered into the Havlicek-Bird pantheon, but instead he dribbled into a trap and couldn’t get off a final shot. So it goes with Rondo. The playoffs are waiting for him to emerge as its signature player and Game 6 is his chance to begin to claim it for himself and begin to put a period and exclamation point on his part in the Big 3 era.
You couldn't sum up Game 5 any better. Alternating between brilliant and maddening, it was the type of performance that drives plenty of you mad. And while I, personally, can accept some of that during the regular season as part of the territory, doing it in the playoffs with a chance to put a team away and get your team much needed rest is inexcusable.
But you can also say that he's the reason the Celtics were even in the position to put Atlanta away. Without him in Games 3 & 4, people would be talking about the Hawks potentially getting to the Eastern Conference Finals.
So tonight, in a game almost everyone expects the Celtics to win, we wait to see if "Swag" will show up. Or maybe that was "Swag" in Game 5. I'll be honest, I'm still trying to figure out this nickname KG gave him. Regardless… This is Rondo's time to shine. The beauty of the playoffs is bad games are erased when you win the series. It all goes away and you start fresh in the next one.
But make no mistake about it. The Celtics need the Rondo from Game 4 tonight. I think it'll happen, because it fits the pattern. It'll be the type of game that gets this out of Chris Webber
On Page 2: Dooling reminds us this isn't a video game
“We’ve got to give him breaks or we wouldn’t be getting what we are from him,” said the coach.
Keyon Dooling encapsulated the Celtics conundrum.
“Unfortunately this isn’t a video game,” said the veteran guard. “You actually need a little rest.”
But the numbers say the Celts need a little more Garnett if they are to survive Game 6 against Atlanta this evening and advance deep into this postseason.
The KG thing is connected to Rondo. KG isn't creating a ton of shots for himself. All 7 of the shots he hit in Game 5 came off an assist. And Rondo, who had hit KG for 4, 5, and 4 buckets in Games 1, 3 and 4… only hit him for 2 in Game 5.
So if you see KG hitting a ton of shots tonight, it's because Rondo's finding him. Or I supposed you can look at it the other way… if Rondo comes out like he did in Game 4, then you can expect a big night from KG. And with Pierce still nursing the knee issue, we're going to need it.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Al Horford makes Celtics take notice | Josh Smith, teammates, put pressure on Boston | "Embarrassed" Hawks back in Boston with season on the line | Globe: Teague finding his way | Playing to their strengths | Celtics look to close out Hawks in Game 6 | WEEI: 5 questions Celtics must solve in Game 6 | MWDN: Celtics might have a big problem | ESPN Boston: Ultimate swing game? | Conference Semis could start Saturday | Hollinger: Could Hawks rally back?