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.
“Rondo’s point: Cause for concern” via Steve Bulpett
A war cry for a lot of fans this year has been: “It’s only ____we all know that the Celtics never start playing well until April“. Well, Rajon Rondo doesn’t think that’s a valid statement this season. When talking to the media yesterday in Oakland, Rajon was brutally honest in stating that this year’s squad is quite different from last year’s that came within 1 game of the NBA Finals:
“That doesn’t really matter now, because we’ve got, like, nine different players,” Rondo said yesterday. “There’s only about three guys who’ve been here and did that. It’s not like this is the same team that turned it around late and knows how to do that. So I don’t compare it to last year or other years.
“Even though we’ve gotten off to slow starts the last two or three years and turned it around, each year is different. Each team is completely different. So I’m not banking on that.”
As for the Celtics getting into a pattern where they play well all over the floor almost exclusively when their shots are falling, Rondo said, “Yeah, but that’s every team.”
When it was pointed out that the Celts like to say their defense comes first and that, even if they’re not doing well with the ball, they defy other teams to post enough points to beat them, Rondo offered another cold shower.
“It’s been a long time since that’s been the case,” he said. “For the last couple of years, it’s been, if we score we get stops, and if we don’t it gets ugly.”
Now we all know #9 can be blunt, but I don’t think Mr. Triple Double is in panic mode just yet:
“I don’t think too much of (the current situation),” he said. “We’re a .500 team right now, but it’s just what it is. We’ll get better. We have to trust more. Once our trust factor goes up and we all get on the same page, we’ll be a better team than what we are right now. But until then, we’ll be pretty inconsistent like we have been.
“I think we’ve got to make a change sooner or later, as far as guys’ mentality. If we don’t, then who knows?”
Um..about that .500 thing. So the hot question the first quarter of this Celtics season has been “what’s wrong with this team?” Rondo thinks, most recently during Boston’s loss to the Clippers, guys are trying to do too much as individuals-the team mentality is lacking:
“We made it a bigger game than we should have, instead of just playing,” Rondo said. “We put a lot of emphasis on certain guys and didn’t stick to what we do as a team. They have athletic bigs, and we tried to take the dunks out of the equation, and we got lost and got away from playing Celtic basketball and what we did against the Nets (in the win in Brooklyn on Christmas). We got caught up in individual matchups instead of team-concept defense.”
Doc sometimes calls that “hero ball”. A solemn KG reiterated that point after last night’s game saying that the successful Boston teams he’s been on have used solid team defense as a foundation. So what’s it going to take? What is the answer? As Bulpett wrote in another post early this morning, KG had some strong words on the subject:
“This is when you start to see who’s with you,” said Garnett. “This is when you see who really wants it, who really wants to get down and work and grind for it — and we’re about to find that out.”
Rivers was asked for his take on correcting this team’s course.
“We’ve got to keep going and keep pushing,” Rivers said. “Again, our problem all year has been the same problem. It’s not everybody (making mistakes), it’s two or three guys. That’s all you need with this team.
“And it’s not the same guys. That’s what’s been so frustrating about this season. But I told our guys, I’m very honest, ‘You are a .500 team right now, and until we prove we’re not, we are.’ ”
And now, they are a sub-500 team. Simple as that. Thankfully, they’ve got time to fix that. Let’s hope they do, or this could be a long season.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Doc’s take-too many jumpers Rondo game-time decision vs Kings|CSNNE: Warriors crush Celtics Sullinger’s play lone bright spot|Herald: C’s try to escape what-if mode Doc plays down Avery Key events Pierce & KG draw the line|Globe:Wrap-up