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Courtney Lee says the Celtics are playing hard for Rondo

Chuck - Red's Army February 4, 2013 Celtics News, Courtney Lee, Rajon Rondo 48 Comments

Until the Celtics lose a game, the chatter about whether they’re better off without Rajon Rondo is only going to get louder. I find it laughable and so does Courtney Lee:

“I wouldn’t say that all,” said Courtney Lee, who replaced Rondo in the C’s starting lineup. “Rondo’s an All-Star. Any time you can add an All-Star to your team, your team is going to be better, so we definitely miss Rondo. We don’t look at it as we’re better off without Rondo, I think we came together and we’re playing hard for Rondo.”

“We’re just moving the ball a lot more, getting everybody involved,” said Lee. “Rondo was our primary playmaker, so he would make plays for everybody else and he would rack up assists, but with the personnel everybody else’s game is more moving, catching and attacking — and playing sets — so that’s what we’ve been able to do.”

If you look at the stat box in Peter May’s column, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the production of Jeff Green, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa. There are way too many variables to connect their surge in play to Rondo’s absence.

I like Lee’s motivation angle. The narrative reminds me of Rambo 2 and the scene where the Asian woman is gunned down. Stallone tied on her necklace and went on a rampage.

The Celtics are on a rampage.

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  • JG

    This is cute.

    Yeah, you’re right. The celtics players and head coaches would really come out and say “yeah! We are so much better without that asshole! I mean, look at us! We are passing the ball way more, playing great defense, players we brought in are finally being freed to make plays, we look way happier and free with our body language, are winning games! Lets get rid of that idiot to some team that is willing to take him now!”

    You cannot keep quoting these players and coaches about what their thoughts are about Rondo, or anything really. They are literally programmed to say what they should. What incentive would they have to say that they are better without Rondo? That would 1. Decrease his trade value 2. Ruin locker room chemistry 3. Make them not get the ball when he comes back 4. Make them seem like the asshole.

    I take absolutely everything NBA players and coaches say with a grain of salt, this included. I’m not even going to comment on this Rondo thing anymore. It’s almost embarrassing that people haven’t at least admitted that the style of play has gotten significantly better, not even considering the record. I’m just going to let the fans who think this is a joke to keep thinking it,but I know the celtics front office isn’t as stupid as that.

    I’m just goin to allow the play to speak for itself the remainder of the season, because the excuses that are coming out of Rondo supporters mouths have just been outright crazy. I was willing to concede that rondo is extremely TALENTED, but not a pg that fits this team, or most winning teams when he demands the ball the way he does. It’s not your turn to admit that over the past few games, it’s been absolutely apparent that the style has changed. It’s not just that they are playing harder, the style of basketball has changed, and for the better.

    If you couldn’t see it before and are still too ignorant to see it when it’s pointed out to you, then perhaps those who realize it should allow you to be shocked and surprised when the celtics end up dealing Rondo eventually (though it’ll be with the injury and the obvious effect his absence has had)

    • Frank A

      I’ve said it before, the style of play is better now, if we had rondo playing this style we would be even better. The sully injury may hurt more down the atretch

      • LA Flake

        Not true. Rondo can’t play this style because he is pretty useless without the ball in his hands. If he’s moving without the ball, we’re pretty much playing 4 on 5. How many open looks has he passed up in January alone before he went down? And I’m not even going to get into Rondo’s tendency to mail in games and his matador D.

        I agree with JG that Courtney Lee, especially after his “disgruntled” version of the story got leaked, is just saying all the right things. If you want a more candid take on what’s going on, no need to look any further than what JET had to say about the team’s improved play:

        “Just because it’s much more open,” Terry said. “It’s free-wheeling and the defense can’t sit on particular plays. This league is great with scouting and they get used to you and they kind of know your tendencies. So in this offense it’s very unpredictable. We don’t know who’s going to get the shot, but we know we’re going to get a good one.”
        http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4701963/terry-seems-to-be-finding-his-spots

        Read that quote again. It’s much more open? The defense can’t sit on particular plays? We’re unpredictable and we know we’re going to get a good shot? Gee. I wonder if he’s talking about teams playing 6 feet off of Rondo and daring him to shoot? I wonder if he’s talking about teams knowing Rondo’s tendency to pound the ball to death?

        This from Lee, coupled with Doc’s nonsense about Wilcox being spotty (and Bass is somehow better?), it must be a “Let’s bullshit the media and watch them bathe in it” day in Boston.

        • LA Flake

          ONE MORE THING…

          The only player who brought up the possibility of a fractured locker room during our losing streaks was Rajon Rondo. No one else but Rondo kept pointing to the locker room trying to cue us in on what was possibly ailing the Celtics. But suddenly, with Rondo gone, everyone’s all happy and sharing the ball and stepping up and most importantly, winning.

          Coincidence? I think not.

          • JG

            Many, many good points man. All of which fit in with my beliefs as well. It’s impossible to show causation (which is going to be the angle that Rondo enthusiasts will take), but evidence is suggesting an increasingly strong correlation for what we have been arguing.

            Glad you pointed these out.

          • stephanie

            Actually, reporters like Sherrod Blakely and other reporters around the team was speculating about the locker room talking about the lack of seriousness after they would lose. Doc also made comments, so I really don’t think you’re accurate with that comment.

          • LA Flake

            HEY I DON’T CARE IF WE’RE WINNING MORE AND PLAYING OUR BEST BASKETBALL WE’RE NOT BETTER WITHOUT RONDO! I DON’T CARE! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH!

            um…ok. Sherrod Blakely…gimme a break.

    • Stephanie

      I think that a majority of people have agreed that this style of play is better, but that doesn’t mean that the one’s that support Rondo are naive or ignorant. In fact, you sound just as ignorant and maybe you should chill and calm down.

    • stephanie

      I bet you was a Rondotard last yr during the playoffs. Probably one of the main ones getting on the boards on ESPN during the games to talk noise to the opposing team’s fans. Everybody has their opinions and yours isn’t more valid than the next persons. Everybody on this site is stating opinions and not facts and our opinions matter NONE to the team.

      • LA Flake

        that we have a better record so far without rondo is an indisputable fact. that guys brought in to compliment rondo’s game are all playing better without rondo is also a fact.

        you know, you keep saying, the playoffs this, the playoffs that. let me ask you this: were we a playoff team with rondo or was this team just waiting to self-implode? we were a SUB .500 team with rondo leading the way. that, too, is a fact.

  • john rotolo

    If there was a problem with Rondo”demanding” the ball , he wouldn`t be getting it.Last time I checked, the Celtics had a coach.He`s the one that decided the ball should be in Rondo`s hands.Maybe you should take it up with him,JG, since you apparently know better than the players , coaches and fans who disagree with you.

    • Stephanie

      Exactly, so I guess when CP3 does it he’s being too demanding too? Considering it’s his job as a point guard to get his players points. This style of play is much better as long as the team maintains it because their strong suite will not be their half-court offense.

      I tell you what..if we go on another losing streak I want to hear these same people that think we don’t need Rondo at all. These are the same one’s that wanted to ship half the people ,that they’re lauding with praise now, out the city. These fans will flip/flop and wish wash with record.

      • JG

        1. If the celtics go on another losing streak, why does that suggest they need rondo? My memory tells me they went on NUMEROUS losing streaks with rondo this year, and were playing sub-500 basketball.

        If the celtics play worse than they did with rondo for the remainder of the season, I will personally meet you guys for coffee and apologize to whomever wants it. I’m not a bandwagon fan or whatever you’re saying at all. I just have played a lot of basketball in my day for a lot of different types of teams and feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the game. This is my opinion, and I feel like, so far, it’s been supported. If it doesn’t continue to be, I’ll say I was wrong at the end of the year. However, I would hope you would as well.

        There is a reason they don’t play this way with rondo. It may be doc too. But if rondo were as smart as he supposedly is, he wouldn’t keep playing that way either if they weren’t playing well.

        • Stephanie

          I’m a Rondo supporter, but I have NO PROBLEM saying he has flaws. Part of the problem is Doc and Rondo was part as well. I think that there was a lack of trust for the new members (they mentioned trust A LOT), and I think Doc had no other choice but to trust these players once Rondo went down. If Rondo is the team player that he says he is and Doc the type of coach that he says he is then this type of offense will the main offense that we see next season, but better.

          Anyone would silly to say that he doesn’t has flaws, but people would be just as silly to say he isn’t important to this team. That’s just my thoughts. I love that our team is thriving and that our bench is playing like we expected.

          • Shawn

            Not to mention that the style of basketball they’re playing is rarely sustainable in the playoffs when defenses tighten up and pressure the ball handlers more. And look how easy it was to disrupt our offense last night, hedge hard on the pick and stay in the passing lanes.

          • Stephanie

            @Shawn: Exactly. I’m really surprised that the teams aren’t pressuring our guards like I thought. I really want to see a team do that just so I can see how our guards respond.

          • LA Flake

            I always find those claims that “such and such style won’t work in the playoffs” laughable. Really? Why not? The Lakers ran in the 80s. The Bulls ran in the 90s. The Nets with Kidd ran. The Spurs run all the time and they’ve never been a great half court team. Miami kills you with their transition game in the playoffs. So, why not us all of a sudden? And we have one of the best shot-makers who can go mano a mano with the likes of LBJ and Carmelo on any given night. So what are you ladies so terrified of?

          • kobe

            okay Rondo, uhm I mean Stephanie let’s see how it turns out. I don’t think they will suffer another losing streak like when Rondo is around.

          • stephanie

            @Kobe: I hope they don’t suffer another losing streak..why would I want them to? You’re an idiot.

          • LA Flake

            Stephanie,
            I don’t agree with you much, but you really ought to know better than to take the bait from a rapist.

    • JG

      Maybe you didn’t read my post above? I just explained to you why the players and coaches are saying what they are saying. They have no incentive not to. Look man, it’s a fact that the celtics are 4-0, and it’s a fact that they have played better in those 4 games. What is wrong here? I have literally just stated facts.

  • GreenbirdCro

    W or w/o #9 I just want to see the type of bb we played when we won No.17! It was so satisfying not only cause we got it but how we got it. Ball was moving at lights speed, everyone was involved in O, like 20+ touches b4 the basket! Mixed in & outside game, sets, cuts, ISOs AND crazy plays! When we started to loose that unpredictability in O, we became dependent on our D. And please stop pointing that this is a new group of guys, it was almost the same when we first assembled The Big Three. All we need has not changed, even when Perk was around, a BIG that rebounds and plays back to the basket. Shooting from the outside is always much easier when opposing D collapses on the bigs. If we had those b4 we would be able to prevail losing Perk & KG in the finals. Danny needs to find a viable trade hand go abroad fishing for some talent.
    What about Nene? How about Ante Tomić (Gasol-like)? Give Melo his chance!

  • JG

    Also. You’re always better with a superstar on your roster? What happened to the lakers with Dwight Howard just this season? He puts up GREAT numbers!

    What happened with the Knicks when they brought in Amare Stoudemire before he got injured?

    I know that Courtney lee knows basketball better than to say you’re “always better when you add an all-star”, so that just shows these guys are just saying what they should say.

    • LA Flake

      Is Rondo really an all-star caliber player though? There are about 4-5 PGs I’d rather have than Rondo in the EC alone.

      • JG

        Oh I completely agree with you man. I might even be able to think of more than 4-5 I would personally rather (maybe). I was just saying that even if you concede to rondo being an all-star, you have to consider those situations.

      • Fatz

        Name them

  • Iridaceae

    Celtics had a six games winning streak with Rondo and everybody thoughts last year’s team is back.We were playing great D and the bench was pretty spectacular.Then something happened and Celtics started to lose again until Rondo’s injury.Now we have a four games winning streak, our D is great (again) and the bench playing spectacular (again) and everybody think we are better without Rondo.Come on.That was Rondo to carried us to the ECF last year.What changed this year and Celtics become a better team without Rondo?
    Celtics problem is not Rondo, the problem is consistency.Celtics can’t play this level for a long time.Even we play this level until the play-offs, we can’t be a real threat to Miami or New York without Rondo.We can’t do it without him.

    • Stephanie

      Yep,the playoffs last yr was TOTALLY KG and Rondo sprinkled with a little PP and the others. I honestly don’t understand why we even have to debate better with/without Rondo. Why can’t we just enjoy the fact that we have a well balanced team and aren’t totally helpless without him (for now)?

    • CoachAJ

      Exactly great post +1. Consistency is our problem. We a few great then slide right back to confused. Even with guys in slumps we should adjust and keep moving forward. We have enough professionals on the bench that can do their thing. So let them. Can’t be afraid to sit someone that isn’t hitting when someone else is. The professional knows how to do it. The other part is that problems are correctable in the 1st half of the season as long as we remain in striking distance. We are comfortably ahead of Philly and nearing Brooklyn. Overtaking them pushes us into 4th. So we got a whole second half to play. We got this.

  • Danno

    John and Chuck, (but mostly John) has been relentless on Twitter, and to a lesser extent on here in their staunch defense of “No way they are better wihtout Rondo, that’s ridiculous!!!”

    However, it seems even some of the more learned local sports media are coming around to the fact that This Celtics group looks like an entirely different team without Rondo.

    Specifically, Tony Mazz…

    http://www.boston.com/sports/columnists/massarotti/2013/02/is_losing_rajon_rondo_addition.html

    And I wholeheartedly agree with Mazz. They aren’t necessarily going to win a championship without Rondo this year, but they weren’t going to win one with him, either. But since he’s been gone (and every time previously in the last 2 years that he’s been absent) they are a completely different team. a Much more enjoyable team to watch.

    • Shawn

      Lol, Mazz hated on this team every year and says we can’t do anything, he absolutely hates basketball and the Celtics (which he’s admitted) and should not have any of his opinions considered correct or accurate.

      • Danno

        EVeryone can have different opinons on the guy, but it’s telling of the situation when someone who is of not in the local sports media finally acknowledges the Rondo situation for what it is.

        • Shawn

          He said the same thing every year whether we were on a 20 game win streak or a 3 game losing streak. He spouts absolute nonsense when it comes to basketball and knows nothing about it. If you think he says something correct and 100% agree with him you should re look at your understanding of the game.

          • Danno

            I think you might be confusing him with Felger. Mazz isn’t the biggest Hoops fanatic, but he’s not Felger either.

      • Danno

        * of note

  • JG

    Thank you, Danno! I’m not sure how much I trust Mazz with his basketball knowledge, but I guess if he can see it, that’s telling!

  • Larry Legend

    Whether better or not, they’re ARE much more enjoyable to watch. That’s a fact.

    • Larry Legend

      They are ^ sorry

  • RedsLoveChild

    Boston has 35 games remaining {20 on the road}.

    The same people screaming how great the Celtics are without RR…will disappear as soon as the losses start to mount.

    Rondo is a very good {not great} player. He will once again become a very valuable asset, after he recovers from this injury.

    The only question is whether he will remain a Celtic. Ainge has to be tempted to trade him for size.

    Basketball is like Boxing…a good big man beats a good little man any day of the week. Bigs are in far shorter supply, and RR could bring Boston significant help in the paint.

    • Stephanie

      Del Negro kinda threw that jab out there yesterday. We’ve been enjoying some success at home with the “new crew”, we’ve got to take this show on the road.

  • http://www.greenheadzblog.blogspot.com ChiefGreenHeadz

    I’m going to riff off of what Iridaceae said: the C’s did have a 6-Game win streak WITH Rondo. The reason is because folks were playing defense and boxing out. The offense was always going to come around. But you had players unfamiliar with Doc’s system and some of whom, if you believe the reports, were resistant to learn it. Does anyone remember the initial friction between Doc and Pierce when he took over as coach? Pierce was reluctant, but over the course of two (two!) years, he realized that it would make him a better player. Lee, Terry and all of the additions have similarly been going through their own trial by fire. It’s not Rondo. In fact, we’ll be missing him (as we did in the 4th quarter yesterday) when things bog down and move to the half-court game. Remember, folks, it was a save-our-@$$es three by the most underrated player in the game that kept the win streak alive. Remember that Crawford stuck what would have been the Clippers’ game winner if Paul didn’t come through. I love this team and l love how we’ve been playing, but come Playoff time, it will be infinitely harder without Rondo. Don’t get it twisted: if the coach and players didn’t want him here, Rondo would have been long gone by now.

  • JG

    So this friction magically disappeared the game rondo got hurt? Hm. Interesting. You guys are getting creative!

  • JimmyG

    Folks, Rondo is a subpar defender so the team is better in some sense on the defensive end because pg’s aren’t getting as much dribble penetration. The winning streak isn’t just about the team being significantly better than they were with him though. We’ve beaten the Heat which is an accomplishment but otherwise we beat two awful teams and a Clippers squad that has lost 6 of the last 8 without Chris Paul. 3 wins in a row does not make us much better, especially against crap competition. We now play better against bad teams, because the team has to play hard if they want to make the playoffs. However, when we do make the playoffs, we aren’t going to be able to beat good teams using the same formula. I like how we’re playing, but I also liked how we were playing when we won 6 in a row WITH Rondo. I still don’t depend on this team even though I love them and I don’t think the problem with it is as easy as, “Rondo’s gone so now the team is better.” That’s a lazy argument that doesn’t factor in things like the schedule, the work ethic of bench guys, how minutes factor in for all of the players, or yes, the motivating aspect that an injury like this may have. I very much believe the Ravens just won the superbowl because they were playing for someone. I don’t think it’s that far fetched to think that an injury could light a fire under a team that was underperforming. What “friction” are you talking about? Apart from conjecture based off of a few wins against bad opponents, do we have any real proof there was friction? Don’t even get me started on the idiocy of Brandon Bass’ comment when he’s been playing like dog shit all year. You know what this is like? When the Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony a couple of years ago. They stayed competitive but would you rather go into a series with Carmelo as your best guy or Danilo Gallinari? No disrespect meant to PP or KG but they’re too old to carry us to a title alone. Rondo was the piece that at least gave us a fighting chance. Now it’s gone and we have a resurgent, energized club who will make for a tough out but are no longer dangerous in the playoffs. Stop with the madness.

  • JimmyG

    It’s also a fact that the Lakers have a better record when Kobe Bryant gives up shots, but does that mean Kobe shouldn’t be the number one scoring option for the team? OKC has a better winning percentage this year without Harden than they did with him last year. Does that mean they are a better team right now? Does that also suggest that you would rather have Kevin Martin? Show me some causality outside of a gut feeling and a record against shitty opposition over the past week.

  • JimmyG

    Chicago also had a better winning percentage last year than they did when D Rose won the previous year’s mvp. They must be a better team without Rose then too right?

  • john

    LA Flake and Rondo should get a room where they can stick pins in a Rondo voodoo doll together and play fantasy GM.Players , coaches and TV talking heads (mostly explayers and coaches) are wrong when they heap praise on Rondo.The two lovebirds have figured it out .Celts were losing because of Rondo and are winning because of his absence.It had nothing to do with Pierce shooting down around 40%, Bass missing shots he made last year,Bradley`s injury, or the team being outrebounded by double digits.Doc is a neophyte and Garnett didn`t know what he was talking about when he called Rondo the team`s best player.You guys are pathetic.Rondo did fine in his rookie season running the point on a veteran team, without dominating the ball.There`s no reason to believe he can`t ,or won`t play whatever style the coach tells him to.The Celtics are playing great now and the uptempo ball movement game may well be the way to go.To suggest that having Rondo back will somehow inhibit their ability to do that is nonsense.

    • JimmyG

      Thank you! It’s great to see some people still have their wits about them

  • http://CelticBlog.com thirstyboots18

    Ha ha ha. Being old school (or maybe just old) I have called it the “Win one for the Gipper” effect. Then I had to explain who “the Gipper” was. sigh…