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.
On whether not having a true point guard is hurting the Celtics right now: “I think those are just excuses. We’ve known this. We’ve been preparing for the playoffs for a few months. I think that we have what we have and we’ve got to do the best with it. I guess that right now I just don’t think that we’ve played like we were capable of playing. I mean, it’s one thing to lose to a team that deserves to beat you and is a better team. But I feel like we’ve come out ready to play, and for whatever reason, I have no idea, but the beginning of the third quarter in the last two games has not been good.”
“… it’s not just the Rondo issue. Missing Rondo, he has the ability to take over games as we’ve seen him do against the elite players in the world, and we don’t have a player like that. That hurts us. But not knowing what to do and what plays to run — we shouldn’t do that under any circumstance. Every team goes through that a little bit, but we should not be having that problem.”
Earlier in the year, when the Celtics whipped off a winning streak and the masses came out to proclaim the Celtics better without Rondo, those of us who argued against that notion relied on the main argument “yeah, but watch what happens come playoff time.”
And while the lack of Rondo now seems to causing its biggest problems, now’s not the time to gloat. It’s time for the Celtics to make adjustments and go back to a style of play that worked without him.
The Celtics have spent the first halves of their two playoff games spreading the ball around and getting more than just Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett touches…. especially in Game 2. They went into the half Tuesday night with all but two of the guys who got the floor scoring at least 4 points. In the second half, six guys who played went scoreless.
What’s happening in second halves?
The Celtics morph into a “let’s feed a certain guy” mode. And while it makes some sense to say “let’s get KG going” in the second half of Game 2, it doesn’t make sense to do it at the expense of everyone’s offense. It’s almost as if the team says “Well, we’ve done our jobs… we got you guys a lead… now it’s up to you, Pierce and Garnett, to finish the job.”
“We can be more creative, I have to be,” Rivers said before practice on Thursday. “Because that’s just asking Paul to do too much. We’re asking him to guard Carmelo at times, asking him to bring the ball up the floor at times, we’re asking him to be our post-passer, it’s — listen, he’s Paul Pierce. He’s not Christopher Reeves.”
Even Danny (in the WEEI link above) addressed it…
“I think Paul has taken four charges in two games. I’m not sure anyone else on the team has taken any. Paul is our leading scorer. He carries an offensive burden. Paul is right now our best player and our best scorer, and he needs help. He needs other guys stepping up. He can’t do it the whole game. It’s a grind for him. Paul still shows signs of being a great player. He’s not consistently as great as he was five years ago, but he is still a fantastic player in this league, and he’s showing that in this series.”
I love Paul Pierce. I love KG. But they are on the verge of retirement. They can’t do what they used to. It happens to everyone. And sometimes we, and, I think, the team, get caught up in seeing those same #5 and #34 jerseys out there.
They need help. They need everyone to play consistently well for 48 minutes or the Celtics will barely be a speed bump for the Knicks.
It starts tonight…. at home…. in front of what will be a VERY emotional crowd.
A complete team effort. It has to be this way. Because, to re-phrase a former coach whose name escapes me…. Rondo’s not walking through that door, folks. And if he does, he’s going to be hurt, and in street clothes.
If this team can’t do it tonight… they never will.
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The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: Tardy Bradley practices for C’s | Herald: Lee takes demotion in stride | Martin big difference for NY | Celtics hoping home crowd can help turn series | Globe: Knicks stay focused as they head to Boston | Celtics hope return home leads to inspire win | CSNNE: Celtics vs Knicks Game 3 X factors | Celtics Talk TV: Any hope for C’s? | Desperate C’s return with season at stake | WEEI: Bradley not with C’s to start practice | Doc: Game 3 will be emotional for the players