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Saturday Notebook: Rondo’s Thefts, Roly-Poly Pierce, Reflections on Gil, Looking Ahead

 

• The big historic news of the night was obviously Rajon Rondo breaking Rick Fox’s single-season steals record. After the game, KG, Doc and Ray Allen talked about how Rondo has managed this season to remain a ball-hawking menace without gambling too much. Here’s KG, via ESPNBoston.com:

“The anticipation is a gamble at times, but you know we understand Rondo’s game and we all do different things. We know that nine times out of 10, he is solid. He does gamble, but eight out of 10 times he is right.”

And Doc:

“It means he’s a better defender,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “You can lead the league in steals and not gamble all the time. You can be solid and still get a lot of steals. That’s what he’s done.

“[Rondo] does have a gift and we always want him to play through that gift — as long as he’s not hurting the team.”

There is no question that Rondo’s love for steals is occasionally going to hurt the Celtics. I’ve chronicled a bunch of such examples on video, including a small collection here. And we saw against Denver a pretty blatant example of Rondo caught with his head turned. (See the last clip in that link).

But the overall benefit to the team—in transition opportunities, forced turnovers and general disruption of an opponent’s offense—outweighs those mistakes. (I think). We’re talking about two or three possessions per game where Rondo’s gambling actually results in bad things happening to the C’s.

Ray Allen (who else?) gives the best cost-benefit analysis of Rajon’s gambling (also via ESPNBoston.com):

He just creates uncertainty,” said Ray Allen. “Point guards just don’t know exactly what to expect. He makes them so uncomfortable out there on the floor. He’s just so quick, has long arms, before you know it the ball’s going in the other direction.”

• Rick Fox texted Rondo after the game, according to this Herald piece. And he committed the sin of text-bragging about his Laker championships:

Fox, who set the mark in 1996-97 before going on to Lakers glory and a Hollywood career, took the news with good humor. Very good humor, in fact.

“Congrats, Rondo,” he texted back. “But you’re still two steals behind, as I stole three rings.”

Rondo’s response?

“Oh, I’m about to catch his (butt) on that one, too,” he said. “One steal at a time. Tell him. One steal at a time.”

Can we all agree that newspapers should be able to print “ass”? In any case, Rondo’s confidence in the team’s title chances is appreciated even if it sometimes feels a bit distanced from reality. But it doesn’t seem so ridiculous after this 6-1 stretch, does it? 

• Reading between the lines of this Doc Rivers quote from the Globe’s notebook, it sounds like Perk wanted to play last night (and/or wants to play tomorrow) against the Spurs:

“We’ve just got to get our guys to understand it’s about being healthy,’’ Rivers said. “That was the conversation I had with Perk.’’

Brian Robb, who was at the game last night and will have some more details later today, confirms the team was having trouble convincing Perk to sit. Here’s a longer quote from Doc, courtesy of Brian:

“It’s tendonitis, You know I guess it’s been bothering him for awhile, but I didn’t know how bad it was. And [Celtics trainer] Eddie Lacerte right after the game the other night came to me and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to talk Perk into sitting down because it’s not working with me.’ So we just had a little conversation.”

It’s great news that Perk feels well enough to play. 

• Nate Robinson is apparently a 50-50 decision for Sunday after tweaking his left ankle last night. Brian may have more on this later.

• The Bucks, on a two-game losing streak, are now only two games up in the loss column over the Bobcats and Heat. Suddenly that #5 seed doesn’t look like a certainty for the Bucks, huh?  Sports Club Stats now has the Bucks with a 41 percent chance of finishing 5th, a 31 percent chance at the #6 seed and a 27 percent chance of falling down to #7. 

• After Atlanta’s loss to the Sixers last night, the C’s are effectively two games up on the Hawks with the tie-breaker in hand. Sports Club Stats now has Boston with a 63 percent chance of finishing with the 3rd seed. Of course, that could all change fast, and the C’s next four games are all tough. (Home games against San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston and Cleveland). 

• Doc was apparently furious with Glen Davis after Big Baby received a tech for arguing with the officials during the 3rd quarter last night. Doc pulled Baby for Scal (hi, Scal!) and had this to say after the game (via the Herald):

“You don’t get a tech in that situation,” said Rivers. “When you’re up 18 points and your team’s struggling, you’re not (Kevin) Garnett or one of those guys. You don’t get the liberty, anyway, to talk to the officials.

“And he wasn’t playing well, anyway, at that point. He was playing like the score, and I just told him he’s not at that point in his life where he can turn it on and off. We need him to be an every possession player, and I didn’t think he was that tonight.”

Will Doc have such a quick hook with Sheed next time? 

• Bryan Doo, the C’s strength coach, apparently purchased boxing gloves last season as a means for players to settle any internal disputes, according to the Globe. He also bought boxing equipment—which I’m assuming/hoping means head gear and other safety stuff—for each player. Here’s Ray: 

“If anybody has any differences on this team,’’Ray Allen recalled Doo saying, “we’re going to go in the weight room and we’re going to settle it.’’

“For a couple days we were warning, like, ‘OK, I challenge you.’ And you said, ‘OK, let’s take it in the weight room and duke it out,’ ’’ Allen said. “We were playing, having a good time with it.’’

My money is on Glen Davis as the team’s best boxer, though if you separated NBA players by weight class, Rondo would be a beast in one of the light weight divisions. He’d have a monster reach advantage.

• In the same Globe piece, Ray remembers a fun Gilbert Arenas moment from the 2007 All-Star game:

“You know how you turn around and look at the entertainment that’s on the floor at halftime?’’ Allen said. “All of a sudden, we turn around and Gil got the ball from the mascot and ran and flipped and did a trampoline dunk.

“Then we looked and we said, ‘Did you see?’ “I don’t think it was rehearsed. He just went and did it. I said, ‘Washington is nervous right now!’ ’’

Not exactly pooping in Andray Blatche’s shoes, but still pretty memorable.

• Paul Pierce is doing a bunch of things to combat childhood obesity and promote exercise, and the Globe has a nice story about Pierce’s work and his motivation for doing it. One reason: Pierce was a chubby kid.

“I like the word chubby better,’’ Pierce said recently at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham. “A lot of people referred to me as the roly-poly kid.’’

• I like this Doc quote on Michael Finley’s shooting ability (via the Herald): 

“When you put him on the floor, you’re guaranteed one thing – even if he doesn’t make a shot, there’s going to be a guy standing next to him, and that makes it easier for Rajon and everyone else on the floor.”

Finley was 0-of-1 from the floor yesterday. When’s the last time you heard Doc talk so positively about Marquis Daniels after a scoreless performance from Quis? 

• The C’s have attempted 90 shots in each of the last two games. They had not reached 90 in any of the 70 prior games this season. It’s amazing what cutting turnovers and grabbing a few extra offensive rebounds can do for your offense, huh? The C’s turned the ball over just 19 times combined in those two games; they cough it up about 15 times per game on average. They grabbed 30 offensive rebounds combined in those two games; the team averages fewer than 9 ORBs per game. 

That’s it for me. Brian will have more later, and we’ll get you geared up for the Spurs game on Sunday.

  • Joel W

    Honestly, with the team healthy has it ever seemed that absurd that they were title contenders. They are 9-10 without Pierce, KG, or both. That would make them a 59 win team when they’re both in the lineup, and that includes the two of them both playing some real craptastic games while playing back into shape.

    Of course, they are more injury prone than your average players, and could get hurt in the playoffs, but the variance of “they’re all healthy at the same time” is high enough, that if they are, there’s no reason they can’t win. Especially because there are no back-to-backs in the playoffs.

  • Sam

    Yeah it is amazing how good this team is when they get more offensive rebounds and limit the turnovers.

    I’ve always liked this temas chances at making a run for the title healthy, Health I’ll admit has been a big if this season, but it’s one of the few reasons I’ve remained optimsit about this team.

    Loving how supportive of eveyone was of Rondo’s night. He’ll I’m sure have another night coming soon, 19 assist away from another record, Any guess’s on how many games it will be before he gets that one?

  • Jay P

    Doc’s right about Finley, and why would he have anything positive to say about Quisy?

    Daniels main ability is to get to the rim, they picked him up for a guy who can handle the ball to spell Rondo a bit in the second unit, and get to the rim and finish. Now with Nate in the second unit, we don’t need his ball handling as much, and we want to see him posting up/beating people from the wing. We have seen little of that all season. So what other value is he? Answer: none.

    Finley has shown he can still shoot, so even on off night, he stretches defenses, they are not going to help off him unless absolutely necessary. There is great value in that for the C’s offense.

    It’s the same argument we used for Sheed early in the season, when he was struggling. Well… he still stretches the floor cause teams respect his shot. Unfortunately, he has been so god damned awful for almost the entire season, that teams aren’t doing that anymore, and their helping off him, so his one value to this team is severely waning.

    I fully expect to see a lot of DNP-CDs in Daniels future, possibly even through the playoffs. If TA has a really off night, maybe Daniels will get a chance to get in there and show something, but if Tony continues to play well, I don’t expect it.

  • KY Celts fan

    Ray is going to make one hell of a coach one day.

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  • Jason

    When he does, do you think he’ll maintain his fitness a la Willie Gault (80′s WR for the Bears) who is 50 and still a champion sprinter. Or will he go the Anthony Mason route (http://guestofaguest.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Anthony_Mason.jpg)?

  • Jrmz

    Sorry but Big Baby as the best Boxer on the team? Child please.

    The Beast vs The Big Baby and you think The Big Baby wins??? C’mon Perkins can muscle with Dwight Howard and he has one of the meanest glares in the league. I know Big Baby once wrestled with Shaq but my money has to be on Kendrick ‘The Beast’ Perkins.

    As for Rondo, definitely a Manny Pacquiao type boxer. Heck he might even be better. A longer reach, quick hands, quick feet. My money is on him as the team’s lightweight champ.

    As for the team’s worst boxer…hmm…Nate? Scal? Sheed? Sheed acts tough but I remember him not doing much during the Malice in the Palace. Inside Sheed lives a teddy bear plus hes starting to look like one too.

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