Post-game Reactions

(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

ESPN Box Score8 Points 9 SecondsIndy Cornrows

The Celtics caught a pretty good team on a bad shooting day as they extend their winning streak to 13 games.  On the surface, this game was pretty unremarkable.  The Celtics have grinded out another win despite Rajon Rondo being sidelined.

Paul Pierce was nothing less than spectacular.  His triple double was sorely needed with Rondo’s absence and Nate Robinson‘s inability to run the offense.  Pierce could have been easily outplayed by the younger Danny Granger, an explosive player who can score in bunches.  Instead, Pierce quietly displayed what (still) makes him an elite player in this league.  Pierce smothered Granger by keeping his arms up and staying in front of him.  Granger was also goaded into taking terrible shot after terrible shot.  While the Knicks are dying to get Carmelo Anthony, I would check on Granger’s availability if I were them.  He was made for a Mike D’Antoni offense.

Like I said, there was not a whole lot to this game.  However, one particular aspect to take note of is the return of the Celtics’ defense.  It’s pretty clear that the Celtics will play their smothering, sharply rotating, and ball deflecting defense when their opponents allow them to.  Today, the Pacers definitely allowed them to.   The Pacers finished the game shooting 35% from the field and 22% from distance.  Many of the Pacers easy points came at the expense of Nate Robinson, which should make Celtics’ fans feel pretty anxious excited for Rajon Rondo’s return.

More analysis and some video on the way…

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  • It'd be nice if you guys could lay off of Nate. Looking at the boxscore, it seems he had a decent game. It's not his fault the two other point guards are injured. Paul showed in the last game he has developed some point forward skills, so it made sense to try him again. Nate also is being consistently asked to change his role. He should be cut some slack. It's a long season, and when we get to the playoffs, we will have a much better Nate Robinson this year than last and hopefully a healthy Delonte and Rondo to go with Ray and Nate making a strong backcourt rotation. Marquis could even fit in there to help out with bigger shooting guards. It may not mean anything, but Nate had the highest plus-minus of anyone, played 43 minutes, efficiently put up 18 points, and did some other nice things.

    • jacksobd

      All I wrote is that Nate is incapable of running the Celtics offense. 43 minutes, 2 assists, 3 turnovers.

      • nbsmatambo

        + 18 points

        • What More Can I Say?

          That Plus/Minus horsecrap is overrated man.

      • It's your blog, so you can write whatever you want to.

        You also ripped into Nate in your last sentence. You also had a big laugh at Nate's expense after the Hawks game. You put up a photo of Doc in anguish over a mistake made by Nate. I like the new guy Hayes, but he too made it apparent he doesn't like Nate's game.

        Then there was the stuff attacking Big Baby's game by another guy. It's an easy style to use to fill up space, but believe me, it gets stale. There are guys at the Boston Globe forum who never shut it off dogging Perk and Rondo. I've been like that myself with Doc at times. I think Tony Allen got a similar raw deal last year. There's got to be a better way for us to make our points without sounding this mean or conveniently leaving out the good things such people or doing or perhaps why they are making certain mistakes. It's easy to scapegoat. When we do so, we miss the big picture.

      • Ok, I see you giving Nate some substantial props in your new post. I liked that. It makes me more likely to hear out the negative points. I do recall the first time Rondo was out, Nate did deliver 8 assists. As someone said here, he does show a willingness to share the basketball and fit in. I think he has potential as a backup point guard. He just needs more experience. He could really be a valued asset in a rotation including Ray, Paul, KG, and Shaq if you're trying to jumpstart the offense. Paul deserves a lot of praise for slimming down in the offseason. That's probably the reason he has been able to produce this well as a point guard. No way is Eddie House anywhere near the talent level of Nate Robinson. Sure, Eddie could shoot, but that is all. Nate has potential to improve his point guard capabilities. A bad game or two doesn't change that. Rondo and West will eventually be back, and then Doc will have a lot of options to work with.

  • Morpheus

    Hey it is what it is. Nate has his flaws playing the point, he's perfect coming off the bench adding that spark/offense in that 6th man role. Nate can't run an offense, which is why Pierce is doing it for him. __It's not like he totally trashed Nate for his poor performance or anything. He pointed out a couple flaws just like evryone else gets.

    • Idaho

      I have to disagree. Nate has really only been productive starting in place of Rondo. Otherwise, he has been horrible at filling in for Eddie House as a role player coming off the bench. Every 8 games as a bench player he is relevant. that is the paradox of Nate Robinson more so than his bone head decision making. He has been great when starting, irrelevant 85% of games as a role player.

  • Morpheus

    Speaking of Nate, i didn't watch the game, but did he make any of his bonehead plays today.

  • I_Love_Green

    13 straight baby. Despite all of the injuries, we've won 13 straight games. Thats impressive.

    • JP-

      I could see this streak going for a bit longer too, assuming they don't just look past the 76ers. The Magic with all their trades will be better, but not in the short term. I think shaking up the roster that much will hurt them right now, but make them a little bit better during the playoffs.

  • JP-

    I think Nate played ok, one of his biggest problems is that is he does make a mistake, to puts it all on himself and attempts to make up for the mistake, usually leading to another mistake. Doc has said Nate hangs his head, this is true, you can see it sometimes on the court. Nate's role is entirely different than it should be if not for the injuries and he has not adjusted that well to the new role overall.

  • DRJ1

    Nate didn't have a single bonehead play today, and played a very, very good game. He's doing infinitely more on defense than he has EVER done before in his life, and he NEVER runs out of energy. He is an absolutely AMAZING athlete… no question about it. He'll never be the brightest bulb in the bunch, but that will not stop him from being a great player. He's not a PG, never will be, doesn't expect to be. Doc knows that, and only asks him to run a play from time to time. But I have noticed that he is looking to pass to the open man MUCH more often than he has in the past, and overall, he's putting in a maximum effort to help the team. Yes, he does have a brain fart every once in a while, but there's reason to hope that will dwindle over time. Bottom line: we're lucky to have him, esp at the price.

    • I_Love_Green

      Hey, you're back.

      • DRJ1

        Yep. After the Philly game, I realized that this team is completely different from the one that blew/threw Game 6. 180 degrees different in some ways. So I'm back 🙂 Gotta love these guys. Thx.

  • Satch_Sanders

    Nate is just being over-exposed right now. I don't worry that he can't run the offense…that's not what we got him to do. I DO worry about his unfavorable comparison to Eddie House, as that IS what we got him for.

  • CG12

    Nate should not be used to make entry passes and otherwise initiate the half-court offense. That is not what he is good at. Nate should be used to spread the floor and attack off the bounce. He can get to the rim or set up his teammates by getting into the paint. Nate is a play-maker, not a game manager, and should be allowed to do what he is best at. That means taking some bad with the good (but hopefully as little as possible).

    No mention in any of the commentary on the Pacers game about Big Baby draining jumper after jumper to put the game on ice in the 4th. I'm curious if any of the house writers here at CelticsHub are re-considering what appears to be a consensus that Baby shoots too many Js.

  • debbie

    nate is pretty good player filling in for Rondo. at least he is playing. Jermaine is talking about playing in the next game who gives a crap. he hasen't played and has done nothing for this team. he talks about going back to the Pacers well good bye have a good trip you looser. if he is able to play. i would leave his butt right on the bench and play luke. he is better then Jermaine at least he tries. the Celtics have come a long way and are great right now. without Jermaine. so if he wants to leave let him go.

  • Individual assists are something of an overrated stat. The total number of team assists is a much more telling statistic if you want to look at assists, because a good point guard can drop the ball into the post with a nice entry pass, and then after a double-team, a good post player can flip it back out for the double-team. Does the PG get the assist for that? Of course not, because even though he made a good pass, it was essentially just a 'hockey assist'.

    Compare the Suns and the Spurs. On a team like the Suns, Steve Nash gets tons of assists because the scenario above never happens. There is no one in the post to receive a decent entry pass — they run more of a pick-and-roll offense that is going to generate tons of assists for a good passer like Nash. But on a team like the Spurs, Duncan will get the ball in the post or at the elbow and pass back out. Parker isn't gong to rack up assists the way Nash does playing that style of offense.

    In any case, when Nate does play the point, don't judge him by his assists. Judge him by the productivity of the offense when he is on the floor. If they are outscoring the opposition, then he has done his job. The Shaq/KG/Pierce/Ray/Nate five-man rotation is +58 for the year in less than 63 minutes of game action, so they are picking up nearly a point per minute over the opposition. While that may include some time with Paul at the point, it hasn't all been him. Some of it has been with Nate initiating the offense.

    Here's a spot of bad pick-and-roll defense by Nate. He has to play over the screen to keep KG from getting hung out to dry: http://www.anaheimamigos.com/2010/12/anatomy-of-t….

    Having Nate on the court instead of Rondo can benefit the Celtics (not permanently, of course, but as a change of pace). Defenses can't sag off Nate the way they do with Rondo. I want Rondo as my starter, but as long as Rajon is hurt and doesn't have that burst to penetrate and play ballhawking D, he should be resting and Nate should be playing. I don't want to see any more games like the Knick game where Rajon tries to get by without even being able to run. Rest up, Rajon.