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Rockets beat down C’s: Where’s the urgency? How’s Rondo?

 

I understand having a letdown every once in a while. But when you’ve lost 3 out of your past 5 games heading into yesterday’s matchup with the Rockets, you’d think the Celtics would play with a little bit of intensity. Especially on the defensive end.

The Rockets shot lights-out in the 2nd quarter, building a sizeable lead that was ultimately too large for the Celtics to overcome. But a large part of Rockets’ success can be attributed to the C’s poor defensive showing. Boston allowed a season-high 62 first-half points, consistently allowing Houston to beat them off the dribble, get uncontested mid-range looks, and take open 3-pointers. Too often, the C’s were one step behind on their defensive rotations, and the ease in which the Rockets executed on offense was increasingly frustrating as the game went on.

Big picture: The Celtics’ 93-77 loss to Houston will only matter if the C’s fail to lock up the #1 seed. Otherwise, nobody’s going to remember this game once May rolls around. Fortunately, the Bulls lost last night, so the Celtics remain tied in the loss column with Chicago in the standings. Frankly, I think it’s silly when people say the #1 seed isn’t all that important. This is not last year. Not only are the Celtics a year older, but the competition is better.

The Chicago Bulls are better than the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2010 Orlando Magic. Heck, the Miami Heat probably are, too. Obviously, the Celtics could pull off a series-victory against either team, even if they were the higher seed. But I don’t think Doc Rivers, nor the Celtics’ players, should be settling for anything less than the best record in the East. Personally, the thought of playing a Game 7 in Chicago scares me. And hopefully it scares the Celtics enough to the point where they really turn it on over the remaining 15 games.

***Let’s dig into Rajon Rondo for a minute. After Wednesday’s game, Kevin Garnett told the media that Rondo is playing hurt. That he’s going up against some of the best players in the league, giving everything he has for this Celtics’ team, and that he’s banged up.

After yesterday’s game, Rondo continued to dismiss any ideas that he is suffering from a serious injury. Or at least that’s what he’s telling us.

“Everybody’s asked me, am I hurt?’’ Rondo said. “I’m fine. It’s an 82-game season. It’s long. Nothing is, I don’t think, too serious. We all have aches and pains, but I don’t think that it’s nothing that’s able to keep me out. I’m playing, I’m just not playing well.

“It’s simple,’’ he said. “I’m just missing shots. That seems to be the biggest thing that stands out. I haven’t been making my shots lately, shots or layups. I’ve just got to try to continue and eventually I’ll just get through it.’’

Is it possible that Rondo is more banged up than he’s leading us to believe? Absolutely. Rondo never makes excuses for anything and that’s why we love him. But regardless of how injured he is feeling these days, it is fair to say he is not playing with that borderline-arrogance that makes him so great.

As we’ve all learned from watching Rondo over the years, there is a strong correlation between his confidence and his performance. He’s not someone like Ray Allen who has the same belief that every shot he takes is going in the basket. When Ray goes on a cold streak, he simply shrugs it off because he knows he’s bound to get hot soon. Rondo’s play, for better or worse, fluctuates with his confidence to make shots, get to the rim, and be a shut-down defender.

Last night, Rondo’s slump continued as he shot 2-11 for 4 points, 6 assists and 2 rebounds. That gives him a 4 game total of 8 points, 26 assists and 9 rebounds. And yes, the Celtics have lost 3 of those games, if you needed any further reminder that this team goes as Rondo goes.

During the first month of the season, I really believe Rondo felt he was the best point guard in the league. He felt he could do anything, and he went out and had several record-breaking performances. Now it’s simply a matter of Rondo breaking out of his slump. Or getting healthy. Whatever you think the case may be.

  • someguyinsac

    I blame all of Rondo's ills this season on his inability to wear a headband upside-down! =)

    • Steve B

      I actually just thought that while looking at his upside down shamrock. Don't underestimate the power of the headband

      • Timothy

        love that Rondo found a way to were his headband upside down again! First part of the season was so weird seeing him without it

  • Celticai

    I think there's no reason to panic. I believe the Celtics are willingly going through this phase, and that it's a strategy. They want to be in full strength mode, come playoffs time. So if Rondo played his guts out, like in the beginning of the season, he could seriously get hurt again. Or even aggregate his current injuries. So he remains careful of himself – And this appears to be a "Slump".
    Oh – And I do think they don't really care about home court advantage, they just want everyone as healthy as they can get them. The Celtics aren't scared of nobody. They're the toughest team in the league.

    • Joop

      I agree. I don't think people should panic at the moment. The Celtics went through worse last season. Yes the competition is much better in the eastern, but the Celtics are still the Conference champs, the best and still the team to beat. People keep gloating abut the Bulls mostly because of Rose, but Rose is one person and one player can't do all the work for an entire team. You look at the Bulls roster and look the Celtics. The Celtics roster is much deeper loaded with former starters.

      There's a strong possibility the Bulls will get the 1 seed. But the Celtics can't killed themselves worrying about the Bulls. Celtics have no reason to fear the Bulls or to think they can't win on the road in CHI. The Celtics have been battling health issues all season. The Celtics starters have played a lot of minutes because of injuries and I think I might be catching up with them right now. Also, the starters haven't played well. Not Perkins or the new players have anything to do with the C's losing.

      The Lakers are currently second in their conference. I don't hear people panic for the Lakers not having HC.

  • stephen

    @celticai —– I agree there is no reason to panic, however continuing to lose games and just going through the motions like this team is doing now will wind up dropping us behind teams like the Lakers in the standings. It looks more and more like the Lakers are a good bet to come out of the West again. The C's can no doubt come out of the East without HCA, but if we played the Lakers in the finals with them having HCA——-Yes, I think that could be a problem.

  • _Banania

    Don't think Rondo was / is hurt. In the interview of KG, he seems to be borried by the questions and I think he wanted to defend his PG and get rid of the journalists.

  • Lakers GM

    hahahaha ROFL …
    "I really believe Rondo felt he was the best point guard in the league." LOL the only reason Rondo's ever been considered any kind of player is because he's got 3 hall of famers giving free assists all game. Now They are old and cold from the field, and U wonder why Rondo is struggling? lol its because he never does anything, he cant shoot for his life, all he does is get free layups since everyone pays attention to the big 3 or when they guard him he passes to them and they give him assists. how has this guy ever made an all star team? He wont be anymore thankfully since Deron Williams is in the East now. Rondo – MORP – Most OverRated Player in the League.
    "When Ray goes on a cold streak, he simply shrugs it off because he knows he’s bound to get hot soon" – Rofl Yea just like he did after game 2 of the finals, he couldnt make shiit. Again, all his records and crap has been during the regular season when nobody cares about defense and they pay attention to the other guys so he just makes wide open shots. When has he ever created a shot for himself? Did he make many 3s when Lakers put a body on him in the finals – NO. how can he be the greatest shooter of all time when he can't even create a shot for himself or score 30 pts a game???… Kobe and Jordan are the greatest shooters of all time, that's why the best players of all time are either Centers or shooters such as Kobe and Jordan. Don't matter who's guarding them, if its the finals, if its the 4th quarter, they will make the shots.
    I give credit to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and in third is Perkins as their most valuable players who do most of the Work. Rondo + Allen just get benefits of playing with them.
    and Lastly, Lmao at Danny Ainge, just totally fking up the Celtics hope of winning a ring. The fact that he traded perkins cuz he couldnt re-sign him because of money- shows why Celtics franchise sucks. They cant compete with the high-paying teams, they have 1 "lucky" championship in 20 years, barely made the playoffs in those years. Just lucky they got 11 rings back in the day before the 3 point line even existed LOL. And why wud u trade Perkins ? for the future? U have no future either way! U cud have at least made one last Run this year and just forget the future. Now u dont have a Now Or a Future.
    Well, At least Celtics have an Excuse now, that their Starting 5 was broken up, so they couldnt win it.
    Once Again ROFL, they had no chance to win the Ring WITH OR WITHOUT PERKINS. just delusional hopes of fans.
    And Once Again, You will watch In Agony as the Lakers Bring in Banner 17 :D

    • http://cavalierthoughts.wordpress.com Rich

      Totally unreadable. Trolls need to learn that if they want to be effective they can't type in walls of text with umtpeen "lols" scattered throughout. It causes everyone to ignore the post entirely, and therefore defeat the purpose of trolling.

      • Lakers GM

        ok…have it ur way then…
        hahahaha …
        "I really believe Rondo felt he was the best point guard in the league." the only reason Rondo's ever been considered any kind of player is because he's got 3 hall of famers giving free assists all game. Now They are old and cold from the field, and U wonder why Rondo is struggling? its because he never does anything, he cant shoot for his life, all he does is get free layups since everyone pays attention to the big 3 or when they guard him he passes to them and they give him assists. how has this guy ever made an all star team? He wont be anymore thankfully since Deron Williams is in the East now. Rondo – MORP – Most OverRated Player in the League.
        "When Ray goes on a cold streak, he simply shrugs it off because he knows he’s bound to get hot soon" – Yea just like he did after game 2 of the finals, he couldnt make shiit. Again, all his records and crap has been during the regular season when nobody cares about defense and they pay attention to the other guys so he just makes wide open shots. When has he ever created a shot for himself? Did he make many 3s when Lakers put a body on him in the finals – NO. how can he be the greatest shooter of all time when he can't even create a shot for himself or score 30 pts a game???… Kobe and Jordan are the greatest shooters of all time, that's why the best players of all time are either Centers or shooters such as Kobe and Jordan. Don't matter who's guarding them, if its the finals, if its the 4th quarter, they will make the shots.
        I give credit to Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and in third is Perkins as their most valuable players who do most of the Work. Rondo + Allen just get benefits of playing with them.
        and Lastly, Danny Ainge, just totally fking up the Celtics hope of winning a ring. The fact that he traded perkins cuz he couldnt re-sign him because of money- shows why Celtics franchise sucks. They cant compete with the high-paying teams, they have 1 "lucky" championship in 20 years, barely made the playoffs in those years. Just lucky they got 11 rings back in the day before the 3 point line even existed. And why wud u trade Perkins ? for the future? U have no future either way! U cud have at least made one last Run this year and just forget the future. Now u dont have a Now Or a Future.
        Well, At least Celtics have an Excuse now, that their Starting 5 was broken up, so they couldnt win it.
        They had no chance to win the Ring WITH OR WITHOUT PERKINS. just delusional hopes of fans.
        And Once Again, You will watch In Agony as the Lakers Bring in Banner 17 :D

      • someguyinsac

        If only we could flag pixel wasting comments for removal. *~*

      • Chris O

        Not unreadable, just absolute garbage. Plus he must have missed Ray averaging 26.8? ppg the season before he became a Celtic….when he was already over 30. Ray is a top 50 player of all time…and apparently he missed that game 2 was that game that Ray lit the Lakers up…

        • Lakers GM

          yea game 2 when they didnt pay attention to him, then they started defending him and he became useless.

          • Mike

            You guys have 16 banners??? I was gonna swear last time I checked it was 11… but hey that means the OKC already have 1 banner too eh!

          • Lakers GM

            Ok, take away Minneapolis 5 and take away Celtics 11…
            That leaves it
            Lakers 11
            Celtics 6
            Bulls 6
            Spurs 4

          • Rav

            Why would you take away 11 of the Celtics' championships? They won them all in Boston. The Lakers won 5 of their championships in Minneapolis, and 11 in LA.

            To be fair, I think the Lakers have 16 too. OKC doesn't have one because they changed both the team name and the team's location – I think that sort of double change erases the previous championships. If you just change the location, and you're still the "Celtics" or the "Lakers" or the "Supersonics", you get to keep your championships.

  • Lakers GM

    good job calling it trolling and unreadable just because the truth about ur team hurts.

    • Danny AInge

      GO away

    • Mike

      how about the minute kobe retires your ''great'' team will probably be a lottery team eh? how about that for truth

      • Lakers GM

        Lakers have always been great, every decade been in the finals… They have the money, the Hollywood, and they always bring in the best players. Howard will probably go to the Lakers next or Blake Griffin. They will always have good players.
        All the Greats have been in the Lakers, look at all the people who hold the records – almost all been in the Lakers.
        Not like the Celtics that had one Bill Russell and then Larry Bird.

  • jpm00

    There's a strong possibility the Bulls will get the 1 seed. But the Celtics can't kill themselves worrying about the Bulls. Celtics have no reason to fear the Bulls or to think they can't win on the road in CHI. The Celtics have been battling health issues all season. The Celtics starters have played a lot of minutes because of injuries and I think I might be catching up with them right now. Also, the starters haven't played well. Not Perkins or the new players have anything to do with the C's losing.

    The Lakers are currently second in their conference. I don't hear people panic for the Lakers not having HC. Whenever I hear Celtics reporters, bloggers and supporters talk about the Bulls scare them. It just sounds like they have no faith in the Celtics beating the Bulls in a possible conference finals match up.

    The Celtics need to focus more on getting healthy than chasing the Bulls or Heat.

    • Lakers GM

      Yea Lakers are 2nd in their conference but they're on their way to playing their best basketball and are on track to finish ahead of the Celtics and Bulls for Home Court in the Finals. While the Celtics are headed in the opposite direction and playing bad at the end of the season. Now they have to Play the Knicks, then the Heat, then Bulls on the road- who they will lose to, and then Lakers on the road- who they will lose to.

  • playingitout

    I am not at all sure that the Cs care as much about HCA as some have suggested. We know last year that they did not. It's likely that at this point, HCA has faded in significance, and all they care about now is health, and chemistry.

    Let's remember: Rondo's current problems began in earnest on the day of the big trade. And there is NO question, at all, that team chemistry took a hit when Perk was traded. Perk was FAMILY…. no doubt about that, as they've all said it and obviously meant it. Tears were shed, all around. I can see how it would be hard to get swagger and chemistry back after an emotional hit like that. Making it even harder is the challenge of incorporating a whole bunch of new players into what once was a solid, chemically-bound core.

    This also helps explain why it has been the starters who have not performed up to par lately. The COMBINATION of the trade's emotional hit, the need to gel with the new guys, the bodily insults they've all suffered, and the unending grind of the regular season — has probably pushed the relevance of HCA down their list of priorities, and accounts for their recent apparently-indifferent play.

    So what does this team need, most of all now? I think it could be pretty simple: just TIME. Time to forget the emotional wounds, time to gel, time to get their swagger/mojo/confidence back, and (#4) time to finally get to the 2nd season (the only one that counts now). This applies most clearly to Rondo, but nearly as well to the rest of the team.

    The question is: is there enough time in the remaining regular season to get it all done (the first 3, anyway)? I think yes. And I think Shaq will be there in the playoffs, even if they have to shoot him full of whatever he needs. That's what he's said, and I completely believe him. He's a warrior. So are all the guys in the rest of this team's core.

    Bottom line: There are dark clouds threatening, for sure… but I think they will soon part, and this team will step into the breach and go all the way through. I still expect to see them in the Finals.

    • Lakers GM

      Yea last year they didn't have HCA, and they lost Game 7 on the Road.
      very good example.

  • Stew Gems

    We don't need a Laker homer telling Celtic fans what good for the Celtics. BUT, the HCA is huge during the playoffs and I'm hoping the C's can get their mojo working to hold it over the Lakers … cus we know who they'll be playin come June!

  • stephen

    People— Don't waste your time discussing basketball with Laker fans.I live on the West Coast and can tell you that they know little to nothing about the NBA. I have yet to talk with any neutral fan who didn't say that the C's got jobbed by the officials —Stern's personal bitches— in game 7 last year–the Lakers played probably the worst game 7 ever played and won only because the C's ran out of gas. Everyone knows this and deep down so do delusional Laker fans. The Lakers have accomplished nothing by beating Orlando 2 years ago and only wound up playing them because KG blew out his knee and then won last year because they got another gift when Perkins went down. Oh, and by the way who did the Lakers beat on their way to the finals last year—-The Sisters of mercy– The C's beat the # 1 and #2 teams —Orlando and Cleveland–without HCA—-The Lakers are paper champions–pure and simple–I know more about the Lakers then their own fans do.—-The Laker fans were recently voted the 15th worst fans in all of the major sports. Lakers GM WILL JUMP SHIP AS SOON AS KOBE RETIRES—along with the rest of them.

  • stephen

    Oh, and by the way the Celtics are still 9-3 against the Lakers in the Finals. Thats 9-3. Scoreboard ————Punk !!!!!!!!

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