Now that Rajon Rondo has been suspended for game two, we can all welcome back Paul Pierce, Point Forward. This is not a major crisis, given that Pierce has been successful running the offense during previous Rondo absences. Plus, considering how poorly he shot in game one, the additional touches and responsibility may serve to refocus Pierce on the offensive end and give him more opportunities to create for his teammates.
Actually, we can safely assume that Pierce will not only be the point guard tomorrow night but a scoring point guard at that. That’s a net positive for his game. A higher usage rate should lead to more free throw attempts, which are critical for this Boston offense. Pierce had only 3 trips to the line in game one and an ugly shot distribution for a playoff game.
Weren’t we talking about attacking the basket just 48 hours ago?
I’m not worried about Pierce, though. He’ll almost certainly step up. Even if he fails to attack the rim with the regularity we’d like, more of those jumpers will fall. And Kevin Garnett can do a lot more down low and from the mid-range. He should also come in with an edge after being outplayed by Josh Smith in game one.
The real downside with Rondo out is the downstream problems it creates. With Ray Allen also either out or limited, everyone else’s importance is enhanced and the Celtics aren’t working with a deep bench. What will they get from Brandon Bass (8 measly game one points)? Will they get the kind of scoring they need from C-list options like Avery Bradley and Mickael Pietrus? And is there a surprise contributor somewhere on the bench, just waiting for his Nate Robinson moment?
It doesn’t have to be points. It can be hard screens, hard fouls, rim runs, and sneaky cuts. But whatever it is, it’s all hands on deck for the offense tomorrow night.