Post-game Reactions

Rajon Rondo losing his aggressiveness in the second half. Boston giving up big leads and letting the competition back in. Two pervasive memes about this Celtics team, and on Sunday night, we got both at once. Now this is what it’s like when memes colliiiiiiide! (Dope Powerman 5000 ref).

In Boston’s soul-graying 28-point second half two days ago, Rondo attempted only two shots. This came after gutting the Heat for 8 points on 7 shots in Boston’s 34-point first quarter. Foul trouble had something to do with it, but Rondo played 42 minutes of regulation. He had time to take more shots than that.

Rondo’s shyness late in games is not a sustainable trend for this team. He, not Paul Pierce, needs to be the primary offensive option for the Celtics for every minute he’s on the floor. There’s a myth out there, perpetuated by Doc Rivers, KG, and Rondo himself, that Pierce is “their scorer.” False. It’s Rondo.

The “Paul is our scorer” cliche may be hurting the Celtics as much as anything else in these games. Pierce has come off a dicey Philadelphia series to post the lowest eFG% against Miami of any of the Big Four…on the most shots taken.

Pierce: 28-76, 40.8 eFG%
KG: 33-70, 47.1 eFG%
Allen: 16-42, 48.8 eFG%
Rondo: 40-64, 64.1 eFG%

That’s a gaping gap between one and four. Rondo is somehow converting like Tyson Chandler, who doesn’t really take shots so much as drops. Meanwhile, Pierce has missed more shots in this series than Ray Allen has taken.

A miss against the Heat is more costly than just the blown points opportunity: they also lead to transition points (doi). Think of how often Wade snags long a defensive rebound, pivots and shotputs a pass straight to LeBron chugging towards the other rim 40 feet away. These are horrifying tableaus for Boston, and they come off of misses, especially missed jumpers, frequently Pierce missed jumpers.

Those FGA numbers for Pierce don’t account for Pierce’s FT attempts. He actually gets a higher usage rate than even his 76 shots would imply, because he gets about 3.5 FGA written off by fouls every game. Those are vital for getting his team in the bonus and generally burnishing his point totals, but they still don’t justify the number of attempts he’s gathering like nuts for winter.

If Rondo were taking as many shots as Pierce and somehow managed to keep up that efficiency, he’d be averaging about 29 A GAME in this series. I’m thinking three shots per game could be transferred from Pierce to Rondo, basically flip-flopping their FGA numbers and elevating Rondo to the first-option status he deserves.

(The title of this post is a pun on Hoarders).

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Hayes Davenport

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  • Jason

    This is no surprise. Pierce is not the unstoppable force he was once while Rondo is getting better and better. Then there are matchups which exacerbate why Rondo is the better option. Holiday and Chalmers are no match for Rondo. The four guys who defend Pierce the best are Andre, LeBron, Deng and Artest. So, he's been unfortunate to face 2 of his top 4 stoppers in the entire league. So be it. If they reach that point, neither west team has a Pierce stopper and he could be unleashed again. (Neither has a Rondo stopper either, though). For now (and every situation) everyone needs to realize where the advantages are and for this series Pierce taking on LeBron isn't the money play, Rondo is.

    • Jason

      Let me add though that Rondo throwing up crazy layups is getting out of hand. C'mon man.

  • UhOh!!

    This is Rondo & KG's team. Rondo leads the "O" KG leads the "D" (its always been the KG era more than the big 3 era because we're a defensive team & KG IS the defense but that's another topic for another day). It used to be PP leading the "O" he's given up alot but i feel he's reluctant to give all control to Rondo when it comes to crucial situations when we NEED a bucket he wants to be the hero and they give him the ball in those situations because he's the longest tenured Celt' and the "captain" but he's no longer our best one on one player he hasn't been effective in late game situations in quite some time(some good but more bad then good) and he's been throwing some horrible passes in crucial situations as of late. hopefully we get that sorted out soon because Rondo can do so much more than PP(who mostly relies on that elbow jumper or drawing a foul) in those situations…. GO CELTS!!

    • Steve

      Still don't trust Rondo at the end of games, I'd much rather have Paul take that elbow jumper and maybe give a pump fake to draw a foul. Rondo worries me at the line still too much.

    • skeeds

      Late game situations are not as simple as "leader gets the ball" dude. Think of it this way. why does Pop go to Manu to close games, even though he's got a top 10 all time player on the court, and Parker's averaging twice as many points?
      When you're trying to hit a game winner, you need a triple threat player. Who can pass well, shoot well, and drive to the basket well. And Pierce is not our best, but our ONLY triple threat.

      If Rondo gets the ball outside the arc and the defense forces him to shoot, he's talking a 15% shot. If he's forced to shoot a long jumper, a 30% shot. For Pierce, those shots are something like 37% and 55%.
      A drive to the basket is almost always out of the question, (when was the last time you saw a game winning layup?) and the only way you can find a pass is if someone leaves his man to help. And with the ball in Rondo's hands. there ain't no one helping off of Ray, KG or Pierce to double him…
      Oh and drawing a foul is kinda the best thing you can get out of a make-or-lose situation. And Pierce's got to be top 3 in the league in forcing that call, and an 85% or something like FT shooter. Rondo's under 70% for his career.

      I'm all for Rondo taking over the offense throughout the game, but on the last play, 9/10 times the best option is still PP.

      • UhOh!!

        I wasn't saying its as simple as leader gets the ball.. yes in theory PP is capable of all those things(and he's been money in late game situations for years) but recent results have shown he's not the best option at the moment. He's been absolutely putrid passing out of traps as of late that elbow jumper is falling infrequently and he's not drawing fouls half as much as he used to. Rondo has the speed and vision to make good things happen from ANYWHERE on the floor whether it's for himself or a teammate & PP is no slouch cutting and playing without the ball. Rondo is in such a zone right now that he's dictating what the defense does not the other way around we need to take advantage of that….

  • High Rollers

    I see it too, Hayes. It's one of the biggest parts of the "soul-graying" of the offense, another one being when Paul, for whatever reason injury related or otherwise, can't pass successfully out of the trap (although multiple guys have had that particular problem).

    HOWEVA… the myth of "Paul is our scorer" is useful in a sense. When Paul's shot is on in brief stretches, obviously. Or if he finds a way to bust out. But more importantly when it's used as (overused word of the injury plagued postseason) a decoy. He's still processing it out there, you can tell. But I'm pretty sure Paul has already consulted his dictionary at home, and looking up "decoy" found a picture of his good buddy Ray Allen. But his own visage is slowing showing up beside #20 in that entry. The Captain must flatter his pal with some imitation, because without Paul playing off the ball a little more each game, we're plain making things harder for ourselves. And getting in our own way is the one thing this team can't afford. On the flip side, there is nothing sweeter than an unexpected off the ball cut by Pierce and a rock-the-cradle yo-yo find by Rondo. And guess who scores the bucket and/or and-1. Yup. The man, the myth, the legend. That's the Truth of the matter. Nice initial call on the play, Hayes.

  • CG12

    Let us not forget that their shot attempts, efficiency, scoring, etc. are all inter-related. Rondo gets a lot of good looks because the defense has to closely guard KG, Ray, and PP. If those guys weren't all really good shooters, Rondo would have way less room to work. If Rondo took more shots, his efficiency would inevitably go down, as his defender played him more for the shot and the other defenders shade more to help on him.

    Which isn't to say Rondo shouldn't look for his O more. He is a better player when he is very aggressive with his offense. He was so effective in the first half of G4 pushing the pace, scoring, and getting his teammates involved. He was much less so in the second half when he wasn't as forceful. Some games he will shoot the elbow jumper most times he has it. Other games, he won't shoot it even when he is wide open.

  • Phil

    The problem with projecting changes in outputs when you change the amount of shots is that you never know how a player's efficiency will change. Its definitely not linear; someone shooting 50% on ten shots a game won't shoot 50% on twenty shots a game too. Rondo's situation is exacerbated since that efficiency is thanks to a small sample size and is completely unsustainable anyway. The goal shouldn't be to get Rondo up to twenty-five points a game, but to get him right to the edge of where his efficiency starts to drop.

    That said, I fully agree with giving a few of Pierce's shots to Rondo. Pierce is going to have to take a lot of shots in this series because the Celtics just don't have other options, but fifteen is a much nicer number than eighteen if those three go to KG or Rondo. If Pierce is giving offensive possessions to Stiemsma or even Ray, its not worth it.

  • skeeds

    See, I don't think it really works that easily. Rondo's taking less shots, but better shots. He takes all the layups the defense allows him, and a handful of jumpers. So yes, 2-3 drives to the hoop more would be great, but he's more likely to only find long jumpers if he looks for more shots.

    Also, Pierce making a lot of attempts is in my opinion kind of necessary. In both this series and the last, he's the one playing against their best defender. And while shooting a lot against 2 of the best 3 wing defenders in the league, Iggy and Lebron, might seem weird, he HAS to keep attacking his matchup. He can't allow Lebron to focus on anything else than stopping him.
    And in the end, Pierce might not be the "leader" of this team anymore, but he is by far the most skilled offensively. If someone's got to chuck up some ugly jumpers with a hand in his face, because the play broke down, it should be Pierce every single time.

    What Rondo needs to keep doing, is adding assists. If he gets 10 in a half, (which he often does) then he needs 10 more in the 2nd. I'd rather he gave Bass, Ray, Dooling and KG an easy bucket each, than take those shots himself. And it snowballs from there. If he keeps the defense worrying about the assist, he'll also find himself open more.

    • Steve

      This is spot on right here

    • JR99

      This argument only works if you accept that Lebron is going to forget about Pierce unless Pierce keeps jacking up shots. I don't think that's the case. If Rondo is (much!) more efficient with his scoring, then it makes perfect sense to let him score more, taking the FGAs away from the LEAST efficient scorer on the team, which is Paul right now.

  • Anthony

    The problem with giving more shots to Rondo is that Miami has been putting Lebron and Dwade on him for most of the 2nd half in games 3 and 4. That's probably why he hasn't been as effective in the 2nd half of those games.

    I'm still expecting a great game (16-20 points) from Bass before this series in over. Celts has pretty much given up on the pick and pop between Rondo and Bass.

  • red

    What is up with all the paragraphs being written today? There is obviously a lot on everyone's minds. I just wanted to say go C's, and that is the cutest kid sooooooooooo adorable.

  • Morpheus

    This is Rondo’s team and yes he should/is our number 1 option on offense, not Paul.

    KG leads the D, Rajon leads the O.

  • Morpheus

    Go Celtics!!!!

  • JR99


    The whole point is Rondo's efficiency. How he gets it done is beside that point. Rondo's disappearance in 2nd halves is deadly, and yeah, he and Pierce should trade FGAs. If only.

  • thunderlizards

    Rondo can only be even remotely as efficient as the numbers show because he gets so many lay-ups in transition. Pierce often takes shots when the half court o gets bogged down and we need to beat the shot clock. I wonder what the numbers look like with transition attempts factored out…Rondo is not a great scorer in the halfcourt

  • Batman

    Great article
    Really well explained

  • lakershater13

    “Let’s do it”-KG

  • I_Love_Green

    Lets get it