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No Rondo, No Problem: Celtics 99, Kings 81

 
Sacramento Kings 81 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 Boston Celtics

Five Things We Saw

  1. The democratization of the Boston offense. With Rajon Rondo out, the Celtics refashioned an offense based around pace, ball movement and floor spacing. They shot 53.4%, scored 14 points in transition and put 6 guys in double figures. Sacramento chipped in with a defensive no-show, allowing the Celtics all sorts of room to maneuver and plenty of open shots.
  2. Jared Sullinger left the game with back spasms after playing only 4 minutes. For any other player, this would be a non-story but Sullinger’s draft stock collapsed last spring after reports he had issues with his back. Doc, post-game: “It’s just something we manage. He may miss games from time to time.”
  3. More on the offense: in ways that were uncommon earlier in the year, the Celtics had multiple guys attacking the rim, both in transition and in the half-court. Love him or not, many of Boston’s offensive sets involved Rondo pounding the rock into the ground at the top of the arc while something developed off-ball. And if it didn’t develop, Boston often found itself manufacturing a mid-range jumper with little time on the clock. There will be problems as we go forward but every Celtic looked engaged tonight.
  4. Big minutes for Brandon Bass and the recovering Chris Wilcox. An unexpected 9 minutes (almost entirely empty, mind you) from Jason Collins. None of this is sustainable if the goal is winning games on a regular basis. It may also be unavoidable.
  5. A rare, solid shooting night for Jason Terry, who hit 5-7 shots and handed out 4 assists in 22 promising minutes.
  • Phil725

    I don't see what's so unreachable about 6 points/5 rebounds in 17 minutes for Wilcox (maybe cut a rebound or two, but he's capable of getting you 8-10 points in the right game.) Especially if this high speed up tempo offense sticks around. He has major flaws when it comes to staying on the court and with some defensive issues, he's still great at scoring at transition and is somewhat of a threat in the PnR. Maybe more Wilcox is one thing the team needs sans Rondo. Still, get well soon, Sully. I have no interest in a Bass/Wilcox/Collins rotation alongside (and backing up) KG.

    Good start to the Rondo-less offense, I thought it was a lot of what we've seen without him all year; more ball movement and better shots in general. I'd like to see it for an extended period of time or against a team willing to play D before I call it anything significant though.

    • check12check

      I had a genuine shutter when i read about the Bass/Wilcox/Collins rotation. If sully has trouble staying healthy, this team is going to be in real danger. I agree about Wilcox though. I think he has enough skill to fill some minutes for us. He knows better than to over-do it, and gets the hustle/clean up plays that we need him to.

      I think when talking about the Rondo-less celtics the first comment we need to make is around the much improved D. The Celtics again look like the kid of team that can strangle a win away from a team and i love that. That being said, i think the offense looks better too. I mostly agree about your comments regarding the offense, but i think i am willing to give it the seal of approval. I know we are only two games post injury, but we have seen a number of other rondo-less games this season, and I consistently like how the offense looks without him. Maybe i will eat these words soon, but when we move the ball like this the game just looks easier and our multiple talented players can use their skills.

      Side notes:
      kudos to green for looking improved of late especially on D

      Doc needs to be wary of continuing to play barbosa/terry linups. they don't complement each other and there is zero D from the guards when they share the floor

    • The Cardinal

      The Heat last Sunday? Same thing.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Why is it that all we are getting on this site anymore is "5 things we saw" with a promise for grades tomorrow, later, or not mentioned at all?

    • someguyinsac

      Because it's late for that side of the country, unlike this side where it's relatively early? That's all I got on that and it's no biggie to me, time zones happen. ;)

      • CelticsBIG3

        You must be glad that the C's finally beat the Kings!

        • someguyinsac

          I am, just wish they'd do it every now and then when I'm at the game . =)

    • check12check

      because they don't love us anymore…

  • Banner18

    Still not really sure why Collins is our own body. Why don't we go out and shop a Greg Oden or Birdman like the Heat? Virtually no cost. Is there something I'm not understanding or does this team enjoy giving Collins minutes?

    • Phil725

      Remember when the Cs brought in Jarvis Varnado and Darko? Big guys better than Collins just aren't available. Greg Oden has his pick of a few cities to play (and I've heard no indication that Boston is on his list,) and Birdman has tons of off-court red flags that scared 29 teams off. It's a scary situation, but there's no easy answer.

      • Banner18

        I see your point. Just seems asinine that their is no one out their who has more game than Jason Collins.

        Side note–If Sullinger's back spasms start to become an ongoing issue, I think it will be time to give K-Mart a shot.

        • KillerGymRat

          K-Mart turned down an offer in pre-season…though maybe sitting half a year changed his mind.

          I would love to add him.

          • dslack

            I don't remember anything about Boston offering Kenyon Martin a contract in preseason. Do you have a link?

  • KillerGymRat

    You had to love that second quarter (80% shooting, wow). It was also really great to see guys attack the rim instead of settling for jumpers. But Sacramento's lack of D made that pretty easy to do.

    A lot of possitives tonight, though it was rough to see this team has absolutely no idea how to play against the zone. I saw guys trying to run screen and rolls against it. It's a zone! All you get with screen and roll is a slightly better mid range jumper which is exactly what a zone wants you to shoot. You beat the zone with passing and that never happened. That really got Sacramento back in the game and I felt like our offense never recovered. I also saw way too much PP iso action.

    Thankfully that second quarter was so crushing we were able to ride it out. Not thrilled about losing 3 out of 4 quarters and the defensive lapse in the second half but I'll take the win anyday.

    And…

    Best news of the day – Paul Pierce will definitely NOT be traded for Rudy Gay.

  • Switcharoo

    Yea I agree with BIG when was the last time they posted grades? I don’t think I saw any through that 6 game slide; not that I really wanted those grades. But the grading just seemed to have stopped. That’s weak CH. speaking only for myself I think the grades make up a big part of the article.

    Now the game. I didn’t get to watch it (sad face) but I checked in through NBAs. Site now and then and was loving the scores and stats the team was putting up, especially the halftime score. This team is used to Rondo making it happen and has grown depended on him creating open looks for the rest of the guys. Or so I thought. It looks like without him these guys adapted well and moved the ball differently and at time better and it kinda forces them to become more engaged. A lot of people are saying without Rondo the Celtics are doomed but I still stand by this very talented team and know that they are still a force to reckon with. The first big test is going to be against the Clippers I think. I’ll say this, the Celtics like to keep it tense for the fans, ill give them that.
    I hope Sully can get back (no pun intended) soon, that’s a shame to have someone so young have injury issues so soon.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Sounds good

  • SD boy

    The issue I seen with this game not being able to watch but looking statistically after the game is not settling didn't happen (last time C's played the Kings higher percent of shots were in paint according to shot charts) . Also if we played fast paced against this Sacramento Kings team and still only mustered 99 points we are going to have to play very well defensively if we are gonna want to beat good teams on both the offensive and defensive end they are the 30TH team in the league in defensive efficiency need to fix that.

    • KillerGymRat

      I watched the game and the C's played dramatically different from the first half to the second as a result of the zone Sacramento went with after falling down by 28 points.

      The zone is designed to take away shots around the basket and force teams to shoot jumpers.

      It worked.

      The overall numbers are skewed since the game was never really close after the half. The C's never let them get closer then 15 and you could tell they were happy to hang on rather then to expend energy trying to get to the rim against a zone. When the game was on the line they were killing them with the fast break and attacking the rim hard. They made 14 straight shots. It was actually like watching a video game. As if they were making up for every missed shot all in one quarter.

      I wish you could've gotten to see it.

      • SD boy

        yeah I wish I could too but that's one of the negatives of living in South Dakota get to watch 15 Celtics games a year. I get to see the awesome Timberwolves every night you know how exciting that is without Kevin Love BLAH

        • KillerGymRat

          If you have a computer and internet access there are free sites that stream live games. I would post a link for you but I'm not sure if that's appropriate on this site. Check out keywords "NBA", "live", "stream".

          And mods, if this comment isn't appropriate – please delete.

  • KillerGymRat

    I have to say I lost interest in Cousins after watching this. He's always been hot and cold, but KG tore him to pieces. It was a joy to watch. I haven't seen KG be so efficient and shoot with such confidence in a long time.

    It was clear he just can't defend a skilled big and he got frustrated trying to get it back on the other side and took himself out of rhythm and got in foul trouble (which he often does). Point being, I see a lot of talk we should pursue him, and I've actually appreciated his talent, but he'll never be a franchise player. He just doesn't have the basketball IQ or toughness.

    Young KG would've lit him up for 40.

  • KillerGymRat

    I have to say I lost interest in Cousins after watching this. He's always been hot and cold, but KG tore him to pieces. It was a joy to watch. I haven't seen KG be so efficient and shoot with such confidence in a long time.

    It was clear he just can't defend a skilled big and he got frustrated trying to get it back on the other side and took himself out of rhythm and got in foul trouble (which he often does). Point being, I see a lot of talk we should pursue him, and I've actually appreciated his talent, but he'll never be a franchise player. He just doesn't have the basketball IQ or toughness. It was a big reason they went zone since Cousins, nor any of Sacs bigs could handle KG.

    Young KG would've lit Cousins up for 40.

    • CG12

      Cousins spent more time holding the ball and barking at people from the elbow than he did going to work in the post. That guy is crap.

  • mike

    rondo should have got injured in august.as kg once said "you are cancerous to your team".the minute i heard he was out i envisioned what has happened the last 2 games.when he comes back hes iether gotta get with this play style or get the fuck out.

  • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

    I feel awkward saying this, but as a fan this team is very fun to watch without Rondo right now.

  • Danny

    Solid effort from a team backed into a corner. Glad to see them come out strong and rally around each other. Hopefully they keep this newfound intensity and effort going forward. The team has talent it’s all about maximizing it. Hopefully the sully thing is nothing more than a rookies body adjusting to a long nba season.

  • IBleedGreen

    Without Rondo the defense has no where to go but up. Offense is so much more fun to watch too without the PG pounding the ball for 20 seconds trying to find an open man. I seriously hope C's play great the next few weeks and convince Ainge to deal Rondo before the trade deadline.

    • OKCeltic

      If you actually bleed green like your handle says, then you'd realize how ridiculous your last sentence sounds. If you truly like this team, why would you consider trading Rondo when his value is at its lowest? Do you really think the team would get much back for a guard with a blown out knee? The return would equate to a bag of balls and a pile of towels. Maybe you can get a team to throw in a couple of those plexiglass covers they put over the team water cups so people don't throw stuff into them. smh

  • CG12

    As much as it was good to see the C's pound a bad team, there were some items of concern that have come up in the post-game analysis and comments. Other than the huge run in Q2, the teams played pretty even. Much of that is indeed because of the zone played by SAC and the C's transparent lack of urgency once they got up big. We started to see PP bouncing it at the top of the key for extended periods and the ball not getting up court very quickly and, sure enough, the lead began to dwindle. I can understand dialing it back a notch or two against a crappy team when you are up 27, but that shizzle won't fly against good teams. It seems to me that C's are capable of blowing a 27 point lead. It is definitely possible.

    • srle

      I'm pretty sure they blew a 27 point lead againts atlanta

      • CG12

        You don't say? Hmmm.

    • KillerGymRat

      You're comment is spot on.

      The possitive is this team is capable of getting up 27 points on teams, which in the NBA, even against bad teams is pretty impressive. The bad news is they can just as quickly give up a huge lead because they seem to abandon what was working and get comfortable. As you said, that shizzle won't fly.

  • CG12

    Last night was another example of the yin and yang of Jeff Green. That stretch in the 2nd when he went off was ridiculous – he just decided he was going over and around guys to get to the rim and did it. It also seems like he makes an unusually high percentage of those off-the-bounce 20 footers he seems to like. I like Green shooting 3s from the corners, but not really anywhere else. He just doesn't hit them from up top. Green's D has really been good recently. He is getting up in dudes grills and pressuring them hard, and doing it effectively. I have heard fans say they don't want Green in the post – the spectrum runs from don't like to flat-out hate – but I really like his post game. Green was a straight-up 4 in college and played a lot in the post. He had that nasty left handed hook last night, and it looked so easy and fluid.

    • CG12

      Buuut, he had Fredette on him in the second half, and for some reason didn't immediately post Jimmer up. You need to recognize those mis-matches, and Green sometimes gets stuck in passive mode, like "I already did my work and now I'm supposed to get other guys involved and maybe shoot a spot-up 3." No, Jeff, no! You have been bossing this game. Keep doing it until they make you stop. You don't need to take turns. If you are the guy, then step up and be the guy.

      • OKCeltic

        Didn't see the game, but could the zone have anything to do with the lack of post work in the second half not only from Green but from anyone else on the team?

        • KillerGymRat

          The zone deffinitely had an effect. But the second half was weird. Doc tried different line-ups (in part he had to with Sully hurt) and likely he was taking advantage of the huge lead to explore different backcourt combos. Barbosa + Terry was a disaster.

          But the entire team really stopped being aggresive and took the easy way out against the zone, which is a major concern since that's exactly what the zone wants is for you to take corner 3's and mid-rang jumpers. The rebounds always go to the D and it translates to fast break opportunites on misses. In this case…a lot.

          Green actually struggled more on D in the second half which also may be a factor as he couldn't contain Tyreke Evans without fouling and got lit up.

          Totally agree with you CG12, though as somebody who has been hard on him all season, at-least we're starting to see a bit of the potential that Danny must've fallen in love with. That 10 point 2nd quarter was just awesome.

          • Anthony

            I think we all agree JGreen needs to be consistently aggressive. It's probably just his persona. In the Melo meltdown game, he had a stretch where he posted Novak, Kidd, etc whenever he got the ball but it was followed by a stretch of 18-20 footers off the dribble. But the main reason why I've been a JGreen advocate is because of plays like the Statue of Liberty dunk over Bosh. Once he got the ball at the top of the key, you can almost sense a strong drive to the rim for a dunk. The fact that he posterized Bosh was just a cherry on top.

            Side note, I was really hoping Pierce would replace Rondo in the ASG. I know he has been in a shooting slump lately but he picked up his rebounding and assist numbers in the interim.

            Also, WTF is wrong with Marc Stein's power ranking having the Celts at 19!! while the Lakers are one of the worst team in the league and are at 13. SMH

          • KillerGymRat

            Wow…13? I think its because pretty much every sports commentator had the Lakers not only making the finals but beating the Heat and winning it all in their pre-season picks.

            So they refuse to admit that team just sucks and they all made a terrible prediction. After they won 3 games in a row with Kobe doing a Nash impersonation those same commentators where like – here they come.

            But after last nights loss to Pheonix, hopefully they'll finally shut up. That team is doing exactly what I thought they would – implode.

            The C's will prove them all wrong. 19…wtf!

          • Phil725

            General tip about power rankings; they're one of the most prevalent forms of troll journalism. I've yet to see one (at least on a major site,) that puts a lot of work and research into where they slot the teams. All most power rankings do is take the standings, then flip a few teams around to the point that it'll generate the most page views. You're best off not even clicking.

          • Anthony

            Lol…I guess Marc Stein and John Hollinger are trolls. I know Hollinger's ranking are more biased towards good offensive teams. I recall even the past few years when Celts were still dominant defensive team, they were always ranked somewhere 7-10.

            I've come to terms that 99% of ESPN are not Celtics fans and are only on Lebron, Kobe, and Melo bandwagon.

  • Josh_5
    • Josh_5

      You can thank me later for making this team better.

      • Anthony

        Thoughts? The trade works if we include Collins too! Lol
        http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=bam8u

        • Josh_5

          Haha, noooway the Jazz agree to that tho.

      • Banner18

        I'd rather not deal with Okafor's outrageous contract. However, I think this makes a lot of sense for both teams.
        http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=baul6

        • Jonathan Hoy

          The Nuggets – a playoff team with aspirations to get the 4 seed in the West – are not going to trade the league's best backup PG not named Bledsoe for 3 guys who won't even get off their bench. We can't just dump Brandon Bass on anyone, because he is terrible. No one is going to want to play a guy 6-8 million dollars a year for the next 4 years who isn't good enough to be a regular rotation player on a playoff team.

        • hydrofluoric

          Hey, nice trade! But I think this one is even better: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=c9b4g

          I mean, who says no?!

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