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"IN RONDO WE TRUST"

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Rondology; Smells Like Team Spirit

Posted by paul on April 30, 2012 at 7:05 AM

Last night's game was the kind of stinker of a loss that we've become all too familiar with since the Big Three era began.  One could tell, by three or four minutes into the game that the Hawks were flying and the Celtics were not quite there yet, as in, not quite even in the arena yet!  But something seemed different last night, to me anyway.  After the travesty was over, and the dust was beginning to settle,  the veterans seemed to be talking reflectively and honestly to reporters about what happened, and I think they revealed something about the peculiar chemistry involved.

One of the frustrations for fans, during the Big Three era,  has  been that we know that this is a veteran team, a disciplined team, and a motivated team;  it's been hard for us to understand why they seem to put out nauseatingly bad outings on a regular basis.  Many fans have scapegoated Rondo for this, of course.  Such Haters were out in force last night, incredibly, but predictably.   For sure, Rondo seemed to stray too much on D, giving up key threes to Hinrich and Teague, but apart from that, one could hardly hope for a better example of one player trying to carry his team, could one?  Haters still pinned the loss on Rondo.

But what I thought was more interesting, in the realm of post-game reaction,  was the thoughtful mentality that both Garnett and Pierce had when talking to reporters after the game.  Basically, as it seemed to me, Garnett said that he started the game too amped, and Pierce said that he started the game not amped enough.   Listening to this made me think that KG and Pierce are like two cart horses that sometimes startle in opposite directions when the driver starts up the cart.  One startles right, and one startles left, and the cart sits there.  It doesn't even lurch forward.  

Garnett's personality is like a coiled spring.  Sometimes he coils down so tight that the resulting fire is a misfire.  Pierce, by contrast, often has a deceptively laid-back air.  The more intense the situation, the more he affects relaxation and even disinterest.  

Before a game, Garnett stalks around the court.   Pierce, contrastingly,  acts like he's at a clubhouse or bar.  In their minds, they are both ready to play, but each is sometimes out of sorts,  in an opposite way.  The resulting confusion takes a while to sort out, and by then, the game is sometimes already lost, or hard to win back.  

Last night, Rondo was magnificent.   He made some mistakes, especially in his coverage of Hinrich, but he put the team on his back and nearly carried them to a badly needed win.    It was depressing to see Rondo lose his cool and act, frankly, a little punkish, while blowing the chance for a win that he had carried his team to, and also earning himself  a one game suspension.  That was just depressing.  And it was a bit scary, too, to see Rondo lose control.  Rondo, Rondo!  Man, you do NOT want to pull a Ron Artest.  Please man, you have to control and channel your anger better than that.  

Rondo, like Artest, is an intensely emotional player, and last night he seemed to be  a force of nature towards the end, trying to will his team to victory.  It takes a lot of self-knowledge to keep such fiery energy channeled, especially under duress.  Keeping it channelled is part of being a leader.

Rondo said it himself.  He was out of control.   Got to work on that like you mean it, Rondo.  I love the way he faced the media afterwards.  He wasn't entirely honest, but you can't expect him to beg for the suspension either by saying "yeah, it was intentional."    As a fan, I just have to say, seeing what you did hurt, Rajon.   We love your game so much.  We are inspired by the way what you do on the court embodies a perceptive and creative spirit.  But man, you have to find ways to express your frustration with awful officiating that don't involve physical contact.   It's no easy job to figure that out, but it's something a leader has to do.

And he IS a leader.  He showed that last night.  

I wondered, as this game approached, what kind of character the team would display, what kind of team they would show themselves to be.  I feared they would be overconfident, and they were.  The game was a stinker, but still, the way the team acted afterwards did not stink.  Everyone seemed to be forthright and honest in their conversations with the media.  Rondo handled the situation about as well as he could have.  KG and Pierce clearly identified their failure to be ready when the game started, and together they revealed something about the chemistry gliches behind Big Three fiascos.  Doc was candid and critical, but still had his team's and Rondo's back.  

This is a team.  A real team.  I heard all the talk from them about that, about their 2008-ish team spirit,  over the last few days, and I wondered how much of it was just talk.  Based on the way the guys reacted after the game, I think it's real.  These guys feel each other right now.  No one threw Rondo under the bus.  No one deflected criticism and blame (well, Rondo a little, but understandably).  They were real, and they were together.

To me the most impressive thing was what Garnett said.  This is a HOF player, still one of the best players in the league, a proud and intense man, and he just said, flatly, "'do is our leader."     With four words, KG shut down all the questions.  This team is going to pull together.  They are going to try to win the next game without Rondo.  And then they are going to try to push forward to a championship.  Win or lose, they will do it as a team, and Rondo will lead the way.

I think the Celtics showed championship character yesterday.

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Garnett really had a lot to say yesterday about Rondo's importance as a leader.  PFlapp has some quotes today:

“The vets here have advised Rondo,” Garnett said. “He’s our young leader. We’ve always been advising him. Things I share with him I won’t share with you guys. That’s a Celtic privilege, you know what I’m saying? Other than that he’s a professional. He’s learned from countless situations that he’s been in. This year he’s been in a couple of situation that have progressed him as a young man and a young leader. There’s a lot of personalities around here and we don’t just follow people just because Doc or someone says, ‘Follow.’ You have to lead by example and we follow Rondo for a reason.”


Gotta love Garnett right now.   He's making it clear that the team has to rally around this situation, not fall apart over it.  He's funny too - he compares Rondo to the Black Lion head of the anime super-transformer-robot Voltron!  I just gotta draw that one.


PFlapp's article is a good one.  He has a good discussion of the meaning of the word "intentional", as regards Rondo's likely suspension.  Rondo has a point in that it's clear that he didn't premeditate bumping the ref.   But once his trip over Davis' foot put him on top of Davis ... well, then he obviously did purposefully bump him.  I'll just say that if the suspension is more than one game, it will be one more proof of how corrupt the NBA is.


Speaking of which, disgraced former official Tim Donaghy confirms, for what it is worth, that Rondo will be a marked man from now on for the refs, if he wasn't before, and that refs purposefully screw over players that they collectively don't like.  It's not like we needed to be told that by a former insider, but there it is, fwiw.  What this does is make Rondo's career more difficult, but if anyone can transcend the refs, Rondo can, IF he channels his anger.

 

 


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7 Comments

Reply paul
8:31 AM on April 30, 2012 
Man , what an emotional game. Sheesh.
Reply Morena
10:37 AM on April 30, 2012 
I absolutely loved what Garnett said!!
And I really appreciate that also Doc had Rondo's back!!

About the refs, they are already screwing over Rondo this year, so, it's all on Rondo and his selfcontrol now. He can do it!!
Reply paul
10:51 AM on April 30, 2012 
Morena says...
I absolutely loved what Garnett said!!
And I really appreciate that also Doc had Rondo's back!!

About the refs, they are already screwing over Rondo this year, so, it's all on Rondo and his selfcontrol now. He can do it!!


IF he lets his love for the game be bigger than his ego, he can do it!
Reply Morena
11:01 AM on April 30, 2012 
paul says...
IF he lets his love for the game be bigger than his ego, he can do it!


Yeah, but he will also need his teammates help.
They'll have to stand up for him because we can't ask anyone to get beaten as Rondo does without standing up for himself; so they'll have to increase even more this team spirit!!
Reply Celticslifer
11:20 AM on April 30, 2012 
Love the post. I do hope KG stays in your good graces. Hes a loveable player. Get game two!
Reply paul
11:20 AM on April 30, 2012 
Morena says...
Yeah, but he will also need his teammates help.
They'll have to stand up for him because we can't ask anyone to get beaten as Rondo does without standing up for himself; so they'll have to increase even more this team spirit!!


I agree - that's the only way. That's the only way forward now. If they don't pull together in a really extraordinary way, they are done.

And sadly, I think a two game suspension will also mean the end.
Reply paul
11:21 AM on April 30, 2012 
Celticslifer says...
Love the post. I do hope KG stays in your good graces. Hes a loveable player. Get game two!


I think he really rose to the occasion here. He's clearly calling on the team to pull together around Rondo. But if it's two games, I don't think that's enough.