|Posted by shawn cassidy on February 19, 2013 at 1:00 AM|
Nobody can step into Rondo's shoes, but that doesn't mean nobody shouldn't try. Both Lee, and Bradley have a chance to make names for themselves because of an unfortunate reason. Both players probably won't get you 20 a night, but scoring in spurts would be nice. Both players need to set the Celtics apart by playing All-NBA defense. They can score the ball off of defensive stops, and from spot on passing. The big question about both guys is if they can continue this great play all the way to the playoffs. Much has been made of KG, and Pierce. We know they need to be great, and the odds are they will. But they need help, and tough defense from both players is how the C's will get there.
"I don't care about how the first half of the season went," Lee said prior to last Wednesday's win over the Bulls. "That's over with. All we care about is now. We've got people who went down, so everybody in this locker room has to come together and just be better going forward. So now the halfway mark's over with, we've just got to come out with a fast start in the second half. So, that's all that matters -- thinking about what we're going to do and how we're going to do it."
"I've always been a guy -- from when I played in Orlando, on to Houston to here -- I've always been in an offense where there's a lot of movement, pin downs, a lot of stuff in transition, ball movement," Lee said. "In Orlando we had Jameer (Nelson) and (Hedo Turkoglu), but they like to play the same way that I like to play, so we used Dwight (Howard) for the offense, and so people would double him and we would move the ball around and then somebody would always be open. That's how we played there.
"In New Jersey there was just a lot of movement and what not, and in Houston it was the same, just moving the ball. And then you come here and you've got Rondo, who's a heck of a playmaker. That's his skill set, like he's going to find the open man, make the pass on time, and find the right man. And so now that we don't have that, I would say how we're playing now definitely fits my system."
It makes sense that Lee's playing better if he's accustomed to other styles of basketball. I get it, and we know that Lee could have played better with Rondo, but it never worked out, and I think it would have turned around for Lee with Rondo. Rajon was a smart enough player to figure out what Lee wanted, and what got Lee going. But at the same time. Lee should know his point guard. Do I think Lee is blaming Rondo? No I won't go that far, but it's obvious that Lee feels much better about his role, and that has to do with getting more minutes as well. Again I believe Lee, and Rondo would have figured it out this season, but they never got a chance.
Bradley’s face lit up when asked about forcing an eight-second violation. It’s a nice goal.
“No, we haven’t been able to do that,” he said. “We got close to it a few times, me and (Rajon) Rondo. When we drop a 2-1-2 press, a few times we’ve been close but haven’t quite got there. That would be sweet if I do get one. It’s hard though, man. At this level, it’s hard to get that count. I probably got it in college, though that seems so long ago. In high school, I got it for sure.”
Bradley is the weapon the Celtics didn't have last season against the Heat. What could have been if perhaps one of the best defenders in the game guarded one of the best scorers in the game? Maybe the Celtics win game two in Miami? The defense sets these two players apart, and that's one of the reasons I don't count the Celtics out. If they can win a playoff series behind their defense then that's all you can ask for. We've seen some unlikely champions in the past ten years. The 2004 Pistons won a NBA title with no star, but behind defense, and team play. The 2006 Heat got hot, and won a title, and the 2011 Mavs did much of the same.
Without Rondo every player must over achieve a bit. They most execute their roles with giving a bit more.