|Posted by paul on December 25, 2011 at 3:00 PM|
That was a very encouraging first game for the Cs and for Rondo. The Knicks were on fire and obviously BADLY wanted this win. You could tell that from the way they acted after the game too - like they had just won the NBA title. The Celtics started out unsure and disorganized, which is to be expected from a team that has been through so many changes. But they adjusted, came on, and really should have won.
Carmelo was killer in the 4th, as was to be expected, and nobody rose to the occasion for the Cs in the same way. Rondo was sublime all game long - there's no other word for it. Commentators often speak of a player being "all over the place;" it's really true about Rondo, when he is on fire. But even though he is surrounded by great players and great shooters, he has to realize that, ultimately, everyone is looking to him to step up in the fourth quarter. I said during the game that he needed to score 40 for us to win. I think that was really true. Rondo is our best player. Everyone is going to look to him in the clutch. That's just how it is when you are the best. You may not even be the best shooter, but you are the best PLAYER. I'm not saying that Rondo didn't play great in the 4th. He certainly did. But he should have taken more shots.
Brandon Bass was tremendous. He gave us the dirty force inside that we've been lacking. He and Rondo are starting to feel each other.
For the Cs, the turning point seemed to be when Doc Rivers called a time out in the first half, when we were getting blown out, and - very emotionally - said that we were playing soft, and that we'd never win that way. The team responded powerfully. For the Knicks, the turning point came late in the 4th quarter, when they blocked the Celtics three times in the paint on one play. No doubt they got some home cooking there, but it's hard for the Cs when their biggest inside threat is Rondo. Jermaine is a warrior and he gave us all he had today, but we really need more power in the paint. Who doesn't these days, right?
What a game.