|Posted by paul on June 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM|
What's driving the Celtics?
Before he was “flexing” on the Boston Celtics bench – enthusiastically bending his elbows in a catchy celebratory motion – Keyon Dooling has been spreading a sense of camaraderie around the NBA throughout his 12-year career.
His catch phrase, “What’s driving you?” has been heard in locker rooms across the league, as Dooling has made a concerted effort to get to know his teammates and discover what pushes them to succeed in basketball – and in life.
I would guess that anyone who has played basketball knows that when you step onto that court, you are stepping into a time warp. Time speeds up. Time slows down. Rarely, it disappears entirely. The more intense the occasion, the more intense the game, the more time seems to distort. No games are more intense than games five in the NBA playoffs. As we've all heard countless times, whoever wins game five almost always wins an intense 2-2 series.
As I see it, who wins the game tonight is who will win the series. It will be the team that wants it the most, the team that comes the closest to playing with energy and determination for 48 full minutes, the team that can come out strong and then sustain the effort. The Heat can at least say that they have done it once, nearly. As I recall, they seriously outplayed the Celtis for three out of four quarters in game 1. The Celtics might have come closest to playing a complete game during game 3. But as great as the Heat are, I think we would be in control of this series if we hadn't come out lethargically in at least two out of four third quarters. If we do that tonight, it'll kill us. But if we don't, we really should win.
We are being told by the media that Bosh will make the difference for the Heat. I guess this is like the way Horford was supposed to be the difference for the Hawks. To me, the difference is what it has always been; when Rondo is on, he is the best player in the league. If he comes out like the great player he can be tonight; if he doesn't get distracted by the referees, by Wade's thuggery or Battie's dirty tricks; if he sustains his focus and plays with energy and aggression all game long; if he brings it on both ends of the court; and if he brings his teammates out of it - whatever it takes - when/if they go into lethargic mode ... if Rondo does all that, we win. Of course, that's a lot to ask, but remember, we are talking about Rondo here!
The team seems to be pulling together around Rondo, and he is rising to the occasion. Just give us 48 full minutes.
According to teammate Keyon Dooling, Rondo is “one of those quiet, confident guys who just loves the game.
We are counting on that, Keyon.
Suspicions that our offense becomes sluggish when Rondo takes a back seat to Paul Pierce could be well founded...
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.
We need pierce, and we need him playing aggressively, but we need Rondo as our main guy, Garnett a very close second and Pierce/Allen coming in strong after them.