|Posted by paul on November 2, 2012 at 10:25 PM|
Sadly, the game wasn't that close. The Bucks took control of this game halfway through the first quarter, I'd say, and pretty much cruised to the win, though the Celtics did try to make runs.
It's hard to know what to say. The Bucks seemed to score at will in the paint. They grabbed many offensive rebounds. Brandon Jennings had a massive game. Our bench was outscored. We were outrebounded. We were out assisted. One hardly knows where to begin in trying to make sense of it all.
The one thing I liked about this game was that Doc subbed freely, going ten deep or more in the first quarter alone. I fear that this is the one thing that Doc will now change. He'll surely go back to his comfort zone; playing five guys to death. The thing is, this Celtics team doesn't seem to be having problems with just lack of cohesion. It seems to be playing without passion, passively, and not very smart.
We have been told over and over again that Doc and Rondo are resident offensive geniuses, and we know that KG and Pierce are pretty smart too. Why, with Ray gone, do we still have an offense built around shooting Js all the time? Why on earth did we give up the best shooter on the planet if we were going to keep playing this way? I thought we were going to play more aggressive, up-tempo basketball. We aren't attacking the basket. We aren't fast-breaking. I'm not sure what on earth we are doing. Even the most obvious thing, Rondo attacking the basket and kicking back out, doesn't seem to be happening with regularity. There just doesn't seem to be much of a plan, but what's worse is that there doesn't seem to be much aggressiveness, or much smarts.
I was concerned in the Miami game when it looked to me like Miami was trapping Rondo out on the perimeter with such dedication that it amounted to double and triple-teaming him out around the three point line, yet we were unable to take advantage of this!
There's no point in being ten or more players deep if you don't play with energy and passion. Being deep should mean that you can attack more, that you can play more aggressively than the other team. What you give up in cohesion you should make up for with energy and aggressiveness. What has happened to the passion that verbally was so much in evidence over the past few weeks?
Yesterday Doc seemed to make excuses for Rondo not bearing down on the defensive end. This is really hard to comprehend. Our defense begins with Rondo. Literally. And what's more, our plans to play a more up-tempo game, with more fast-breaking, depends on playing tough defense. This is not a team that can separate offense from defense the way a half-court-oriented team can. My goodness, folks need to stop making excuses for Rondo on the defensive end. Chalmers hurt us a lot the other night, and tonight, Jennings tore us up. Come on, Rondo! This is not a zero sum game. Expending energy on the defensive end can actually make the offense work better.
It's not just Rondo that needs to be looking in the mirror at this point. It's a joke the way Pierce is throwing up threes. Why attack the basket, when you can chuck threes all night? An analyst at Celtics Blog showed one play where Rondo attracted a triple team out on the three point line, and Pierce was left completely unguarded. Instead of cutting to the hoop so Rondo could hit him with a pass, Pierce just kind of stood around. Absurd. Just absurd.
And what the heck is up with KG? This guy is basically the best center in the league these days, whenever he wants to be. But most of the time he doesn't want to be. KG ought to be ashamed that Sully is more willing to battle in the paint than KG is. EVEN BIG BABY IS MORE WILLING !
Clearly, it is going to take some time for this team to play more cohesively, and for it to find its character. But playing aggressively and passionately needs to happen now. And if I were Ainge, I'd start thinking about Josh Smith. And Doc, stop making excuses for the fact that opposing point guards are routinely owning Rajon Rondo. Our defense starts with him, and right now, that explains a lot. Rondo is our leader. This leadership has to start on the defensive end.
In good news, Rondo's after-game comments are very encouraging. He takes responsibility. He says that the team needs to trust more on defense, but that it has to start with him, and that he has to play better on-the-ball defense, and that the time to start is tomorrow. GOOD FOR YOU, RONDO! That is the way to show leadership. But he's got to show it on the court tomorrow. No one is saying that Brandon Jennings is easy to guard, and Wall is surely harder. But we think that Rajon Rondo can guard these guys. We think he needs to. Our defense has to begin with you, Rondo, and our up-tempo offense depends on our defense, so it's not really even true that energy spent on defense takes away from energy spent on offense...