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NBA / Apr 21, 2009 / 9:39 am

Where the Celtics Won Game 2

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When the series is completely wrapped up, what are we going to remember about Game 2? There’s no doubt that Ray Allen‘s shot breathed life into Boston. This isn’t the type of team that wanted to go down 0-2 to feel the immense pressure of having to make a Red Sox-esque comeback. But Boston made some other crucial changes throughout this one, which allowed them to dictate things offensively – thereby putting up 115 points tonight as opposed to 103 in OT during Game 1.

First, let’s be clear about this: no matter what anyone says about slight defensive changes they made, Boston will continue to struggle defensively without KG. Paul Pierce said in the post-game that they’re not the type of team who gives up 100 points in back-to-back games. Truth, Doc Rivers, and the rest of Boston can talk about being a better defensive team until they’re blue in the face, but it’s not going to really happen unless Garnett comes back. (Note: Even though KG said that he wanted to get surgery on the knee, no one in Boston has officially given up hope that he’ll return. Doc basically yelled at the media recently for badgering him about Garnett – that text below – but at the same time, he expressly told last year’s Defensive POY to hold off on going under the knife for the time being.)

“Guys, Kevin is not playing in this playoffs,” Rivers said. “I’m not answering Kevin Garnett questions. I didn’t even notice, honestly, until somebody told me, that he wasn’t on the bench and I could care less. You know, he was on the bench in the first half and we were down nine points. So, you know, this is about the players in uniform. Kevin is gone and he ain’t coming back. The guys in uniform have to play.”

So unless Garnett is one of those guys in uniform, the defense isn’t going to change drastically.

However, from Game 1 to Game 2, there was one significant difference in Boston’s attack. Rajon Rondo got in the lane, and Chicago tried to stop him. In game one, Rondo went for 29 points on 12-21 shooting. There’s no doubt that Del Negro told his team that can’t happen again – he wanted his bigs to stop Rondo from doing such damage. And that’s exactly what they did, stepping up to stop him. In fact, he had his shot blocked 5 times on the night. But in giving his team that order, Del Negro also allowed Rajon to be even more efficient when getting into the second layer of the defense. His scoring dropped – 19 points – but his assists shot way up to 16 (from 7 in Game 1). And with his 16 assists, Big Baby and Kendrick Perkins put up 42 points instead of the 32 that they had together in Game 1.

Of course Boston doesn’t come close to winning this game if Ray shot another 1-12 dud. But they also don’t come out on top if Rondo doesn’t take advantage of the change in Chicago’s interior defensive philosophy.

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  • Scott

    Rondo is a beast. Watching the game last night he was clearly the best player on the court for the C’s. This is what you get when you have a young player who has crazy athletic ability, a good work ethic and incredible mentors (3 of them at the least) who are hall of famers. He seems to have soaked up all they have to offer, and its become clear he’s their engine.

    ps. I’ve never been that high on Rondo, but watching last night, its blatant.

  • http://nerditry.com nerditry

    Good look and this is an interesting time for the Celtics who aren’t going to win games on defense. They just don’t have the tools to compete in a game where both teams are getting buckets if they get past Chicago.

    There isn’t enough firepower on that team to compete with the likes of Cleveland and certainly not Atlanta (not sure where the Magic are at right now).

    Boston’s playing on borrowed time.

  • karizmatic

    Nah the fact of the matter is both Rondo and Allen have to play consistently for Boston to have a shot in this series and the playoffs. They did well here in game 2, but that has to be consistent or they will lose. Everyone says Rondo is this big time point guard this is where he has to prove it. He needs 15-20 and 8 plus assists throughout the playoffs for Boston and Ray has to drop between 20 and 25 along with Paul Pierce for the Celtics to remain contenders. Their defense is worse without KG obviously but they are still a pretty good defensive team. But they are going to need offensive production from those three guys to have a shot throughout the playoffs.

  • Taj

    Chicago needs to play the “Steve Nash” defense… Let Rondo score 30 but not let anyone else get involved.

  • Chaos

    Rondo is on his way to being one of the best PGs in the league very soon and hes proving it right now and him and D. Rose (and D harris) will be battling for years. All the haters need to acknowledge that he is getting better….

    But, defensively they are on borrowed time. they are going to have to outscore opponents because not only is KG the best defensive player but he set the intensity throughout the game and they look lethargic and uncharismatic on D, no matter how much profannity KG uses on the sideline, its not the same

  • doc

    I dont know about Devin Harris.But the other 2 are there.Dev need to get his team somewhere.They’ll be here with D-Rose.

  • Ryan

    People hype Rose until they’re blue in the fact, but Rondo’s the better player right now.

    Look at their per game averages over the first 2 games:

    Rondo:

    24 points, 49% from the field, 11.5 assists, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 1.5 turnovers

    Rose:

    23 points, 57% from the field, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, .5 steals, 3.5 turnovers

    Rose is a GREAT scorer. But Rondo is a GREAT all-around player. Big diff.