Since Rajon Rondo injured his MCL and was sidelined for the remainder of the 2012-13 season, the Boston Celtics have gone 6-0, with solid wins against teams like the Miami Heat, and both the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. Even when Jared Sullinger- who too was ruled out for the season- joined Rondo in rehab, a trade seemed all but imminent. But Danny Ainge opted to do nothing.
Though the pure number of assists per game for the C’s is down since Rondo’s injury, the looser, pick-and-roll style of play has created better ball movement than demonstrated earlier in their season, which has been lackluster at best.
In his last five games, Paul Pierce is averaging 17.6, 8.8, 5.4 and a steal, shooting shooting 46% from the field and 35% from three.
Kevin Garnett is averaging 16.2 and 7.8 with a 1.5 steals on 59.3% shooting.
The consistency can be credited to the ball movement amongst right-minded, team oriented veterans like Jeff Green, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Leandro Barbosa, Chris Wilcox and Jason Collins. With Rondo, the budding superstar, and Jared Sullinger, the impressive young rookie combing for close to 50 minutes per game, plenty of playing time has opened up for guys like Barbosa, Wilcox and Terry to show what they’ve been dying to do.
Terry is enjoying playing a style of basketball he was used to from his days in Dallas. JET, who even I was beginning to consider a bust, is shooting an insane 64.5% from the field and 50% from three in his last five averaging close to 11 points.
Bass, who has suffered from declining offensive consistency this season, is shooting 54.8% in his last five, averaging 9 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.
Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee are providing feisty and tenacious defense and are beasts in the backcourt.
Even Jeff Green is averaging 14 points on 52% shooting.
Bottom line is, Doc Rivers is making some damn good Kool-Aid, and everybody’s drinking it.
…But also, this is a valuable period of time for Celtics fans and players alike. Especially Mr. Rajon Rondo. While he was healthy, he was putting up great numbers; no doubt. The bottom line is, something wasn’t right, and it’s starting to look like he could be to blame for some of it, maybe.
Perhaps he was hogging the ball, or as some put it, “pounding the basketball.” Rumors spread earlier in the season that Courtney Lee was reportedly unhappy in Boston because Rondo was a basketball-pounder. And any fan will tell you, it looks like there is a lot more ball movement in the last five games.
Whatever the case, Rondo is a very smart guy, and smart enough to notice what’s going on right now. My guess is he can benefit the situation when he returns, so long as he seizes this opportunity. Right now.