|Posted by shawn cassidy on January 9, 2013 at 1:20 AM|
The Lakers were given the title before they played a minute. So far it's been the most shocking story of the season. They have a 15-19 record, and they're currently 4 games back for the 8th seed in the West. The problems have worsened for the Lakers with Gasol, and Howard out for awhile. Many pegged the Lakers as the team to beat out West. As for the Celtics many thought they would challenge the Heat, but nobody thought they would actually beat the Heat. Except for a handful of critics.
The thing about the Celtics is this. They have never really given us a blueprint when it comes to the regular season. They've never had an identical regular season. Some teams usually win the same amount a games per season(Like the Spurs). The Celtics have started seasons out strong, or they've fizzled out late. Last season they started out 15-17 at the All-Star break, and this season some of the same. They sit at 17-17 with three convincing wins this past week.
You know what was telling? That you just wrote five paragraphs on the Celtics without mentioning Rajon Rondo. And that's their biggest problem this season. Rondo should be the Celtics' introduction, supporting sentences and conclusion. He should be what LeBron is to the Heat, or provide the leadership that Chris Paul has to the Clippers. But he hasn't reached that next level.The Celtics keep relying on Garnett, the trusty old security blanket. KG has logged far too many NBA minutes to be asked to put up 17 shots on a Sunday night in Orlando. They need Paul Pierce to come through in crunch time. That was the 2008 formula. It worked great back then. So did "Lost" and "The Wire," and you don't see those around anymore.
The Celtics have been up and down with Rondo. It's telling that they picked up one of their biggest victories of the season without him, beating the Knicks Monday night while he was serving a one-game suspension for making contact with an official. He missed two games earlier this season for partaking in a scuffle with the Brooklyn Nets. Don't forget he missed a playoff game last year for another official-bump. They can't count on Rondo to win them games if they can't even count on him to play in games.
Rondo's game is so distinctive, so offbeat, that for him to quarterback an elite team would constitute a mini-revolution. Instead, he's responsible for an underachieving group.
This guy loves Paul let's get that out of the way. He's a LA guy, and he's a bandwagon reporter if their is ever one. Rondo has quarterbacked an elite team. He's won an NBA title with KG, and Pierce. He quarterbacked this team on his shoulders in 2010 to the Finals. Last year he almost did the same. This season hasn't been according to plan, but to say Rondo can't lead a team to a finals is ludicrous. I agree when he says that Rondo should be like James. But like Paul to the Clippers? Paul hasn't done anything yet with the Clippers. You don't win championships in January.
Thankfully Rondo has an entire season to prove these guys wrong.
The one part of the Celtics I'm not ready to criticize is Rondo. There are a couple of characteristics in Rondo that will, it seems, be there forever. First, his hatred of losing, and that's a trait more players in the league need. I wouldn't take that away from him, regardless of how it manifests itself sometimes. Second, he'll play big when you need him most. He's now practically required to play that way all the time, which says a lot about the Celtics' issues.He was at his best when he was running a well-oiled machine that included Garnett and Pierce and Ray Allen, even last year when they appeared to be on their last legs. This isn't the same group, and frankly, Jason Terry has played nothing like a worthy Allen replacement.
That win in New York might be a sign that Boston is ready to turn it around. Or it could just be another frustrating glimpse of a level of play the Celtics can't possibly maintain throughout the rest of the season. I know this much, though: I'd rather be the Celtics, a team that is merely facing its own mortality in the late stages of the Pierce-Garnett era, than the Lakers, a team that could potentially be seen as the biggest disappointment in the history of the sport.
This guy gives the better Rondo theory. Yes Rondo hates to lose, and yes he plays big when it matters. I do agree we need Rondo focused more often, and I find it weird because Rondo hates to lose. For me the Celtics have an easier road to the playoffs, and to the East Finals. The Celtics can beat any East team in their way. The only threat of course are the Heat. The Lakers have a very tough road, and even tougher to win the West. The Celtics have turned the page for this moment in time. I don't want to overreact about the three game winning streak. But it feels good for the time being.