Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rajon Rondo Being Exposed as the Weak Link on the Boston Celtics

After riding an impressive 19-game winning streak, the Boston Celtics had galloped out to an NBA best ever start of 27-2. Chests were being bumped and fists were being pumped and the smug looks on the Celtics players faces were clear for all the basketball world to see.

The arrogance and self congratulations were growing by the day.

However, five losses from the following seven games has dropped the Celtics record to 29-7 which has quickly doused any talk of them eclipsing the Chicago Bulls record 72-wins from the 1995-96 season. It is still possible that Boston could achieve a new mark, but the Celtics most recent meltdown to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night makes the task seem less likely.

The strutting, preening Celtics have tripped up and are finding that no opponent is intimidated by them.

As reported in Tuesday's edition of the Boston Globe by Frank Dell'Apa, it seems that teams are starting to work out that Boston has at least one critical vulnerability. Point guard Rajon Rondo is a poor shooter and his ball handling is suspect at times, as evidenced by his nine turnovers in the loss to Charlotte.

The Lakers found this out successfully back on Christmas Day. Actually, they found this out last season during the NBA finals, but inexplicably, didn't expose Rondo like they should have.

By keeping Rondo out of the lane and forcing him to shoot the ball, it does two things. It shows him up to be the bad shooter that he is and it also stops him from using his pace to blow past defenders which he has been doing all season.

It also helps to take out the cockiness which has crept into his game.

From his body language, it's easy to tell that Rondo isn't comfortable taking mid-range jumpshots and only looks totally confident when he can drive into the lane. His 1-for-7 shooting performance in Sunday night's loss against the New York Knicks all but confirmed it.

Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers and General Manager Danny Ainge both noticed it too.

That's why, it comes as no coincidence that as the sudden run of losses have piled up, the Celtics are becoming increasingly concerned about their point guard situation and know that if they don't get a decent back up, it could hurt them down the stretch and in their bid to repeat.

So desperate are the Celtics in fact, that they appear to be holding out hope that Stephon Marbury can orchestrate his release from the Knicks and join Boston.

Rondo will say all the right things, but deep down, it won't be good for his confidence to know that the Celtics want the poisonous Marbury around to share the back court duties with him.

Rondo's form has perhaps come about from him believing some of the reports that were being written about him. He was being touted as an All-Star and the leagues Most Improved Player, however he has become sloppy with the ball and teams are either throwing double-teams at him or daring him to shoot the ball, both of which he's having trouble dealing with.

Rondo will find that other teams will have noticed his weakness and they will be coming at him harder than before now.

1 comment:

Eduardo Álvarez said...

I used to watch NBA games when i was a kid and i remember i loved some great partnerships like Malone-Stockton or Jordan-Pippen. Im not a NBA follower anymore, but from time to time i have some time to watch a random game and what i can see is very simple and reminds me why im not that interested in basketball like years ago: im afraid some of the games magic is lost forever. Now you have well trained, overpaid winning machines, but i cant see the passion of the past. i dont know if youre agree but thats the main reason for which i think boston is not going to reach Chicagos record. Boston is a good side, but i believe theyre not THAT good.

Take care...