Oh god, the mighty Celtics lost to the lowly LA Clippers. Time to sell the season tix! (please do, I'll gladly take them off your hands!)

The Clippers played very well last night, especially Baron Davis and, having probably one of the best games he's ever had, and Kaman. The Celtics let them back into this game late, but it's not like the Clippers waltzed back into it with ease. They played above their heads, and the Celtics played slightly below their own. Let's not worry about this game because a few of these fluke losses always happen in the course of a season, and we were missing our best player (in MY opinion). Sure, the Celtics started to look desperate near the end, something disturbing, considering our supposed mental toughness and veteran leadership, but I think that problems ended when the 4th quarter ended and can be suppressed in the future if the coaching staff catches the problem early on.

On a positive note, Davis and TA looked good. TA had an overshadowed DD with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Davis was also grabbing those boards and scoring efficiently, so it's good to see the recovering guys playing well.

The one big thing that the Celtics fans that I've talked to are worried about is Rondo's free throw-ing. Here's my (the best) take on it.

First the facts: he is shooting less than 53% from the line. That's really bad for a point guard who drives so often. Second: do I care that he missed both last night? No, because if he only misses one, we still lose, and with that much pressure/his young age and terrible percentage, you can't expect him to hit both there. True, if he hit both, maybe a less effective (lucky) play would have been called and maybe the C's would have won, but that's all speculative.

It's funny how nobody cared about this until last night, but that just goes to show you how we pick and choose blame after a loss. While situations like the one last night highlight and embolden that 53% and put blinking lights around it and set up speakers that scream "look at me, I'm atrocious" at 120 decibels and copy and paste it 500 times at size 200 font, with a little math we can see that it is not that big of a deal, (yet).

Rondo takes 2.55 free throws per game, (less than you thought, right?). This means with his average, he makes 1.35 free throws per game (for interpretation's sake, this means that every few games he will make a second FT, but usually only the one). If his FTP goes up to 75%, he's still only making 1.91 free throws per game. (again, interpreting, this means he will usually make two FT's per game). This shows that upping that percentage is really only going to net you one extra point every few games in the long run. While every point helps, I'd rather Rondo work on that longer-range jumper that he is so fond of when there is 12 seconds left in the quarter and he dribbles the clock down to 3 and heaves one up.

When other teams realize what I have just told you, then we can start panicking about Rondo's FT%. If anything, last night's free-throw nightmare just alerted the rest of the NBA to the fact that, if they didn't already know this, Rondo cannot shoot FT's. When we see other teams start Dwight Howarding all over Rondo's drive attempts, sending him to the line instead of playing that standard stand-around defense, then we may be in trouble until he gets that FT% up. To put it obviously: a bad FT% hurts more as FTA goes up. This is a much bigger concern to me than one road loss that proved nothing in terms of the future of this season.

Three Toe 12/28/2009 04:04:00 PM Edit
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9 Responses so far.

  1. Karl Dillinger says:

    Teams will start following Rondo at crunch time, that is why the free throw shooting is a big deal. Let's fight Three Toe, but get me a beer first.

  2. Karl Dillinger says:

    For the record I actually have mentioned this on numerous occasions but thought it would be good to see what everyone else's take was. It's not a knock against him it is just a statement of fact.

  3. Three Toe says:

    You have not mentioned on any occasion that you wanted a beer. I think the group's take will be that I need the beer more than you, and that, friend, is a fact if I've ever read one.

  4. Karl Dillinger says:

    I thought you were a Wine guy, haha. No, I agree that the loss wasn't a big deal. Chris Kaman played out of his mind. I keep forgetting Rondo is only 23 and I'm sure he will make those next time out.

  5. JR says:

    lol 3toe. But it is a statement of fact that most beer vendors won't sell to Karl. Now after his hit job on Rajon, he'll be even more out of luck in Boston. I kid I kid Karl. i think 3Toe's piece had to due with the overall response in Boston to last night's game, not just your piece. Always good to get different perspectives on a sports blog anyways.

  6. Three Toe says:

    yea, i heard a lot of general complaints about his free throw percentage today, and never any before hand. Honestly, when I complained about it in prior situations, people told me to not worry about it. I thought it was funny, albeit unsurprising, how people's opinions changed due to an impact moment as opposed to a overlook-able moment. I finally did the math and found that there wassn't really any reason to complain, and there still isn't, unless he starts going to the line more.

  7. Karl Dillinger says:

    I think it's not the number of times but rather when he goes to the line that is the issue. That is true that people often form their opinions on things based on events that just happened. That's why they don't write for CelticsLife,haha. In either case it's usually Ray or Pierce that has it in the closing seconds so I guess it isn't that big a deal.

  8. tb727 says:

    I wish Rondo didn't cover Davis on that play. Or that the man guarding the inbound applied more pressure to make sure Davis didn't get the ball.

    I knew that play was coming. Let anyone else beat you there except Davis.

  9. ThomasJ says:

    I've been worrying about hit FT Pct all year.

    It's unacceptable for your primary ballhandler to shoot less than 75-80% but I love the rest of Rondo's game and would only trade him for a couple of PGs in the league.

    I'm not giving up any hope for this team but I will say it again - this was the worst loss of the season. The C's were flat footed inside on O and D. An interior defense led by Kaman and DeAndre Jordan. Are you kidding me? Were we watching the same game?

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