Wow, just, wow. I thought we were heading toward the right direction then this happens. Sigh, I am just getting frustrated with our team. Anyways, here is the next installment of Celtics Life 5 on 5.
1. Another loss to the Nets. Where are we?
Terry P: Not at all where we should be. I know we have nine new players, but our defense is so bad its just very disappointing. If we lose at least one game this weekend, be ready for another "Crazy Black Man" Rant on next weeks video blog.
PS, The Nets are kind of scaring me.
Eric: This team is not where it should be. This is not an 8-7 team with all the talent it has. The good news is there is plenty of time to work the kinks out and it starts with defense. The Celtics are simply giving up too many points.
Mike S: I think the Celtics are a mediocre team. They're capable of beating good teams here and there, but they're also more than capable of losing to them. Kevin Garnett is the best player on the team but he can only play five minutes at a time. Rajon Rondo is undoubtedly one of the top point guards, but he's not a super star. Super stars are capable of dominating a game every night on a consistent basis, like a LeBron, Kobe, Durant, etc. Paul Pierce is older, the way he plays the game has changed, and he can't be counted on to do what he did the past few years every night anymore. They lack the one piece to put them over the edge. Some very good players surrounded by role players won't win a championship in the NBA. It's a super star league. Sorry to be harsh, but it's true.
Jun: Where are we? In my opinion we are still at a stage of the season where it is impossible to judge this team, especially considering how inconsistent the team is. The defense and rebounding is terrible, and really only the defense has a chance of improving (once Bradley comes back). The offense is doing very nicely, but the bench is still not producing like we had hoped it would. This team has a lot of flaws, ones that seem to be stem from the personnel. This team currently looks like a 2nd round exit, but it impossible to fully ascertain that until we are at full strength.
Mike W: Not as good as the Nets, that much is clear. The difference is, Boston will improve as the season goes along. Brooklyn at 10-4 is probably as good as they are going to be. Don't expect Boston to win this division going away though. If they do it will be by a game or two at most. Remember, New York is getting two players back who are just as good as Avery Bradley, if not better.
2. Rondo's altercation: fair to react the way he did or stupid?
Terry P: It is kind of both. I love that he stood up for himself, but he is way to valuable on our team to be missing games. Let's say he misses 5 games, that's five less games we build chemistry and five games we might lose. We might lose the division and home-court advantage in the playoffs and we will look back on these games without Rondo and say "what if".
Eric: Stupid. The Humphries foul was hard, but not egregious. This is another Rondo losing his cool moment. If this is his team then he needs to be a leader, not a guy who throws players into the scoring table or brawling with power forwards because he can't keep his cool. It's ironic that the guy so many have labeled as one of the smartest in the league basketball-wise reacts in situations like this instead of using his head.
Mike S: I think it was fair. I won't fault a player for sticking up for his teammate. There's nothing more discouraging than seeing your team get pushed around and not retaliate. Bruins fans might remember a situation similar to that against the Pittsburgh Penguins a few years ago. Matt Cooke gave a cheap shot hit to the head on Marc Savard, the Bruins best player, and the Bruins did absolutely nothing about it. That's worse than having your player get suspended, trust me.
Jun: Both. Rondo loves and reveres KG, who is like an older brother to him, and clearly he got emotional when he saw KG go down. I’ll say it was fair to go at Humphries for that reason. The stupid part was how far he escalated the situation, especially bringing the scuffle into the stands (and almost definitely getting a suspension). Rondo hurt his team this game, and will hurt them while he is out, and for that he was stupid.
Mike W: Stupid, if that is a strong enough word. Paul Pierce hit is low point maturity-wise around age 26 when he was tossed from the Indiana playoff game. Rajon Rondo is 26 now, it is time to wise-up and realize what you are doing at all times on the court. The foul was not that bad, and Rondo overreacted essentially losing the game for Boston over the course of 30 seconds.
3. KG having Rondo's back, smart or foolish?
Terry P: Legit. I love KG and to get up and help Rondo out. Legit. KG I have your back can you please have mine?
Eric: Typical. KG is the ultimate team player. He would go to war with anyone who is wearing his uniform. Rondo could have kicked a guy on the ground and Garnett would have come out in support of it.
Mike S: Ditto. I obviously was pretty critical of the team in my answer to number 1, but you have to give them credit for how they act like a team. There's some chemistry on this squad and they obviously care about each other enough go to war for each other. That's not something to overlook.
Jun: Smart. Rondo loves KG. The two of them have a truly special bond, and Rondo needs all the support KG can provide. This team also needs to realize that it needs to play tougher, and KG supporting Rondo’s actions will aid that process (although I hope they realize they shouldn’t go attacking other players). The league may look down upon KG’s support but the increased possibility of a suspension is worth the implications this may have on the team mindset and chemistry.
Mike W: Smart. At that point Rondo is already ejected and the game is essentially over. Garnett needed to insert himself into the altercation to protect his star. Roughly equivalent to Logan Mankins going at a D-Lineman who cheap shot Tom Brady. At that point it has nothing to do with toughness, it is a size equation and Kris Humphries could absolutely destroy Rondo in the middle of a mob like that. A suspension is bad, Rondo getting injured is worse. Garnett wasn't instigating anything, so the worse he could get hit with was a technical.
4. Number of games Rondo or the other Celtics will be suspended?
Terry P: I think 3 games is enough. He just shoved him and no punches were thrown. If it is 5 I think it will just be from past experiences and if its anymore I am going to use the excuse that "Ron Artest only got 7 for the elbow, The NBA hates the Celtics and loves the Lakers".
Eric: Rondo should be the only one facing suspension. Based on past history, he gets at least 2. Stern just hates fighting.
Mike S: My guess would be a four game suspension for Rondo based on his past incidents. If he's suspended that will be three times in the past year.
Jun: Garnett most likely will not be suspended, but the same cannot be said for Rondo. Considering his role in the scuffle (instigator) and past history, he will most definitely be suspended. I hope it is only for one game, but I cannot shake the feeling that the league will make an example out of Rondo. I would be disappointed but not surprised to see him get suspended for 3 games, or possibly more.
Mike W: Probably just Rondo. Didn't appear that anyone left the bench, so they are all safe. Wouldn't be surprised though, if Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett got hit with one game apiece. For Rondo, that is starting a fight out of thin air. He has a bad reputation of going after officials, which could lead to something close to 10 games. Luckily he didn't appear to throw any punches. If that happens at mid-court, three games max. Because he forced everything off of the court, 7-10 games could be coming.
5. Who will need to step up when Rondo's absent? (assuming suspension)
Terry P: Paul Pierce. I know he is playing well but when he is in his "Lebron Mode", passing and scoring, we usually still win without Rondo. I think he can do it again.
Eric: The same person who has needed to step up all year - Jeff Green. Green on his game just makes the team so dynamic. The Celtics have enough guards to manage even if Lee is hurt and Pierce can bring the ball up, but they need all the diversity Green is capable of bringing off the bench.
Mike S: Paul Pierce would have to step up, as he has been asked to do in the past when Rondo's missed time. He can run the point and have the ball in his hands a lot more. It worked pretty well with 2011-2012 Pierce, who I believe earned himself the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award for the month that Rondo missed games. Can the 2012-2013 Pierce do the same? He'll have to.
Jun: Surprise answer: Doc Rivers. After Rondo got ejected, the offense sputtered and collapsed for most of the night. The ball movement was broken and uncreative, and the spacing was terrible. This team does not really have any great playmakers other than Rondo, and Doc’s wit and creativity will be tested when he has to make up for the void in Rondo’s absence. Pierce can no longer just take over for Rondo’s responsibilities like he did in the past when Rondo was out, so Doc will have to implement a system where the plays are more simpler and the ball does not stick to one person so much.
Mike W: Jeff Green and Courtney Lee. I'm not holding my breath though. If anyone steps up it is going to be Paul Pierce; see the Rondo suspension game from the 2012 postseason. Might get to see some Shelvin Mack/Chris Wright/Kris Joseph too.
Extra: Paul Pierce got broken ankles twice so far! Hilarious or bad?
Terry P: Hilarious!!!! But, it's also bad. If this is a common theme all season we will know that the captain can't stay on his feet and play defense.
Eric: Hilariously bad? Pierce is really showing his age lately, which is bad considering how important he is to the team as the leading scorer the past several years. The Jameer Nelson ankle breaking was just so obnoxious that it had to be funny, but if the guy can't play defense this team is in trouble with so many good small forwards in the league.
Mike S: Kind of hilarious, I'm not gonna lie, even though I love Pierce. If he got hurt it would be horrible though.
Jun: Hilarious. As much as I respect the Captain, watching him get frozen and then fall to the ground like a tree was amazingly funny. If he hurt himself it’d be bad, but as long as the only thing hurt is his ego, it’s fine.
Mike W: Hilarious. Fairly overrated event as far as defensive ability is concerned. Just provides some YouTube fun for everyone.
Feel free to share your answers to these questions below in the comments section.
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