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The Celtics loss to the Denver Nuggets showed what has already been evident. That when the game gets tight and you need someone to get them in the right spots, Rondo is sorely missed.  It was painful to watch Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee drown under the responsibility of having to run a set play.

Reality set in and the team reverted back to what it knows to do best; shoot jump shots. Everyone took part in this shoot-em out affair and the Celtics lack of athleticism and toughness in the middle hurt them. Kenneth Faried did whatever he wanted in the paint.  He reached over, through, around, under, no matter which way you slice it he made Brandon Bass invisible.  Which in hindsight isn't a hard thing to do.  It would have been nice to have someone, other than Rondo and KG capable of giving a consistent effort on the boards.

Paul Pierce and KG have not had to carry a team by themselves in over 6 years and I don't think that they have the energy required to do so.  They have always had 'the young fella' Rondo, to be the brash, bold, irritating force he can be when the pressure is on.  AB, JET, nor Lee combined can do what Rondo does; that is to make a triple double seem almost pedestrian by nature. These are the dog days of the NBA season and Avery Bradley has never been in this position.

You can see how his trademark defense is slipping; you can tell that he has a new found respect for the injured all-star's ability to do what he does so well. It is a baptism by fire under any circumstances, but to do it for the most storied franchise in the NBA is another thing.

Rondo has been the lightning rod for things that is going wrong with the Celtics and even when he does excel, they call him selfish.  It is what it is, but the evidence is clear, Avery Bradley has to step-up his performance or the Celtics will suddenly find themselves hanging on as the eighth-seed.

They face Kobe and the "sideshow" Dwight Howard tonight; both teams are struggling for their own reasons,  but Boston must stem the tide and not slip back into the odd habit of compiling extended losing streaks.

Frances 2/20/2013 02:03:00 PM Edit
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