Celtics are 3-0: it’s been all tricks and treats so far (Halloween edition).
It’s been all tricks AND treats for the Celtics for the first three games.
Rondo’s command. Rondo has been in control of all three games against Cleveland, Charlotte, and now Chicago. I’ve stressed over and over again that one the most important aspects to becoming a top 3 point guard in the league rests in his ability to learn how to control the pace of games– when should Rondo push the ball to hit or create an easy bucket in transition and when does he need to slow it down and set up the offense. So far in the first three games, Rondo’s had full command over the pace.
As the guys over at CelticsHub.com pointed out this morning, Rondo has 37 assists to just 5 turnovers. While it’s still early, Rondo is averaging just a touch over 7 assists per turnover. 2 years ago, Rondo started the season with almost as many turnovers as assists and now, he’s an assist/turnover ratio machine.
We’ve known over the last few seasons that this kid can rebound, but I see him more aggressive and feisty than ever before on the offensive glass. There have been multiple possessions where he’s had more than two consecutive offensive boards. Thank goodness for his anticipation, hops, quickness, and freakishly large hands.
By the way, if you’re keeping track of whether Rondo is a top 3 point guard… he’s taken down Mo Williams, Raymond Felton, and Derrick Rose. We’ll keep track at Loscy of these match-ups throughout the season (see sidebar to the right).
KG being KG. Does he have that ALL THAT explosiveness and burst of speed back that we are accustomed to? No, not yet. As I wrote about the other day, it doesn’t matter. KG will find his way back into basketball shape and be able to run up and down the court better and be quicker on lateral slides/transitions. But for now, he’s doing everything we need him to do. We need him to jump out of the gym. Many nay-sayers believed KG would be done because of the mysterious knee injury (including a certain Sports Guy) when he told the media countless times that his knee is fine. KG has told all of you to shut up about his knee, and I highly advise you do so unless you want him to bite out your kidneys.
Dear Cleveland, Charlotte, and Chicago:
Thank you for obliging to my demands that you frequently leave Pierce wide open on the wings. Thank you for letting him launch threes without a single defender in his face. Pierce has been an impressive 10-17 (59%) from behind the arc and a terrific 18-34 (53%) from the floor. He’s also tacked on 14-15 from the stripe (94%). The slimmed down version of Pierce (“Pierce 2.0”) is a lean-mean shot dropping machine. Thank you Coach Brown, Brown, and Del Negro for not forcing any of your players to guard Pierce and allowing him to showcase why he’s one of the most prolific scorers in Celtic history.
Last night against the Bulls, EVERY SINGLE Celtic player that logged time in the game finished with a positive +/- rating. Let me say that again: anytime any of the Celtic players were on the floor last night, the Celtics were consistently outscoring the Bulls (and able to make stops) Hey junkies: when’s the last game where every player on a team had a positive +/- rating?
Yes Ray is 34 years old. Yes all of the “experts” are talking about how we will likely see a slow down in production because of age. I know it’s only game 3, but Ray looks as efficient as ever. AS EVER. Has anyone moved off the ball as well, quickly, cleverly, and efficiently as Ray Allen? Maybe Reggie Miller. That’s the only person I’ll let you put in his company. Props to Ray, as well, for passing my all-time favorite player in NBA history (John Stockton) on the all-time scoring list.
TRICK & TREAT
Rondo’s ally-oop to KG in transition last night. BOOMING. This was both a trick (KG’s knee is fine) and treat (glad to see one of my favorite plays from last year resurrected).
The team’s defense is getting tighter and tighter. The Celtic core players were bragging about Quisy and Sheed’s high basketball IQ in the off-season, and now we have some pretty reliable living proof. Quisy and Sheed know the defensive schemes pretty well so far. I’ve been really impressed with Shelden Williams and Eddie House’s D, too. The landlord is slowly carving out a niche for himself on this team and crashing the boards with controlled recklessness. I love it, Shelden.
Rondo’s 16 assists via Red’s Army:
Welcome back, NBA. I’ve missed you.