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Tag:Rajon Rondo
Posted on: November 1, 2010 9:21 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:19 pm
 

The Game Changer 11.01.10

The Heat are rolling, the Thunder are struggling, Brandon Jennings goes triple-double, Jason Kidd hits from way downtown, Rajon Rondo dresses up like Tiger Woods for Halloween, and a bunch more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI KEEPS ROLLING

Another day, another runaway win for the Miami Heat, who clobbered the New Jersey Nets on Halloween, 101-78. The result wasn't particularly surprising, but it was a nice chance to see how the Heat handled one of the league's best big men, New Jersey's Brook Lopez. Entering the season, many felt Miami's biggest vulnerability was at the center position. The Heat uses a rotating cast of characters -- including centers Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskuas, Jamaal Magloire and power forwards Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem -- to handle opposing big men. While there is both size and talent in that group, none of the players individually stands as an ideal match-up for guys like Lopez, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. On Sunday, Lopez had a nice game. He finished with 20 points, five rebounds and an assist on 8-17 shooting in 28 minutes. He wasn't dominant, but he was clearly New Jersey's go-to player and he hit from a bunch of places and in a variety of ways. Unfortunately for Lopez, his teammates combined to shoot 3-14 from distance and 22-67 from the field. So while he shot 47%, his teammates shot 33%. And that was basically the ball game. The Heat showed Sunday that one-tricky pony offenses are simply no match for its balanced attack. Without New Jersey's shooters -- multiple shooters -- hitting from the outside, Miami's perimeter defenders were free to harass Lopez to their heart's desire. Coach Erik Spoelstra used Anthony, Ilgauskas, and Bosh on Lopez at different points over the course of the game, and each received help from teammates collapsing into the paint. Miami's active defense combined for 10 steals and they paid careful attention to boxing out Lopez on the offensive boards, limiting his opportunities for second-chance points. While Lopez is very good already, he is not an elite force capable of swaying a game single-handedly. On Sunday, he was just a puzzle -- a relatively simple one at that -- for the Heat to solve. With six Heat players scoring in double figures and a team shooting percentage above 53%, Lopez needed a lot more help than he received.  Sunday felt like a lesson for the rest of the NBA teams. Bring a balanced offensive attack -- some credible outside shooting to complement a solid interior game -- or risk watching LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh yuck it up on the bench during the fourth quarter, your fate already sealed.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE WEEKEND:

Brandon Jennings:  23 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 6-8 shooting.
Young Money cashed his first triple-double in Milwaukee's Saturday win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Honorable Mention goes to... John Wall: 28 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists 9-17 shooting. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft showed he's going to be a serious problem for NBA defenses, blasting off in Washington's loss to Atlanta on SaturdayPaul Millsap: 30 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 12-19 shooting. With this stat line in Utah's win over Oklahoma City on Sunday (their first W of the season), did Millsap just officially stick a fork in the Carlos Boozer Era?

DON'T MISS:

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the New York Knicks are cooperating with a league investigation into allegations of illegal pre-draft workouts that stretched over multiple seasons. He also writes that New York needs to surround power forward Amar'e Stoudemire with some better talent.

THUNDER STARTING COLD:

By Royce Young Offensively on paper, the Oklahoma City Thunder should have it good.  They have the league's reigning scoring champ in Kevin Durant. They have rising scorer and potential star Russell Westbrook. they have quality role players with scoring ability in Jeff Green and James Harden.  And yet, the Thunder offense has sputtered in the first three games. Yes, the team is 2-1 after a Sunday night loss to the Utah Jazz. But on the season, OKC is shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from 3-point range. So really, it's sort of amazing the team has two wins under its belt.  What's kept the Thunder alive is the free throw line. OKC is taking an average of 41.6 free throws a game and is making 84 percent of those attempts. Without all those freebies, the Thunder could very well be sitting at 0-3.  Against the Jazz Sunday, it's the first game the Thunder didn't make more free throws than baskets. (In their first two games, the Thunder took 47 and 44 free throws, respectively.) OKC made 32 shots total and 30 free throws (out of 34). Still a large number from the stripe, but obviously not enough in a game the Thunder lost by 21. Not to dismiss the Thunder's two victories by simply saying they were gifts from the charity stripe, but at this point, the Thunder offense isn't really getting it done.  For instance, against the Utah, Oklahoma City went 23-35 inside 10 feet, but 9-45 outside of that. In fact, Durant made five of those longer 2-pointers (four 3s) and the rest of the team just four. The Thunder are settling for jumpers, the ball movement is poor and the typically deadly transition offense just isn't there right now.  The 3-point shot just isn't there and outside of Durant who is 6-13 on the season from deep, OKC is just 5-40 from 3 as a team. That's 12.5 percent. That's fairly terrible.  So is there a problem with the Thunder offense? No, not really. It's just kind of a matter of progress. Scott Brooks runs his training camp and preseason based almost entirely around defense and has even said publicly that he's not too concerned with OKC's offense. Any team looks better offensively when its making shots and right now, OKC's not making shots. Durant is shooting just 38.8 percent from the field which is obviously not something that will keep up.  The Thunder can thank the free throw line for their two wins and curse poor shooting and some defensive breakdowns for Sunday night's loss. The offense is sputtering right now, but it's a result of settling for jumpers and the fact that some of those jumpers just aren't going down. 

WHIMSY:

The Boston Celtics clearly had a good time on Halloween. For a full look at all the Halloween costumes around the NBA, click here. celtics-halloween

 

VIDEO CLIP MANIA:

Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd shows that, even in his decaying old age, he still has some tricks up his sleeve. Kidd sinks a three-quarter court shot before halftime of Dallas's game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Video courtesy of outsidethenba on YouTube


ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

Rest in peace, Maurice Lucas.
maurice-lucas

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: October 31, 2010 9:51 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Shaq wins best NBA Halloween costume picture

Pictures of the best Halloween costumes from around the NBA this year. Posted by Ben Golliver When it's not enforcing a dress code, tightening up the technical foul rules or threatening contraction, the NBA can be a pretty fun place. This year, players, mascots, cheerleaders and fans all got into the Halloween spirit, dressing up before, during and after games.  NBA stars like Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Shaquille O'Neal got into the act, and Shaq easily takes home top honors for his bold attempt at cross-dressing as "Shaqueeta."  Let's have a look. dwyane-wade-justin-timberlake-halloween Miami Heat star guard Dwyane Wade dresses up as Justin Timberlake, white face and all. Via I Am Black Bobby's Tumblr . al-horford-kanye-west Atlanta Hawks forward Al Horford dressed up as Kanye West. Via Al Horford's Twitter . zaza-pachulia-charlie-chaplin Horford's teammate, Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, dresses up as Charlie Chaplin. Via Horford's Twitter . halloween-nba This couple is really enjoying the Los Angeles Clippers game. Via Getty. kardashians-halloween-nba Kim Kardashian and a friend dress up (I think they are dressing up?) while watching the Miami Heat take on the New Jersey Nets. Via Getty. nba-fan-halloween One Clipper fan decided to dress up as owner Donald Sterling. Rimshot! Via Getty. elizabeth-banks Actress Elizabeth Banks dresses up as a cat as she takes in Friday night's game between the Portland Trail Blazers and New York Knicks, along with Tracy Morgan and Russell Simmons. Via Getty. halloween-nba The Los Angeles Clippers cheerleaders went all out. Via Getty. toronto-raptors-mascot As did the Toronto Raptors cheerleaders, who are put through their paces by the Raptors mascot. Via Getty. brook-lopez-halloween-nba Brook Lopez, center for the New Jersey Nets, wore black and orange shoes during his Halloween day game against the Miami Heat. Via @Jose3030 on Twitter . rockets-mascot-halloween-nba The Houston Rockets mascot poses with fans dressed up in the Halloween spirit. Via Getty. boston-celtics-halloween-costumes The Boston Celtics goof it up, with wing Paul Pierce, guard Ray Allen and company all decked out. Via Paul Pierce's Twitter. boston-celtics-halloween Here's another Boston Celtics team shot. This one includes point guard Rajon Rondo as an injured Tiger Woods. Via Paul Pierce's Twitter. shaqueeta-shaq-halloween

Last but not least, here is cross-dressing Boston Celtics center Shaquille "Shaqueeta" O'Neal, who crosses every line of decency in the process. Via Shaq's Twitter.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 12:06 am
Edited on: October 30, 2010 12:07 am
 

Rajon Rondo is making some history early on

Posted by Royce Young

Friday night against the New York Knicks, Rajon Rondo scored 10 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. And wouldn't you know it, he put up double-digit assists too, notching a triple-double. But this wasn't any triple-double. This was a history-making triple-double.

In Boston's 105-101 over the Knicks, Rondo dished out 24 assists tying the record for most assists ever in a triple-double. (He tied Isiah Thomas whose came in a double-overtime game.) Oh, and on top of that, he also tied the record for most assists after three games in history with 50. Fifty. FIFTY assists. Through three games, Rondo is averaging 16.6 assists per game. That's like good or something.

In Friday's game, here's how his assists lined up: 12 led to baskets at the rim, two to shots 10 feet or closer, one 10-15, five from 16-23 (hello Kevin Garnett pick-and-pop) and four to 3-pointers. Rondo distributed the ball far and wide like a quarterback finding multiple receivers on a big day.

Garnett told reporters after the game, "Sometimes he’ll see something that you don’t see and he’ll make you see it." I think that's a fairly tremendous way of describing a playmaker like Rondo. Similar to a great quarterback throwing a wide receiver open (two football references in one post!). I love that expression.

Rondo is off to a fairly fantastic start with 17 assists in game one, nine in game two and then 24 in the third game. Some are making the case that Rondo might be the best point guard in the league and while that's of course debatable, he's at least worth talking about. Obviously it's fortuitous for Rondo that he happens to be able to dish primarily to Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Garnett, three future Hall of Famers, but Rondo is key in getting them their open looks.

We're just three games in, but Rondo is already putting a historical stamp on this season. He won't keep the pace for the entire 82, but for now, looking at 16.6 apg is pretty fun.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 2:34 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 11:40 am
 

Heat become Cavaliers II against Celtics

We break down how the Heat's spacing failed and how the Celtics' defense made LeBron James settle, frame by frame.
Posted by Matt Moore


It was supposed to be different, right from the start. Even with the newness, it wasn't supposed to look or feel like last year. But with his team down to a superior defensive team on the road, and struggling offensively, it was just as it's always been . LeBron James had to take over, had to run point, had to do everything, leading to a defensive adjustment to shut him down and another struggling result. Part of the reason? Too often poor spacing on the part of the Heat, a hallmark for his Cleveland teams on offense, lead to James taking ridiculous contested shots.

Like, oh, say this one.

ENTER THE DRAGON. WITH HIS HEAD DOWN.




James dribbles up court and this is what he meets. Four defenders all out to meet him. They're not concerned with his screen man, they're not concerned with his shooters, they'e just eyeing James. Any attempt to reset this offense and stretch things out might improve spacing, but then again, the Celtics have been killing the Heat with their abilty to cover the entire floor all night. James elects to try and make something happen.

I THINK THEY ARE ON TO YOUR CLEVER RUSE.




As James come off the screen, you'll notice there are four Heat players within ten feet of each other, all at the top of the key. Pierce spins around his screen man, abandoning him to stay in front of James on the drive. James rolls high but doesn't attack the wing, instead, pausing at the top. As you see here, there is now a complete green wall between him and the basket and the lone shooter in the corner, Wade, is meaningless, and his defender, Ray Allen, knows it, leaving him relatively open. The ball's not coming to him.

SURE, THIS IS A GOOD IDEA.



James' roll man just stops, not rolling baseline to where you'll notice, THERE IS NO ONE, and just stands there. Three Celtics defenders are waiting on him and if he tries to spot up, they'll be right there to contest. James elects to rise and fire. But hey, it's an eight point game and he's the best player in basketball. Surely this ends well.

OH.



Well, then, at least you didn't leave 16 seconds on the clock you could have used to get a better shot in a three-possession game and you had rebounders. Or, you didn't. Bosh fails to grab the loose ball, and it goes out on him, Celtics get the ball up 8 with 1:58 to go.

Rough.

Don't get me wrong, there were several insane-o moves from James all night. (See 1:58 in this clip for reference .) But the same problems exist and when you don't have spacing and you don't have guys that will knock down shots, you're in trouble. And players like Eddie House weren't knocking down anything down anywhere. Here's House's shot chart from our CBSSports.com Game Tracker :



When that's your help? You're not in good shape. But half the time, they weren't even getting to that point, as constantly the Celtics turned the Heat into a one-man show. And while James is simply good enough to make you pay some of the time, it's not a sustainable strategy . And that's what you have to have against the Celtics, that's what you have to have in the playoffs. A strategy and scheme that will fail a lower percentage of the time on average than it will succeed. There's no Magic formula of talent that will overcome the percentages the Celtics make you play with bad shots, contested, in bad situations.

This was because the Heat haven't played together. It's because they need to learn one another. It's because Wade was rusty as all get out and the team was nervous. But it was also because the Heat played right into the Celtics' hands. And that's why they walked away losers on their hyped debut.

For more on the game, check out Ken Berger's discussion of how far the Heat are from the glitter and lights of their formation, live from Boston.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 12:44 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 10:54 am
 

Video: Wade, James speak after Heat loss

Video: Wade, James speak about loss to Celtics in season opener after poor shooting performance.
Posted by Matt Moore

Well, if the first game is any indication, Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, and those Bulls can put the champagne on ice. The Celtics dismantled the Big 3 on Tuesday night to start the much-hyped team off to a rocky start. For the Celtics, it was business as usual, holding the Heat defensively to abysmal numbers and getting easy buckets at will. A late comeback was for naught, and now the Heat get another new experience. Explaining losses for a team that's never supposed to lose due to their talent. CBSSports.com was there and in this video, we get Dwyane Wade and LeBron James' comments on the loss.




Posted on: October 26, 2010 8:49 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 9:04 pm
 

Celtics dominating Heat at half 47-30

Celtics dominating Heat at the half.
Posted by Matt Moore

There are ways the first half could have gone worse for the Miami Heat. A scaffold falling on LeBron James. The earth opening beneath their feet and hell swallowing them whole. A Carrot Top appearance. That's pretty much it. The quick hits.

Miami is shooting 27% from the field. They have a 63.8 efficiency mark (should be at or around 100 for average). The Miami Triad are 7 of 27 and they are down by 17 points at the half to the defending Eastern Conference champions.

Boston is constantly shutting off lanes for the Heat, and the Heat, in turn, are settling. All jumpers, all the time, that's their approach. And that's just what the Celtics want.

The Celtics are playing their game. Rondo is wheeling and dealing, Kevin Garnett got a nice move on Haslem in the post. Ray Allen's jumper is still brilliant. And the Celtics are all over the Heat. The Heat have no pick and roll action, no movement. The Celtics look sharp, look active, and look primed for the kill. Glen Davis, the Drunken Seal, is absolutely killing it off the bench with 4 points, 3 rebounds, and a block off the bench. Shaq got way too many possessions early and wasted too many of them,  but does have 6 ponits and 6 boards, and the Celtics don't need much more from him.

The Celtics don't need much at all, actually.

Follow our RunBlog of the game tonight here . Follow us on Twitter at @cbssportsnba .
Posted on: September 28, 2010 5:22 pm
 

Video: Rondo can't deal with KG's intensity

Garnett goes bezerk interrupting a Rondo video. Hilarity ensues.
Posted by Matt Moore


I've often wondered if Kevin Garnett is as insane off the court as he is on. Does he pound his chest and scream when he finds his favorite cereal on sale? Does he bark in his wife's ear if he bests her at Connect Four? Does he pop his shirt when he gets a parking space in front of another dude at the grocery store?

Well, one thing's for certain, he's got that excitement as soon as he steps in the arena, even if he's just recording videos for the jumbotron. In the video below, Rajon Rondo's trying to have a nice quiet conversation... and then Garnett starts being Garnett in the other room.




How does he have that much energy, Rondo? He's insane. That's how. Completely and totally insane.

(HT: Red's Army , BDL )
Posted on: September 22, 2010 5:00 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 7:16 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Are the Celtics too old?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Are the Celtics too old to win the title?


Too old for what? I suppose that's the real question here. Too old to win the East? Probably not. Too old to get homecourt advantage? Surely not. Too old to win the title?

That's a tough one. 

Let me take you back to a year ago. The Celtics began the season trying to regain their pride after a loss to the then-surprising Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. And to be honest? They didn't look very convincing, even on their winning streak as they cruised to the division title. In key games, Garnett looked slow. They lost to a Kobe buzzer-beater. Even when they later got revenge for that game, it seemed to set a tone. And that was before the second half, where they looked terrible. Every Boston fan on the planet will tell you that it was just a lack of resolve, a sense of boredom, and that those games simply didn't matter to them, so their effort wasn't there. That's probably partially true. It's also partially true that even bored the Celtics should have beaten the Nets and beaten them easily in every game they played. There were problems for Boston. Tons of them. Most notably, they were swept by the Hawks, and each time it was a late run by the Hawks featuring the transition game that did them in. The Celtics simply couldn't run with them. Everyone put a plug in them, except their fans, a handful of media, and Nate Jones. 

And then the playoffs came, and all of that thought process went out the window.

The San Antonio Spurs throughout the years had drifted and coasted to second half finishes, and yet always seemed to find themselves there at the end for years. But there was no precedent for the rope-a-dope the Celtics seemingly pulled last year. Even the first few games against Miami in the first round seemed close. But then Kevin Garnett got into a fight which lead to a suspension, and from there on out, the Celtics destroyed everyone when they needed to when they came across them, all the way up until the 4th quarter of Game 7 against LA. The pitbulls had regained control of the pack, and everyone that said Boston only lost to the Magic due to Garnett's injury in 2009 was vindicated. 

That was last year. The Celtics are now a year older. Ray Allen is 35, Garnett 34, Pierce 33. They added two centers who long ago left the comfort of 30. Rajon Rondo is still young and chipper, alongside Glen Davis and Nate Robinson. But they put on a lot of miles the last two years, which will add to the fatigue factor. 

But then, Shaquille O'Neal says that old teams win titles. Which is pretty on par. Experience matters in this league, and the Celtics have a world of it. 

How old are the Celtics in comparison to other title teams? Since 2004-2005, championship team starters averaged to be 27.4 years old. The oldest were naturally the Spurs in 2007. Their starting five in the Finals that year began the season at an average age of 30.6 years old. The Celtics enter this season at 30.2 years old if we project Kendrick Perkins as the starter for a theoretical Finals and 32.8 if we go with Shaquille O'Neal, the probably opening night starter. The Celtics, in essence, are trying to be the second oldest team since 2004 to win the title. It's relatively easy to argue that the competition is greater now than it was in 2007, with the Pau-Gasol-era Lakers, the Heat, and the Magic in play, but those are the numbers. 

So what's the answer? In case you haven't been able to tell, this is simply not a quiz with a correct answer. If you are to make the case that the Celtics have finally reached the threshold where wisdom becomes physical limitation, you're probably on par. We saw signs of it last year, the Celtics just showed a remarkable amount of grit in powering through it and committing to the team concept (again). If you were to make the case that the Celtics are nowhere near done, not after last year's performance, who could argue with you?

And that's where we hit the Heat. 

Of course.

The Heat are going to be the antithesis for the Celtics this season, and in a lot of ways they are polar opposites. The Celtics rely on players that are very clearly defined in their roles (Rondo is the point guard, distributer, floor general. Garnett the defensive motivational speaker. Pierce is the go-to scorer. Allen is the perimeter marksman, etc.). The Heat have a nebulous lineup that may end up featuring a super freak small forward at point guard and their starting center is an inexperienced Canadian who is 6'9'' (Perkins is 6'10''). The Celtics are committed to a defensive philosophy of sacrifice and communication. The Heat are betting heavily on overwhelming opponents with skill and ability. The Celtics are primarily an old team. The Heat are primarily a mid-20's team. The Celtics have experience. The Heat are inexperie....wait. No they're not. Dwyane Wade's won a title and James has been in the Finals. But that's the perception. 

It's an interesting corollary that our society will define age with physically limited, but also often associate it with toughness. If you make it that long, you must have thick skin. And that's the area where most people doubt the Heat and believe in the Celtics. The Celtics are betting that you'll have an easier time drawing breath at your young age, but that they'll be the last one standing when the bell rings. 

I closed the door on the Magic's window and needless to say, team bloggers are not buying. I was ready to shut the door on the Celtics last year, and they slammed it back in my face, walked in, made themselves a sandwich and tracked mud on my carpet. I'm not willing to bury the Celtics until the heart's stopped beating. Age can be cruel, but for the Celtics, it's a beast they can live with. They remain contenders to the ring until that last breath gives out. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com