“Its over. Done. Period.” yelled Stephen A. Smith of ESPN First Take as they asked him how far the Boston Celtics could go in the playoffs without their All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo. “Its over,” he screamed.
Smith is a respected sports journalist, however, in this case he’s wrong. The Celtics aren’t done, they aren’t finished, and the fat lady hasn’t sung. Instead, they are very much alive, well, and have a chance to be better now that Rondo is out.
Yes, Rondo is the driving force of the Celtics. He’s young, talented, and has high basketball IQ, however, without Rondo, Boston seems to have more flow to their offense. When Rondo is in the game he has the ball in his hands a majority of the time. It makes the offense stagnant at times because there’s less ball movement. With Rondo out the green team will be forced to move the ball from side to side, finding the open man.
Paul Pierce will have more freedom on the perimeter, Jeff Green will finally feel the pressure to step up (which we’ve all be waiting for). Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley have no choice but to produce in the backcourt especially with their defense, and Jason Terry will have to be more productive off the bench. Not to mention Boston still has their heartbeat and emotional leader in Kevin Garnett. Without Rondo, the Celtics aren’t dead they’re just different; but to act as if they’re just going to pack up shop and throw in the towel is blasphemous.
Many said the same about the Chicago Bulls when they lost their All-Star, MVP point guard last April in Derrick Rose to a torn acl, but look at Chicago; without Rose they are still a top team in the East. Some might say Rose is a more valuabe player to his team than Rondo. So if the Bulls can survive without Rose, why can’t the Celtics survive without Rondo? Especially when Boston has more depth.
Lets be honest Boston has been sleep walking through the first half of this season, but Rondo’s injury will awaken them. Without Rondo it will be a motivating factor for players to step up and show their worth to the team and Doc Rivers. All players need is a chance and now they have it.
The Celtics have too much pride, too much talent, and too much heart to be done. They may be down, but they are not out. Rudy Tomjanovich said it best, “Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion!