|Rondo showed Reggie Evans and the Nets the door in front |
of a national audience during their Christmas Day tilt
As some of those Captain Francesco Schettino's slowly start to row their lifeboats through the shadows and attempt to climb back aboard during the High C's, allow me to throw a lightly moistened blanket over this mostly-excellent win.
To be sure, this Brooklyn Nets team is not the same team that the C's lost to 83-95 in the aftermath of Rondo's ejection during Krumphries-Gate, nor is it even the 97-102 team that the C's almost beat -- again without the Maestro -- near the beginning of the season. This is a dispirited group that has lost ten times over their past 13 games. That's right -- the Nets are 3-10 in December, and life didn't get any better for them in the game they played against the Bucks two nights after their pasting at the hands of the Celtics during the NBA's Christmas Day Spectacular.
This is not intended to take anything away from all of the things the C's did right in this game: the level of defensive ferocity; the improved offensive execution; a dominant night for Rondo with 19 points on 50% shooting, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals; Paul Pierce's masterful showcase of his ability to affect the game in so many more ways than just scoring with a season high 10 assists; the great contribution that the Celtics got off the bench from Jeff Green (15 points on 5-8 shooting including a clutch shot from Threeland) and rookie Jared Sullinger (16 points on 6-7 shooting , 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and impressive defense on Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche).
No, the Celtics were aggressive and effective more than the Nets were inept and disjointed. After all, the C's did force 20 turnovers from the Nets and outrebounded their larger opponents 41-36 -- something you don't hear everyday when talking about the C's.
But, my suspicion is that the C's are closer to their recent Nets gain as opposed to their Bulls-crappy performance in their loss against Chicago a few games back. They're continuing to improve in fits and starts as they incorporate the new 10 with the 4 starters from last year (Avery Bradley should be back aaaany minute to make it 5 originals from last year), and we'll begin to see more and more games like the Christmas present and fewer like the Detroit debacle earlier in the year. There will be some clunkers to be sure, but the C's have been starting to figure out who they are (and are not), and the new players are beginning to understand what Doc expects from them night-in and night-out.
One thing's for sure, though...it's going to be an exciting game when the Celtics and Nets match up again on Wednesday, April 10th as the C's will undoubtedly look build their Playoff momentum and try to even the series against Brooklyn -- these teams do NOT like each other and it's almost certain that the Bad Blood will continue.
Tale Of The Tape
And now we move to the...WestSIDE!!
Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Thursday, December 27th, 2012
@ Staples Arena, L.A., California