Giving Rajon Rondo Final Shot in Celtics’ Loss to Mavericks a Poor Choice


Nov 9, 2010

Giving Rajon Rondo Final Shot in Celtics' Loss to Mavericks a Poor Choice Paul Pierce is the latest Celtic to join the NBA's prestigious 20,000-point club. And there's probably no one happier for him than Kevin Garnett.

In eclipsing 20K with a dramatic pair of game-winning free throws in the Celtics' overtime win last week over the Milwaukee Bucks, Pierce did two things. He etched his name into the C's history books, and he also drew all the attention away from KG after a nationwide scandal had erupted over a few choice words of his famous trash talk.

That's the kind of week it's been for the Celtics — eventful, for better and for worse. There were milestones attained, tempers piqued, and ultimately a whole lot of games won by a C's team that's emerged as one of the NBA's best.

Here's what we can take away from it all:

1. Pierce is now one of 36 players in NBA history with over 20,000 points. Of those 36 legends:

-Four (Pierce, KG, Ray Allen, Shaquille O'Neal) are currently active with the Celtics.
-Three (Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan) are active with other NBA teams. A fourth (Vince Carter) is knocking on the door at 19,569.
-One (Allen Iverson) is active in Turkey.

And of course only three (Pierce, Larry Bird and John Havlicek) have spent their entire careers in Celtic green. That's an elite club, no doubt about it.

2. Just a couple more thoughts about this KG-Charlie Villanueva fiasco, and then I promise I'll shut up about it until the end of time. In the end, we'll take two morals away from the whole situation. One, no matter what KG said on the floor that Tuesday night in Detroit, Villanueva's crime was just as bad. What's said on the court is meant to stay on the court, and it was wrong for Villanueva to snitch, on Twitter or anywhere else.

And two, maybe KG has finally learned his lesson. Twenty-four hours after the incident, the Celtics star cleared the air, saying Villanueva was a "nobody, and I'm not paying attention to nobodies no more." That's the bottom line. KG should save his bullying energy for the matchups that really matter. Villanueva's Pistons are 2-5, and Garnett shouldn't be giving them the time of day.

3. The most interesting aspect of the Celtics' loss to Dallas on Monday night? The ending. Why did Rajon Rondo have the ball in his hands on the final possession, chucking up a 3 to decide the game? In the short term, it's a terrible idea. Rondo's one of the worst jump shooters on the team. But the one silver lining is thanks to moments like that one, Rondo will gain the confidence in the long run to take more shots in crunch time. Evolving into a clutch shooter takes a lot of time; unfortunately for the Celtics, it costs them wins.

4. It's only been two weeks, but the Celtics appear to have addressed a major problem from last season: winning at home. Last year the C's were a mere 24-17 at the TD Garden, the worst home record among the NBA's 16 playoff teams. This year they've started 4-0, and all four opponents — Miami, New York, Milwaukee and Chicago — are likely playoff teams in the East. Doc Rivers wanted to make defending the home turf a priority this season, and it looks like he's done that.

5. One of the Celtics' greatest strengths in the Doc Rivers era has been gutting out overtime wins. The C's rattled off two dramatic victories in a row over the Bucks and Bulls last week, bringing them to 22-10 in overtime since Doc arrived in 2004. You might think that's just because he's had great veteran leadership from his Big Three, but get this: The C's best season for overtime wins was their dreadful 2006-07 campaign, when they went 4-1 in OT and just 24-58 overall. Maybe Doc has a knack for calling the right plays close and late. Let's give the coach some credit.

6. All things considered, the Celtics' bench has had a tremendous start. One problem, though: Nate Robinson. Take a good, long look at Nate's shooting numbers. They're dreadful. The Celtics' backup guard has started his season 13-of-44 from the field (that's a ghastly 29.5 percent) and 4-of-18 from 3-point land (that's an even-worse 22.2 percent). Those numbers will surely come up this season, but it'll take a while.

7. Next up for the Celtics is a rematch with the bloodthirsty Miami Heat. The C's have every reason to be confident after the smackdown they laid against the Heat in the season opener, but that was two weeks ago, and Miami's a much better team now. LeBron James has become a distributor, Dwyane Wade has emerged as a healthy, explosive go-to scorer, and the supporting cast has started to come together. The Heat are blowing teams away by 20-plus, and they can't be overlooked.

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