The questions have begun about Rajon Rondo's return and how he might change the chemistry on the court for this Boston Celtics team. His playing style can sometimes lead to stagnant offensive skids because he likes to have the ball in his hands. However, on night's like Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets there was a stretch of time when it was incredibly apparent that Rondo was missed. The Nets pressured the ball in the back court, making it hard for Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford to get the team into their offensive sets.
In the fourth quarter with 10:07 left the Celtics trailed 89-78, the game was within reach. They held the Nets scoreless for the next 3 minutes, unfortunately the Celtics could only muster up a Jeff Green three pointer during that stretch. The Celtics turned the ball over four times in those three minutes, including two shot clock violations.
Needless to say, Rondo was missed. There was no one who could effectively bring the ball up the court. Jordan Crawford was forcing shots, and forgot about the shot clock at one point, leading to a brief exchange with Brad Stevens.
We learned two very important things from the loss to the Nets. First, Rondo will help when the defensive pressure picks up in the fourth quarter. Second, the Celtics are going to be overpowered by big lineups. Robin Lopez was superb, especially in the first half.
They will have a chance to see another good back court and some talented big men against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. It will be interesting to see if Brad Stevens makes some adjustments.
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