What will they throw at him next?
Rajon Rondo sees a lot of gimmicky defenses because of his unique skillset and widely critiqued limitations. The trick is that on any given night - or even any given quarter, you never know what will work against him and what won't. Whatever they were doing in the first quarter worked but didn't in the 2nd quarter. So they had to switch it up.
On the one hand, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made a beautiful adjustment midway through the third quarter. As discussed in our series preview, the Heat have often switched their coverage on Rondo throughout the regular season. In this game, Spoelstra took point guard Mario Chalmers out of the game and made Dwyane Wade the point guard, sticking him on Rondo, but letting him play way off him to act as a roamer defensively.
Of course this isn't anything Rondo hasn't seen before. He just met some opposition at the rim that he couldn't outfox and his teammates didn't find openings when he drove the lane. But I wouldn't count out Rondo for too long.
Asked how many defensive looks they threw at him, Rondo deadpanned, "Fourteen." But given a day and half to prepare, he should have a better plan of attack. "You could say that, but teams make adjustments," he said. "They may guard me the same Game 2, they may not. They may throw some different things at me. At the end of the day, you got to make changes throughout the game. You can’t just come into a gameplan and stick to it, because good teams in the conference finals will make adjustments."
Doc continually praises Rondo's intelligence and between the two of them, you can bet they'll find a way to get Rajon going. If anything, my feeling is that there's no one way to "stop" Rondo. You just have to keep mixing up your looks and hope he has one of those bad-Rondo games.
I'm very confident that we'll see a lot better out of Rondo and in turn the rest of the offense will look a lot smoother... until the next time it doesn't.