After game 1 Rajon Rondo made a comment "Nothing dirty, but they have to hit the deck, too" which had a lot of people thinking about McHale-Rambis clotheslines and Bad Boy elbows. But the key part of his phrase is the "nothing dirty" part. He clarified yesterday.
"You go to the hole, you’re going to get fouled,’’ Rondo said Tuesday. "You’re going to hit the deck. I didn’t say flagrant these guys, I didn’t say undercut, take them out, play dirty. It’s just basketball, you know? "I don’t think nobody’s going to punk anybody. You can’t; you’ll get fined. There’s only so much you can do as far as acting like a tough guy. We’ve just got to play smart basketball and try to find a way to win a game.’’
The important thing is limiting the Heat's comfortable looks at the basket.
Game 1 was just too easy for the Heat.
“We were in the paint 37 times, we were actually 19 for 37,’’ Rivers said. “They were 21 for 27, so they were far more efficient when they got in there. But of the 21 times, 19 of them were made layups. That can’t happen in a CYO game, let alone a playoff game.’’
So what are they going to do about it?
There is no need to adopt some new tough-guy personality. The Celtics have stymied teams over the years with stifling defense, and James can attest to that after being reduced to a midrange gunner in Game 5 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals because the Celtics challenged every one of his dives to the basket. The goal for the Celtics is not to send James and Wade to the locker room bloodied, but to create enough resistance to make them think before making casual trips into the paint. That’s the essence of Celtics’ defense.
The Pacers started getting thuggish and chippy with the Heat and were rewarded with an exit in the 2nd round. Like the Patriots going after Peyton Manning's Colts, the idea is to get them out of their rhythm and comfort zone. Make them think twice about coming in there and take away the first and 2nd options.
Expect a few more minor adjustments as the coaches play their game of chess, but it mostly boils down to execution at this point. The Celtics know what they need to do, they just need to get out there and handle business the right way.