David Thorpe breaks down Rondo's new form:
ORLANDO -- Answering a few questions after watching the Magic and Celtics here ...Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo made 8 of 9 shots and is shooting 57.5 percent this season. He shot 41.2 percent last season. What's the difference?
Everything is different. His balance is better. His follow-through looks great. He is using the same mechanics on each shot. The pregame shot I saw looked the same as what he did in the game -- a sign that he now "owns" his new form.
How long will most teams concede a long jumper from him, no matter how well he shoots?
Perhaps all season. With three amazing offensive teammates beside him, it's tough to imagine a team willing to give up a shot to them over one from Rondo.If Rondo's shooting better because of the Big 3, do you see any other players in particular who will play better than we thought them capable?
At this point, no, and that's my biggest concern. Eddie House is an incredibly confident shooter, but he was before he arrived in Boston and always will be. Perhaps Tony Allen will raise his game to another level. Any danger in the C's burning out before playoff time?
Actually, I liked the rotation Doc Rivers employed Sunday. It seemed like a big-game atmosphere, but he played his bench a good amount. It appears he understands that this team will be playing in May, so they'll need their legs to make it to June.
Biggest weakness on C's?
I have to go with the hole in the middle. Kendrick Perkins still is too immature, to my eyes, to be the starting center for a championship team. The Magic ignored him and focused on KG, and Perk was unable to make them pay, forcing Doc to bench him for much of the second half. I'd imagine a similar strategy will be employed all season.
Pick their final regular-season record.
As of Sunday night, I'd go with something like 51-31. They played with such fire during this win streak, but that will certainly dampen some as the season plays out. Still, watching the Big 3 play together in person was impressive. They understand how fortunate they are to have each other and I think they'll battle hard all year to take advantage of their good fortune. But their margin for error is smaller than some of the other elite teams we have in the league.