We've said it all along: This team goes as Rondo goes. So it stands to reason that good coaches are going to start gameplanning for him. The Lakers put Kobe on him. The Knicks put Jared Jeffries on him. Opposing teams now have "the blueprint" on how to beat us. Just ask Ray Allen (h/t RA):
“That’s now the blueprint on how to beat us, so we just have to counter that,” Allen said. “Put a big guy on (Rondo) and just force him to shoot.”
Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni used center Jared Jeffries to defend Rondo, who was held scoreless after converting a 3-pointer on his first shot of the game.
"We laid off him but he killed us on layups," D'Antoni said of Rondo's performance in the Celtics' 124-105 win Dec. 21. "If you lay off him and make him a jump shooter, that's probably the lesser of the evils out there. You have to choose which of those is going to hurt you. But, if you lay off him, you don't want to give up layups. We let him get to the basket in the third quarter - he got seven layups and he killed us."
Rondo finished 1 of 7 from the field with three assists and two turnovers in 26 minutes.
So what's the answer? How do we fix this? You know, other than feeding Rajon some magic beans that teach him how to hit a 20 footer. Doc has some thoughts.
Said Rivers of Rondo's way of confronting that type of defense: "By driving. I think, just because someone gives you a jump shot doesn't mean you have to take it. I think that's been his biggest improvement."I think it gives you a running start when [opposition players] do back off, and that's what he's done."
So he has to get back to doing what he does best. He's quick enough to get by guys even when they back off him.
Still, I can't help but wonder if having a guy like Marbury wouldn't have helped on a night like last night. It would have at least given us another look from that position and another guy that could create his own offense.
This is a rough patch for Rondo and the team as a whole. We keep talking about him being an All Star candidate. If he deserves to be there, he'll get through this and help the rest of the team get back on track. I have full confidence that he will.
But right now he's got some work to do because teams are starting to target him. That's actually a really big compliment to him, and also a really big challenge. We need him to be on his game.